Lloyd Bentsen

Analyzing Hillary Clinton’s Choice For Vice President: Most Likely To Be A Sitting US Senator

It is two days until Democrat Hillary Clinton announces her Vice Presidential running mate, and it is almost certain, looking at history, that it will be a sitting United States Senator.

If one looks back historically from 1944 onward, every VP nominee except one and a half times (to be explained in next paragraph) was a sitting Senator.

The only exceptions were Sargent Shriver (second choice after Senator Thomas Eagleton withdrew over his mental shock treatments being revealed) in 1972, and Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and those were the two worst Democratic defeats ever in their history.

So 16 out of 18 elections, a US Senator ran for Vice President:

Harry Truman 1944
Alben Barkley 1948
John Sparkman 1952
Estes Kefavuer 1956
Lyndon B. Johnson 1960
Hubert Humphrey 1964
Edmund Muskie 1968
Walter Mondale 1976 and 1980
Lloyd Bentsen 1988
Al Gore 1992 and 1996
Joe Lieberman 2000
John Edwards 2004
Joe Biden 2008 and 2012

Notice that 8 of the above 13 Senators who ran for VP were from the South or Border states, and two were from Minnesota–and keep this in mind as you read further down on this entry.

So it would seem to this blogger that, based on history, one can assume that three cabinet officers—Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (a recent name added to the mix), would be unlikely to be chosen.

So that would leave the following as possible choices, all US Senators:

Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Cory Booker of New Jersey
Tim Kaine of Virginia
Sherrod Brown of Ohio
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Al Franken of Minnesota

The problem is that Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio have Republican Governors, so at least temporarily, a seat would be lost by Republican appointment, which could be crucial to organization of the US Senate next year.

So it would seem to this blogger that Tim Kaine is the most likely choice, followed by Amy Klobuchar (bringing a woman to the ticket, but not the highly controversial Elizabeth Warren).

In two days, we shall see!

Rapid Decline In Quality From Ronald Reagan-Richard Schweiker In 1976 To Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina In 2016!

Forty years have passed since Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, in a desperate move to try to derail President Gerald Ford from winning the GOP Presidential nomination in 1976, chose a Vice Presidential running mate, Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker.

It did not help Reagan to win the nomination, but at least Reagan had been two term Governor of California, and Schweiker was a two term liberal Republican Senator, who later was Secretary of Health and Human Services for two years under Reagan.

The rapid decline in quality from Reagan-Schweiker then to Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina two generations later is alarming, demonstrating how candidates for President and Vice President, at least in the Republican Party, are truly disastrous!

Remember that the GOP is great at choosing terrible Vice Presidential candidates, including Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle, who served as Vice President, and Sarah Palin!

And even the so called “better qualified” VP candidates such as Dick Cheney, who was Vice President, and Paul Ryan, who did not serve, are wanting in comparison to Democratic Vice Presidential candidates, including Walter Mondale, Al Gore, and Joe Biden, as well as candidates Edmund Muskie, Sargent Shriver, Lloyd Bentsen, and Joe Lieberman!

Political Campaign Debates’ Impact On American History

Do political campaign debates matter?

Absolutely, and the first such case is Abraham Lincoln Vs. Stephen Douglas in the Illinois Senate race of 1858, which helped elevate Lincoln to the Presidency, although losing the Senate seat due to the Democrats controlling the state legislature, and choosing incumbent Democrat Douglas for the new term of office.

Since Presidential debates came about in 1960, and then revived starting in 1976, there have been moments when they really mattered, even if often boring, including:

1960–Richard Nixon sweating and looking tense, while John F. Kennedy smiled, looked tanned, was relaxed.

1976–Gerald Ford says Poland is a free nation, which helps to elect Jimmy Carter in close race.

1980–Ronald Reagan talks about the “Misery Index” and says “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, and defeats Jimmy Carter.

1984—Ronald Reagan says he will not use age as an issue to show the “youth and inexperience” of opponent Walter Mondale, who he defeats.

1988—Vice Presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen tells opponent Dan Quayle that he is not another John F. Kennedy, and sets the image of Quayle for all time as an incompetent Vice President, and have no chance to be President when he decides to run in 1996.

1992—George H. W. Bush looks constantly at his watch, during the debate with Bill Clinton, who defeats him, and also Ross Perot.

2000–Al Gore walks over to George W. Bush as he answers question, comes across as a weird action, and also breathes deeply at Bush responses, making Gore seem haughty and condescending.

2008—Sarah Palin does an embarrassing performance in Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden, harms John McCain campaign.

2012–In Republican Presidential candidate debates, Rick Perry cannot remember the three agencies of government he wishes to eliminate, which ends his candidacy.

2012—Joe Biden laughs at Paul Ryan statements in Vice Presidential debate, weakens Ryan image as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Also, political campaign debates draw attention to the race, and there will be many Presidential debates starting tonight for the Republicans, and in October for the Democrats.

An Analysis Of Vice Presidential Selection 1960-2012 Strongly Favors The Democrats Over The Republicans

One can gain a lot of understanding about the two major political parties when one examines the history of Vice Presidential selection by the major party Presidential candidates between 1960 and 2012, a total of 14 national elections.

If one looks at the Democratic Party, it is fact that ALL but one time, the Democratic Presidential nominee chose a sitting United States Senator to be his running mate as follows:

1960–Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas
1964–Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota
1968–Edmund Muskie of Maine
1972–Tom Eagleton of Missouri
1976–Walter Mondale of Minnesota
1980–Walter Mondale of Minnesota
1988–Lloyd Bentsen of Texas
1992–Al Gore of Tennessee
1996–Al Gore of Tennessee
2000-Joe Lieberman of Connecticut
2004–John Edwards of North Carolina
2008–Joe Biden of Delaware
2012–Joe Biden of Delaware

The only exception was 1984, when Walter Mondale selected Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Also, after Tom Eagleton dropped out as the Vice Presidential running mate of George McGovern in 1972, due to having been revealed as having had psychiatric treatment, Sergeant Shriver, the former Peace Corps Director, head of the War On Poverty, Ambassador to France, and Kennedy in law, replaced him on the ticket.

All of the ten US Senators who ran for Vice President came to the national ticket as outstanding legislators with solid records of accomplishments, while Ferraro might be considered the weak link, the only real such case, for the Democratic national tickets. The only Senator who, in retrospect, might be considered not an ideal choice would be Edwards, for the personal life scandals that were revealed in later years.

Also, all of these Vice Presidential selections sought the Presidency after being chosen as a VP running mate, and Mondale, Gore, and Biden served notably as Vice President, all adding to the prestige of the office.

On the other hand, the Republicans had a very different scenario, as only four times out of fourteen did they select a United States Senator as their Vice Presidential choice for a national campaign, as follows:

1960—Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts (former Senator 1936-1952)
1976— Bob Dole of Kansas
1988—Dan Quayle of Indiana
1992—Dan Quayle of Indiana

Three times, the Republicans selected state governors as their Vice Presidential nominees, as follows:

1968—Spiro Agnew of Maryland
1972—Spiro Agnew of Maryland
2008—Sarah Palin of Alaska

But most commonly, the Republicans for a total of seven times selected a member or former member of the House of Representatives, as follows:

1964—William E. Miller of New York
1980—George H.W. Bush of Texas
1984—George H. W. Bush of Texas
1996—Jack Kemp of New York
2000—Dick Cheney of Wyoming
2004—Dick Cheney of Wyoming
2012—Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

Out of these 14 cases, it is clear that Quayle, Agnew and Palin, in particular, stand out as horrible choices, and with the nation being burdened with nearly five years of Agnew and four years of Quayle in the Vice Presidency.

At the same time, Miller seems a nonentity who was chosen, and Cheney and Ryan, while competent, both stood out as particularly controversial selections, based on their public record in the past and the future as well.

Only Dole, Bush, and Kemp stand out as noncontroversial choices.

So it is clear that the Democrats have been much wiser in their Vice Presidential choices than the Republicans in the past half century!

Marco Rubio And Rand Paul, The Presidency, And Their Senate Seats

Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky are both seriously considering running for the Presidency, but they both face the quandary that if they so decide, they must forfeit running for reelection to the Senate in 2016. State laws in Florida and Kentucky prevent them running for both jobs at the same time.

This was not the case in other Presidential elections, as shown by:

Lyndon B. Johnson running for Vice President in 1960 while running for reelection to the Senate in Texas.

Lloyd Bentsen running for Vice President in 1988 while running for reelection to the Senate in Texas.

Joe Lieberman running for Vice President in 2000 while running for reelection to the Senate in Connecticut.

Paul Ryan running for Vice President in 2012 while running for reelection to the House Of Representatives in Wisconsin.

All four were elected to their Congressional seats, with only Johnson vacating it to become Vice President.

But notice that in all four of these cases, the position they were running for was Vice President, not President.

So both Rubio and Paul face a difficult situation, and one would advise that they think long and hard about giving up their Senate seats, even though both seem, clearly, too ambitious to be President, and do not seem to love their Senate positions, as simply too restrictive for their egos!

50 Years Of Republican Vice Presidential Nominees Tells Us A Lot About The GOP!

When one looks back at the history of Republican Vice Presidential nominees in the past 50 years, one realizes a lot about the attitude of the Republican Party toward that office, just a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

The Republican Party has chosen true disasters for an office that has seen two people in that office go on to become President, and three others run for and lose the Presidency in the past fifty years.

Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush are the two Vice Presidents who went on to become President, while Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Al Gore were defeated for the Presidency.

But look at the Vice Presidential nominees chosen by the GOP since 1964:

William E. Miller Congressman (NY) 1964
Spiro Agnew, Governor (Maryland) 1968, 1972
Bob Dole, Senator (Kansas) 1976
George H. W. Bush, former Congressman (Texas) 1980, 1984
Dan Quayle, Senator (Indiana) 1988, 1992
Jack Kemp, Congressman (NY) 1996
Dick Cheney, Congressman (Wyoming) 2000, 2004
Sarah Palin, Governor (Alaska) 2008
Paul Ryan, Congressman (Wisconsin) 2012

Out of this group of nine Vice Presidential nominees, the ONLY ones that could be considered truly competent and qualified to be President would be Bob Dole, George H. W. Bush, Jack Kemp, and Dick Cheney. And many might consider Kemp more glorified since his death than in life, and Cheney as a corrupt, arrogant, dangerous man in office, the true motivator of the Iraq War. Also many might consider Paul Ryan competent, but when one examines his hypocrisy and lack of compassion for those less fortunate on a broad scale over his years in Congress, one has to wonder.

The others are true disasters, with Miller considered mediocre at best; Sarah Palin purely stupid and ignorant; Dan Quayle an embarrassment to the office of Vice President, making many shudder when President Bush had health issues in office; and Spiro Agnew a crook, as well as being totally terrifying in his nearly five years as Vice President, until his criminal activity was known and he was forced to resign. Imagine having to pray for Richard Nixon’s health during Agnew’s Vice Presidency, and being relieved by Gerald Ford becoming the successor to Nixon, instead of Agnew!

Also notice that five of the above nine, along with Gerald Ford, came from the House of Representatives, when usually no one would consider the lower chamber a place for future Presidential leadership! By comparison, the Democrats have never nominated a House member for Vice President since the disaster of John Nance Garner, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first two terms Vice President from 1933 to 1941, with the one exception, also a disaster, of Geraldine Ferraro being the VP nominee for Walter Mondale in 1984.

So when one compares the Democratic nominees for Vice President, we see true competence and a sense of their understanding of the importance of that office:

Hubert Humphrey 1964
Edmund Muskie 1968
Sargent Shriver 1972 (after Thomas Eagleton withdrew)
Walter Mondale 1976, 1980
Geraldine Ferraro 1984
Lloyd Bentsen 1988
Al Gore 1992, 1996
Joseph Lieberman 2000
John Edwards 2004
Joe Biden 2008, 2012

All of the above, except the disastrous Ferraro, and Shriver were US Senators, and even if one does not agree with Edwards’ ethics and morals, it can be honestly said that all nine, including the withdrawn Eagleton, were totally competent and qualified to be President of the United States, if such responsibility had been thrust on them! No one would contest Shriver’s qualifications for the office either, as he stands out as the most prominent non elected office holder ever to be in public life since World War II!

