Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Opinion

July 20, 2012

Picking the second-in-command can pose a few pitfalls

Athens — Now it’s time to play “Pick the Veep.” Republican nominee-to-be Mitt Romney is weighing his options in hopes of picking a vice-presidential candidate that will give his campaign a boost, preferably in the battleground states.

Failing that he’d like to find one who is not an albatross around his neck, in what looks to be a pretty close presidential election.

Vice presidential candidates are known for leaving little messes lying around that the nominee has to clean up. Remember Richard Nixon and his “Checkers” speech.

Old Tricky was on the ticket with the beloved Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, when word got out that he had made improper use of a fund set up by his backers to help with his political expenses. In September, 1952, less than two months before the election, Nixon appeared on national television to plead his case.

Not one Lincoln-headed penny of the fund had been used for his personal use, he said. Nixon did admit to getting one gift, a little cocker spaniel named “Checkers.”  For the sake of little Tricia and Julie, the dog is staying, he said.

John F. Kennedy did a little better with his vice-presidential pick. The most powerful man in the Senate, Lyndon Johnson, joined the ticket to get him help where he needed it the most – the South.  Johnson ignored the sentiments of fellow Texan John Nance Garner, who served under FDR, who said the vice presidency was not “worth a bucket of warm spit.” (spit is the family version)

LBJ thought incorrectly that his stature as Senate Majority Leader would transfer with him into the vice presidency. He was wrong. The Kennedys knew a lot about welding power, not sharing it.

Of course the VP job is one heartbeat from the presidency, and in Johnson’s case, the cliché proved all too true. Lyndon was soon in the driver’s seat making a few right turns, like the Civil Rights Act, and some wrong ones.

In 1968, Richard Nixon chose a promising governor from Maryland to help him fend off Vice President Hubert Humphrey on the road to the White House. Agnew was a shoot-from-the-hip orator, who one referred to the administration enemies as “an effete corps of impudent snobs.” 

The appearance of the word, snobs, in that phrase makes me tend to believe it was meant as an insult.

Agnew didn’t last as long as his boss, resigning in 1973, because of some shenanigans he pulled as governor.

Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton was Democrat George McGovern’s vice-presidential choice in 1972. Sadly, word came out that Eagleton had been treated for mental problems, and he was removed from the ticket.

That turned out to be a blessing when McGovern went down in flames. Eagleton was elected twice more to the Senate, retiring after thee terms..

George W. Bush went for a heavy hitter in Wyoming Congressman Dick Chaney. Cheney had been Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush, and figured to make up for the Texas Governor’s inexperience on foreign affairs.

Chaney was a controversial VP, but no lightweight. He had the Commander-in-Chief’s ear on important policy decisions. Unlike Gerald Ford, who occasionally pelted people with golf balls, Cheney did his damage with  birdshot.

In 2006, Cheney shot 78-year-old Harry Whittington, during a quail hunt in Kenedy County, Texas. Despite the fact that the pellets missed the victim’s heart, Cheney’s approval rating dropped in the polls by five percent.

In 2008, the lackluster John McCain campaign went for a little spice, and chose Alaska Gov.  Sarah Palin as the running mate. Palin rose to the occasion, and accepted the nomination with what had been lacking from recent GOP candidates, a rousing speech.

The bloom was soon off the rose when Palin showed up on the national talk shows, and didn’t fare well when under the scrutiny of the likes of Katie  Couric.

So, Romney has to have those former VP picks in mind as he mulls his choice. Mitt hopes he can beat the odds and select a good one.

Or maybe he can just get lucky like Barack Obama, who chose Joe Biden, and got away with it.

Rich Flowers is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg 22 years – and they said it wouldn’t last

    I was a high school senior when I first entered the world of newspapers.
    I found my way to the The Dallas Times Herald after graduation, when a number of kids I went to school with were working part-time at the paper.
    It was summer, and I needed a job. I first applied for what was referred to as the night crew.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase