Thomas Eagleton

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!

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!

The Shame And Embarrassment Of Missouri: What Has Happened To The “Show Me” State?

Missouri is smack in the middle of the United States, and is the ultimate swing state, having successfully gone with the winner of the Presidency in every election since 1900, except for 1956 (picking Adlai Stevenson over Dwight D. Eisenhower) and 2008 (picking John McCain over Barack Obama).

However, both times the final result was not known for days, and the victory was only by about 4,000 votes statewide.

Missouri is also the state historically of the following statesmen:

President Harry Truman (1945-1953), who had served in the Senate from 1935-1945 (Democrat)
Senator Thomas Hart Benton (1821-1851) (Democrat)
Senator Carl Schurz (1869-1875) (Republican)
Senator Stuart Symington (1953-1977) (Democrat)
Senator John Danforth (1977-1995) (Republican)
Senator Thomas Eagleton (1969-1987) (Democrat)

But now, Missouri is represented by Senator Roy Blunt, who used to be one of the top Republicans in the House of Representatives, and has become connected to the Blunt Amendment proposal, allowing any employer to prevent medical services based on religious grounds to any employee, a measure defeated by the Democratic majority in the US Senate. This is seen as anti women, interfering with their right to have birth control as part of medical plans.

And now, Congressman Todd Akin, controversial for his comment about “legitimate” rape, but refusing to withdraw as the GOP nominee for the Senate seat of Senator Claire McCaskill, is putting Missouri into the strange position of possibly having both Senators on record as against the rights of women to control their own reproductive lives, and trying to prevent abortion if a victim of rape or incest, or her life itself is threatened, an extremely right wing position.

The Republican Party and Mitt Romney had backed away from support of Akin, but now that he is remaining in the race for the Senate, the question is whether the Republican Party will change its mind and end up supporting Akin’s candidacy financially.

This McCaskill-Akin race could well be the decisive one that determines whether the Democrats keep control of the US Senate, or if the Republicans gain control.

It would seem that McCaskill should win, not only because of the controversy raised by Akin, but because she has done a good job in her one term in the Senate.

But Missouri is an odd state, with strong evangelical roots, and it would be a major shame and embarrassment for the state were they to end up having two right wing Senators at the same time.

The state would lose all respect of political observers who see moderation as the way to get things done in the Senate, and it would be a major step backwards for women’s rights!

So everyone should contribute to this pivotal race, as the key one which could determine the political future in so many ways!

And it is up to Missouri voters to show they are indeed the “Show Me” state, and will not tolerate having an extreme right winger in the Senate, joining Senator Roy Blunt!

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!

Presidential And Vice Presidential Candidates: “Shot Gun” Marriages Most Of The Time!

When a Presidential nominee selects his Vice Presidential running mate in any Presidential campaign, it can be regarded as a judgment of the Presidential nominee’s leadership.

It can also cause much grief, as too often, the combination of Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees does not work, whether elected or not.

Since the time of Richard Nixon as Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower, as the Vice Presidency has become a significant and powerful office, there has been much distrust, stress, and alienation between the people running for the top two offices, and if elected, has become a major problem that affects the nation.

Witness the following:

While President Eisenhower allowed Vice President Nixon to take on more authority as Eisenhower suffered health crises, the two men never were very close, and Eisenhower held off on backing Nixon publicly for a second term as Vice President in 1956.

Lyndon B. Johnson had very little role and a difficult relationship with President John F. Kennedy, and his brother, Attorney General Robert F.Kennedy.

When Nixon ran against Kennedy in 1960, his running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge, followed a very relaxed campaign strategy, taking long naps and breaks during the Fall campaign, and it was clear that the two men did not get along well.

When Lyndon Johnson chose Hubert Humphrey as his Vice President in 1964, he treated Humphrey in a very disrespectful way, similar to what had occurred to Johnson under Kennedy. Humphrey was ruined in his later Presidential candidacy by having to endorse and support the Vietnam War, a war he had grave doubts about, and was often left out of important cabinet meetings.

When Nixon became President, he looked at his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, in a less than respectful way, and just allowed Agnew to do “dirty work” of attacking liberals and the news media, and refused to keep him informed about many policies, and let him resign due to scandal, without a word of support.

When Nixon chose Gerald Ford after Agnew resigned, he saw him as a lightweight, who would insure his own survival in the Watergate scandal, an assumption that Nixon was totally wrong about!

George McGovern chose Thomas Eagleton in 1972, without any knowledge of his mental treatments and then, effectively abandoned him for Sargent Shriver, a Kennedy brother in law.

Gerald Ford got along well with Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President, but dropped him in favor of Bob Dole when he ran in 1976, a move that probably caused his defeat.

When Ronald Reagan chose George H. W. Bush in 1980, the two men did not trust each other, and had been major rivals, and although Bush worked hard for Reagan, there was no personal chemistry between them, and the Bushes were never invited to stay at the White House under the Reagan Administration.

Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, without knowing about the illegal activities of her husband, and they did not seem very close during the campaign.

George H. W. Bush did not have much confidence, or give much authority, to his Vice President, Dan Quayle, who was a major burden during his administration, due to Quayle’s blunders and misstatements.

Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen seemed like oil and water, when they ran together in 1988.

Much the same can be said for Bob Dole and Jack Kemp in the 1996 Presidential campaign.

The combination of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman never seemed to click during the 2000 Presidential campaign, and Lieberman publicly called for giving up the fight for Florida’s electoral votes when Gore was still suing for a recount against George W. Bush.

In 2004, John Kerry and John Edwards did not get along very well, as Edwards was very much his own man in his own mind.

And sadly, the same holds true for John McCain and Sarah Palin, with her becoming a major headache, embarrassment, and burden in 2008.

The only times running mates really seemed to work well together were:

Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie in the 1968 campaign.

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale in the Carter Presidency, with Mondale practically seen as co-President.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore in the Clinton Presidency, until the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when there was a falling out between the two men, which affected the 2000 Presidential campaign.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the second Bush Presidency, although their relationship started to deteriorate in the second term.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden, presently, in the Obama Presidency, working very well together, as united as Carter and Mondale were in the 1970s

This is all discussed as reality in our history as Mitt Romney edges closer to the Presidential nomination of his party.

And even if, somehow, Rick Santorum, or someone else ends up as the Republican nominee, who is chosen to be his Vice Presidential running mate will be crucial to the campaign, and if he wins, to the office of Vice President, and to the nation.