So the lack of respect for the Vice Presidency of the Republican Party in the past 50 years reveals another problem for the party, the promotion of mediocrity by a party once proud of its leadership, and the likelihood of another GOP Vice Presidential nominee in 2016, who will make us roll our eyes and pray for the Presidential nominee’s good health, being highly likely!

Vice Presidential Debates: Age And Experience Are Winners Three Times, And Probably Again!

With the Vice Presidential debate in Kentucky between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan coming up this Thursday, it is worthwhile to look back at other Vice Presidential debates in which there was a much older candidate on one side.

This has happened three times, with the older candidate seen as the winner, including:

1988—Senator Lloyd Bentsen made Senator Dan Quayle look foolish.
2004—Vice President Dick Cheney overwhelmed Senator John Edwards
2008—Senator Joe Biden won over Governor Sarah Palin handily.

The same scenario is likely this time, as Vice President Biden is a skilled debater, and has no problem going on the offensive in a debate.

This is not to say that Paul Ryan cannot come across as knowledgeable, but Biden can attack Ryan on facts and truth effectively, and the expectation is that Ryan will have problems in that regard with a strong Biden attack, and that Biden will “win” the debate, as much as anyone can be said to “win”!

Vice Presidental Nominees: Ready On “Day One” Or Not?

It has often been said that Presidential nominees do not think of their Vice Presidential nominees as replacing them in office, because of death. No one likes to think about that unpleasant, potential possibility.

But Presidential nominees NEED to think about that, because it should be the most important factor involved in selection of a running mate.

When one looks at Presidential elections since 1960, it is clear that Vice Presidential nominees fit into two categories: those ready on “Day One” to take over the Presidency, and those NOT ready on “Day One” to take over the Presidency.

Those Ready on “Day One” (15)–10 Democrats and 5 Republicans

Henry Cabot Lodge
Lyndon B. Johnson
Hubert H. Humphrey
Edmund Muskie
Sargent Shriver
Walter Mondale
Bob Dole
George H. W. Bush
Lloyd Bentsen
Al Gore
Jack Kemp
Dick Cheney
Joe Lieberman
John Edwards
Joe Biden

Those NOT ready on “Day One” (6)–1 Democrat and 5 Republicans

William E. Miller
Spiro Agnew
Geraldine Ferraro
Dan Quayle
Sarah Palin
Paul Ryan

The selection of the Vice Presidential nominee is the first, and in many ways, the most crucial decision a Presidential candidate makes. In that regard, the Democrats have been dramatically more careful than the Republicans!

Paul Ryan Always To Be National Figure In Future No Matter What Happens In November!

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan will NEVER be a minor, forgettable public figure ever again!

He will now have Secret Service protection during the upcoming campaign, and will still need some protection after, due to the controversial nature of running for national office.

Every Vice Presidential loser remains a national figure, and is often thought of as a future Presidential candidate.

Witness Sarah Palin, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, and the earlier Presidential candidacies of Jack Kemp, Lloyd Bentsen, and Bob Dole as evidence, and also the later candidacies for President of Sargent Shriver and Edmund Muskie as further proof!

And being only 42, and even rumored to have thought of running for President from the House of Representatives in this year’s race, face the facts—Paul Ryan will be a major player in the future of American politics!

And finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt lost the Vice Presidency in 1920 and became President in 1932!

Losing Vice Presidential Candidates And Their Careers

In the past fifty years, since the Kennedy-Nixon election of 1960, we have had a total of 12 losing Vice Presidential nominees of major parties, not including Vice President Walter Mondale under President Jimmy Carter in 1980, and Vice President Dan Quayle under President George H. W. Bush in 1992.

What ever became of these 12 losing Vice Presidential nominees?

Henry Cabot Lodge, who ran with Richard Nixon in 1960, went on to be Ambassador to South Vietnam for President Kennedy in 1963-1964, a sign of bipartisan cooperation, even though Lodge had lost his US Senate seat to President Kennedy in 1952. He then was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1964, but did not get very far in the race. Lodge had had a distinguished career as Senator from Massachusetts from 1937-1953, played an influential role in drafting Dwight D. Eisenhower for President in 1952, and served as Ike’s United Nations Ambassador for eight years, before becoming Nixon’s running mate in 1960. Overall, a very distinguished career, to say the least!

