Hubert Humphrey

The Vice Presidency A Thankless Job!

The American Vice Presidency has been described as “stand by equipment”, as there is no great power in the office.

It is a frustrating office, as any Vice President must avoid seeming to take away attention from the President.

If anyone was to ask many Vice Presidents, if not all, how they felt about the position, the likelihood is that the response would be unprintable!

Ask Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, George H. W. Bush, Al Gore, and Mike Pence, as just a few examples!

They would all have plenty to complain about, if able to openly express their feelings and thoughts!

And one can be sure that Kamala Harris already has similar feelings and thoughts!

Sad 44th Anniversary Of The Passing Of Hubert Humphrey, My Original Political Hero!

On this day, January 13, 1978, 44 years ago, my original political hero, Senator, Vice President, and Presidential nominee Hubert H. Humphrey passed away from cancer at the young age of 66.

When I was young, Humphrey became my political hero, with his strong liberal championship of views on civil rights, and introducing many ideas that became part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society in the mid 1960s.

Not well utliized by Johnson, Humphrey became the nominee of the Democratic Party for the Presidency in 1968, a divided party that had elements rallying around Senator Robert F. Kennedy before his tragic assassination, and also those who backed fellow Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy.

In a three way Presidential race, Humphrey would fall short, losing to Richard Nixon, and with George Wallace being a strong third party candidate.

Humphrey, who had been Mayor of Minneapolis, and then a US Senator from 1949-1965, returned to the Senate in 1971, replacing the retiring Senator McCarthy, and competed unsuccessfully for the Presidential nomination in 1972, and remained a major figure until his untimely death in 1978.

This author and blogger literally wept when Humphrey died, as I was drawn to his humanity, empathy, decency, and compassion.

And once he passed away, I looked around the US Senate for a successor leader I could believe in, and found the young Delaware Senator Joe Biden, still in his first term at age 35.

I feel fortunate that although there were many barriers to Joe Biden’s advancement to the Presidency, that after serving in the Senate for 36 years, and as Vice President under Barack Obama for eight years, that four years later, on his third try for the Oval Office, Biden finally won, and saved the nation from the menace of Donald Trump.

Neither Humphrey nor Biden were or are perfect, no such situation exists, but the two men shared characteristics that caused me to fall in love with them as political leaders.

I am sure that Humphrey would be very proud of Joe Biden, and the two men stand out as uncommonly models of leadership!

Vice Presidents Who Have Accepted Defeat Of Their Party In Electoral College Count

One of the roles of the Vice President of the United States is to count and announce the Electoral College vote at the end of a Presidential term.

Every Vice President has done so, constitutionally, in modern times, even when the Vice President may have been the Presidential nominee for the next term in office.

So we have Richard Nixon in 1961, Hubert Humphrey in 1969, and Al Gore in 2001, who have played their proper role.

Also, Walter Mondale in 1981 and Dan Quayle in 1993 were on losing tickets as Vice Presidents, but played their proper role.

And Dick Cheney in 2009 and Joe Biden in 2017, both leaving office, did their duty!

Finally, after much hesitation and the intervention of Dan Quayle led Mike Pence in 2021 to do what he was required, constitutionally, to do in his role as Vice President!

Many groups and individuals, including those who are clearly conservative in nature, argue that the Electoral Count Act of 1887, enacted a decade after the disputed Presidential Election of 1876, and two close elections in 1880 and 1884, needs to be overhauled to prevent the crisis that occurred in 2021, only prevented by Mike Pence, at the last minute, following his duty, despite threats to hang him or murder him by mobs engaged in the US Capitol Insurrection on January 6, 2021!

Mike Pence Stands Up For His Role In Presidential Election Of 2020 At Reagan Library: A Moment To Be Praised!

This blogger and scholar is no fan of former Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence’s hardline right wing Christianity is distasteful to the extreme, and the thought that he, after being a total sycophant to Donald Trump, might become President, is a monstrous nightmare.

But on January 6, 2021, Pence did his duty to uphold the Electoral College vote that clearly demonstrated that Joe Biden had won the Presidential Election of 2020.

He did the same thing as Richard Nixon did in 1961; Hubert Humphrey did in 1969; and Al Gore did in 2001; and also what Nelson Rockefeller did in 1977, Walter Mondale did in 1981; Dan Quayle did in 1993; Dick Cheney did in 2009; and Joe Biden did in 2017.

Pence defended his role in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum last night, and he faced the threat of being lynched by the Capital Insurrectionists, with his own boss, Donald Trump, unwilling to intervene or care about the health and safety of his loyal lieutenant.

Donald Trump deserves life in prison for his treason and sedition, and lack of concern for human life on that day, and in many other cases over his destructive four years in the Oval Office.

So while not supportive of any future for Pence, he should be saluted for doing his constitutional duty, as other Vice Presidents have done throughout American history!

The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy 53 Years Ago Transformed The Future Of America!

The world changed on June 5, 1968, 53 years ago, when Democratic Presidential contender, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, was assassinated in Los Angeles.

This author has written about that tragic event in his 2015 book, 2017 in paperback—ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers).

While there was no certainty that RFK would have been the Democratic Party nominee in 1968, or that he would have been able to defeat Richard Nixon, many observers believe his death was a turning point that transformed the future of America!

RFK had been able to put together a coalition of working class whites, as well as African Americans and Hispanic Americans, and he was inspiring many young people to engage in the campaign, including those opposed to the war in Vietnam under Lyndon B. Johnson.

While no winner of the Presidency could, in reality, be expected to accomplish all the goals that had been set, there was great optimism and hope that RFK would have been a transformative President.

Instead, the right wing of the Republican Party won out under Richard Nixon, who appealed also to many George Wallace supporters, and Hubert Humphrey, despite his wonderful record of commitment, was lost in the anti war movement opposition to LBJ.

The next fifty years would be dominated by conservatives who wanted to push the nation backward, and the battle for Democrats has been to overcome their impact, and the battle is presently engaged under Joe Biden, at a very difficult time with Donald Trump promoting the “Big Lie”, that he won the election.

So America is in crisis, and Biden, having the same birthday as RFK, but 17 years later birth, is trying to bring about what RFK was promoting a half century ago!

Mike Pence Historical Reputation At Stake As He Leaves Vice Presidency Next Month

Vice President Mike Pence, the 48th Vice President, has been a total disaster in that office, and has added to the horrendous record of recent Republican Vice Presidents, as compared to recent Democratic Vice Presidents.

Just going back a half century, and one can see how different the historical reputation is of the two party’s Vice Presidents.

There are two Republican Vice Presidents since 1969—Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush—who later went on to become President, and despite controversies, stand out as reasonably decent Vice Presidents. Nelson Rockefeller, under Gerald Ford, also comes across as having had a decent record and historical reputation worth defending.

But then we have Spiro Agnew under Richard Nixon, who was forced out of the Vice Presidency by corruption, and it remains terrifying that he came so close to becoming President.

We have Dan Quayle, who was a not very bright man, and very scary as potential President when George H.W. Bush had some health crises.

And we have Dick Cheney, often considered more a President in the first term of George W. Bush, who was terrifying in his “Darth Vader” type evil, and committed war crimes and abuse of power while Vice President, demonstrating the potential for harm done by a very bright man, who was transformed by September 11 in a dangerous way.

Now compare this to the Democratic Vice Presidents since 1969. We have Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter, recognized by scholars as the most active, engaged and exceptional Vice President in American history, and still living 40 years after his time in office, and reaching the age of 93 on January 5.

We have Al Gore, who served Bill Clinton in a very reputable fashion, and influenced Clinton on environmental and other matters. And he had the dignity after a contested Presidential election in 2000, to concede in a manner that showed respect for the Constitution and rule of law.