William E. Miller, who ran with Barry Goldwater in 1964, served as a member of the US House of Representatives from upstate New York from 1951-1965, and was Republican National Chairman from 1961-1964. His public career ended with the Goldwater defeat, but his daughter, Stephanie Miller, is a comedian and radio talk show host, and also on Current TV five mornings a week. Interestingly, she is very liberal, while her father was a solid conservative.

Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine ran with Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968, after having served in the US Senate for ten years, and continued to serve in the Senate until 1980, when he agreed to be President Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State for one year. He also sought the Presidency himself in 1972, was considered a front runner, but his candidacy floundered.

Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri was George McGovern’s first running mate in 1972, but was forced out over revelations that he had undergone shock treatments and taken psychiatric medication. Despite that, he served in the US Senate for 18 years from 1969-1987, and served with distinction, with whatever mental problems he had not interfering with his performance.

Sargent Shriver, the brother in law of President Kennedy, replaced Eagleton, and was well known as the head of the Peace Corps under Kennedy, and as head of the War on Poverty under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Then he served as Ambassador to France under Johnson and Richard Nixon, before running for Vice President. He also ran for President unsuccessfully in 1976, and became the head of the Special Olympics. His daughter, Maria Shriver, became an NBC reporter and the wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. His decline due to Alzheimer’s Disease had an impact on publicity about that disease. He died a much beloved public servant.

Gerald Ford had Senator Bob Dole of Kansas as his running mate in 1976. Dole had been a member of the House of Representatives from 1961-1969, and served in the Senate from 1969 until his resignation in 1996, when he became the Republican nominee for President. He remains active today, and is highly honored for his public career, and his wife Elizabeth also served as a United States Senator from North Carolina. Additionally, Dole had served as Republican National Chairman from 1971-1973 under Richard Nixon. He also was, at different times, Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader.

Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984, becoming the first woman to run for Vice President. She had been a Congresswoman from Queens County, New York City from 1978-1984, and was later US Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights under President Bill Clinton from 1993-1996. She ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 1992 and 1998, and later was involved in the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign of 2008.

Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas was the running mate of Michael Dukakis in1988. He served in the House of Representatives from 1949-1955, and as US Senator from 1971-1993, winning his seat the first time over future President George H. W. Bush, He was also Senate Finance Committee Chairman, and Treasury Secretary under BIll Clinton in 1993–1994.

New York Congressman Jack Kemp, a former football player for the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, served in the House of Representatives from upstate Buffalo, New York, from 1971-1989. He ran for President unsuccessfully in 1988, before agreeing to be Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996. He also served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the first President Bush from 1989-1993. He was a major supporter of economic conservatism, and a follower of President Ronald Reagan. He continued to advocate his views after losing the Vice Presidency.

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, and was the first Jewish nominee for Vice President. He had served in the Senate since first being elected in 1988, and will retire from the Senate in 2012, after four complete terms, as a controversial independent Democrat, progressive on social issues, but hard line conservative on foreign policy. He was called conservative intellectual William F. Buckley, Jr’s “favorite Democrat”.

In 2004, North Carolina Senator John Edwards was John Kerry’s Vice Presidential running mate. He served in the Senate for one term from 1999-2005, and sought the Presidency in 2008, and when his campaign failed, he was revealed to have a consensual affair with a woman while his wife was sick with cancer, and the liaison produced a daughter, and now has led to a trial that might lead to his imprisonment on charges of illegal use of campaign funds to cover the affair and the needs of the child and mother. This is truly a sad situation, still to be played out.

And finally, who could forget Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who came out of obscurity as the second woman to run for Vice President, with John McCain in 2008. She became a lightning rod, and many blamed the debacle of the McCain campaign on her, and her obvious ignorance of the issues and the facts of American politics and history. She has remained a controversial figure, who has made millions writing some books and giving speeches,and is seen by many as a major factor in the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Her future is still ahead of her, and we will not be able to ignore her, as she will be part of political news for a long time.

So who stood out among these losing VP candidates?

Clearly, Lodge, Muskie, Eagleton, Shriver, Dole, Bentsen, Kemp, and Lieberman had a positive effect on American history.

The same cannot be said for Miller, Ferraro, Edwards, and Palin.

However, all of them contributed to our history, and should be remembered!