And we have Joe Biden, who is seen as either equivalent of importance to Barack Obama or just second to Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter, and now will be the 46th President of the United States in less than a month! Certainly, Biden’s Vice Presidency prepared him for the challenges he will face on January 20, 2021!

All three of these Democratic Vice Presidents in the past half century stand out as successes, and all three also ran for President, and they add to the dignity and significance of the office of Vice President.

The Republican Vice Presidents, at least Agnew, Quayle, and Cheney were, by comparison, true disasters!

Now, Mike Pence, who has demonstrated a complete lack of guts to challenge Donald Trump on anything he says or does, has an historic role he faces on January 6, to go through the ceremonial duty as President of the US Senate, to conduct a formal counting of the electoral votes before a joint session of Congress.

Every one of the Vice Presidents in office at the end of the term from Hubert Humphrey in 1969, through Nelson Rockefeller in 1977, through Walter Mondale in 1981, through George H. W. Bush in 1989, through Dan Quayle in 1993, through Al Gore, in 2001, through Dick Cheney in 2009, and through Joe Biden in 2017, have followed procedure and refused to allow challenges or controversies during that solemn ceremony.

But the odds are good that Mike Pence will allow such characters as Congressmen Mo Brooks of Alabama, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Jim Jordan of Ohio; and Senators Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to delay the counting of the vote as they try to deny Joe Biden his rightful win in the Electoral College and in the popular vote nationally!

If Mike Pence does that, he will be condemned in history on the level of such disgraced Vice Presidents as Aaron Burr and Spiro Agnew!

Trump Moves Toward Insanity In Last Month, And Has Supporters Ready To Destroy The Transition

Donald Trump is moving toward insanity as the days tick down until he leave office on January 20, 2021.

He is lashing out at everyone imaginable in stormy, screaming matches in the Oval Office, including against White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House Counsel Patrick Cipollone, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and even Vice President Mike Pence.

Those encouraging his insane, reckless behavior include a rag tag group of characters, including newly elected to the House of Representatives QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene, and wacko Congressmen, including Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama, along with Senator Elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The plan is to create a crisis on January 6, when Vice President Pence must have a joint session of Congress to open up 51 envelopes, and finish the process of the formal election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President, two weeks before the inauguration.

Ordinarily, it is a simple ceremony, but those listed above plan to challenge the final results, and a lot of attention and pressure is being brought against Pence in his last official, constitutional duty to do the electoral vote ceremony in a dignified manner.

It is not as if Vice Presidents have had to announce the defeat either of their own candidacy for President (Richard Nixon in 1961, Hubert Humphrey in 1969, Al Gore in 2001) or the defeat of their ticket for reelection (Walter Mondale in 1981, Dan Quayle in 1993), or the defeat of their party ticket not including them (Nelson Rockefeller in 1977, Dick Cheney in 2009, Joe Biden in 2017).

The Possibility Of A Short Term President Mike Pence

The possibility now exists of a short term President Mike Pence, as the rumors are spreading that Donald Trump will move to pardon his own family members, including his three older children and his son in law, Jared Kushner. Also, a slew of others who have committed crimes and abuses, including Rudy Giuliani as the top of such a list, but including cabinet officers and others involved in law breaking and corrupt actions in his name, are likely to be pardoned.

But likely, Trump realizes that to pardon himself would be declared illegal by the Supreme Court after the fact, despite his three appointments to that court, and a 6-3 Republican appointed majority .

So the deal may be that Trump resigns, and Vice President Mike Pence becomes briefly the 46th President, and proceeds to pardon Donald Trump, although that will not affect charges in New York State and New York City.

The question arises whether Mike Pence, who has been a total sycophant, unwilling to open up his mouth or express doubts about any of Trump’s utterances or actions, will have the desire to pardon Trump, as that would destroy his own credibility and end his career, although realistically, it is ended on January 20, 2021 anyway.

Being part of the most corrupt administration in American history, and being a totally corrupt phony as a so called “good Christian” with his anti gay and anti woman’s basic human rights stands, Mike Pence has zero chance of being the Republican nominee in 2024 or after, even without a possible pardon of Trump.

Trump is planning to run for President in 2024, which if that happens, ends any slim chance of Pence being able to run, in any case.

There is still the job of counting the electoral votes in a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, the duty of the outgoing Vice President, not a fun job when on the losing end of an election.

However, Richard Nixon did just that in 1961; Hubert Humphrey in 1969, and most famously, Al Gore in 2001, and they all did their duty with dignity, but will Mike Pence do the same, or will he entertain doubts and open up to a Congressional vote, which most certainly will fail, to try to make Donald Trump the winner of the Electoral College?

So, as one thinks about it, Mike Pence would have to remain Vice President at least until January 7, but we are therefore imagining a Pence succession after that date, probably no more than a week at most, but in theory, could be just one day or even less than 24 hours!

It would be a mockery of the Constitution for such to occur, but is anyone surprised that this might happen?

And if it does happen, and Mike Pence goes down in history as the 46th President, would he be entitled to a Presidential Library and Museum, and this is not a joking matter, as he should go down as a villain, not a hero, and be denied anymore than brief mention as a crooked President who collaborated with the most disgraceful Presidency in American history!

The Tradition Of Gracious Losers Of Presidential Elections Not Being Accepted By Donald Trump!

The tradition in Presidential elections is for the loser to concede with grace and statesmanship.

One can forget about that with President Donald Trump, who is promoting conspiracy theories, and according to some sources, has every intention of refusing to cooperate on the transition, and staying in the White House on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021, refusing to leave the building or attend the inauguration of his successor.

Other Presidents have refused to attend the inauguration of their successor, including John Adams when Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated in 1801; John Quincy Adams when Andrew Jackson was inaugurated in 1829; and Andrew Johnson when Ulysses S. Grant was inaugurated in 1869.

We have seen in modern times all of the Presidential losers concede graciously—Richard Nixon in 1960, Barry Goldwater in 1964, Hubert Humphrey in 1968, George McGovern in 1972, Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980, Walter Mondale in 1984, Michael Dukakis in 1988, George H. W. Bush in 1992, Bob Dole in 1996, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Donald Trump is acting like a spoiled child, a privileged character, a prima donna, who clearly would love to be an authoritarian dictator and has been a threat for four years, but the American people have clearly made him aware that his “employment” in the White House for four more years is not desired, and that he has, effectively, been “fired” by a vast margin of about 5-6 million popular votes by the time all of the votes are counted!

The Vice Presidency More Crucial Than Ever Before In The Presidential Election Of 2020

The office of the Vice Presidency has become an office of real substance and significance since the time of Richard Nixon as Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953-1961.

Before that, the Vice Presidency was an office ignored and forgotten, except when a President died in office.

Only three Vice Presidents, all early on in American history (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren) had been elevated to the Presidency by election, rather than succession due to death of the President.

Only when George H. W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan by election in 1988, did we again have a Vice President elected directly to the Presidency.

However, we did have Nixon lose the Presidency after Eisenhower, only to win it eight years later in 1968. And we did have Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Al Gore run for President and lose.

Now, we have former Vice President Joe Biden having a good chance to be the Presidential nominee of his party in 2020.

But in many ways, even more significant now than the Presidential race, is the reality that the odds of a future Vice President succeeding during the term is magnified by the fact that all four leading individuals who might be President in 2021 are old men–Donald Trump at 74, Joe Biden at 78, Michael Bloomberg at 78, and Bernie Sanders at 79, when the term begins in January 2021.

All except Bloomberg have known health issues–Trump both mentally and physically, Biden mentally, and Sanders physically. Bloomberg at this point seems free of any mental or physical health issues.

But the reality that the three Democrats will reach 80 in either the first or second year of the next term is alarming and worrisome, and magnifies the importance of choosing the right Vice Presidential choice, with the odds growing that whoever it is, he or she is likely to occupy the Oval Office before January 2025.

It is a sobering thought, but one must face reality, so the choice of a running mate is more crucial than ever before.