Vice Presidential Debates

Republican Presidential Nominees And Presidents, And Their Running Mates: No Love Lost, Historically!

It is clear from the study of history and news coverage over the past half century that Republican Presidential candidate and even Republican Presidents have NOT been enamored with their Vice Presidential running mates or Vice Presidents.

We go back to Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew as the first example, with Nixon using Agnew to attack the news media and Democrats in the midterm 1970 Congressional elections, but having little personal regard for him, and unwilling to come to his support when Agnew was revealed to be engaged in corruption, which would force his resignation in October 1973.

Then, Nixon selected Gerald Ford as his Vice Presidential replacement more on the idea that he felt that Ford, while well liked in Congress, would not be seen by opposition Democrats as all that competent to replace Nixon during the impeachment crisis of 1973-1974.

Gerald Ford seems to have really admired and felt comfortable with Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President under the 25th Amendment, but agreed to drop him from the ticket in 1976 to please conservatives, led by Ronald Reagan, and to select Senator Bob Dole of Kansas as his replacement.

Ronald Reagan may have utilized George H. W. Bush’s expertise, but had little personal regard for Bush, and the Bushes were never invited to dinner at the White House during the eight years of their association.

Bush certainly had little faith and trust in Dan Quayle during his Presidency, and the nation knew it, and worried about the incompetence of Quayle.

Bob Dole’s selection of Jack Kemp in 1996 to be his running mate as Vice President certainly was not as a result of friendship or warmth, and they seemed an ill fit, often disagreeing during the campaign.

George W. Bush selected Dick Cheney in 2000 due to his vast experience, and allowed himself to be dominated in the first term, but their association soured dramatically in the second term.

John McCain seems to have been forced to select Sarah Palin in 2008, and Palin helped to undermine McCain, but McCain continues to defend Palin even today, although it seems clear how uncomfortable he is when answering questions about Palin.

The Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan connection in 2012 seems also not to have been one of great warmth and friendship.

And Mike Pence is squirming a lot as Vice Presidential running mate for Donald Trump, seeing Trump contradict him openly and making clear his lack of regard for Pence, including being upset that Pence performed better in his debate with Tim Kaine, than Trump did with Hillary Clinton in their three Presidential debates.

Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren Chemistry Absolutely Magnetic!

Yesterday’s political event of Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, a true “Swing State” and city, was one of the most exciting and magnetic political events in many years!

Warren was dynamic and sensational, and made one think that the nation might be ready for two women on the national ticket, a revolutionary development.

Imagine if, let’s say, Donald Trump selects New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to be his Vice Presidential running mate, what the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates would be like this fall!

Two dynamic, brilliant, intelligent women vs two narcissistic, egotistical bullies!

One is tempted to say: “Bring it on!”

“Speaks Without Notes”; “Has Passion And Joy In Campaigning”; “Speaks His Mind”—Traits Of Donald Trump AND Joe Biden!

It has been pointed out that billionaire Donald Trump “speaks without notes”; “has passion and joy in campaigning”; “speaks his mind”, all traits that most politicians, including Presidential candidates, often do not have.

Well, there is someone else who has the same traits that Trump has, but also has tons of REAL government experience; a record of REAL accomplishments; a true compassion for those NOT wealthy; a sincerity, authenticity, and genuine nature rarely seen in politicians; a person with not a mean bone in  his body; a person who would “give the shirt off his back”; a true man of the people, who has managed to serve longer than any political leader in public office in the entire history of the nation; and has NOT enriched himself in the manner that most politicians do!

In these other traits mentioned in the above paragraph, Donald Trump is entirely different, the diametric opposite of this other person who shares the traits in the first paragraph.

Who am I talking about?  Vice President and former Delaware Senator Joe Biden!

It can be argued that Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton cannot compete in the traits that Donald Trump and Joe Biden share.  Bernie Sanders  may share the traits in the first paragraph, but his connection to the “dirty” word “Socialism” creates many potential complications were Sanders to end up as the Democratic nominee for President, a real “long shot”!

A debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden would be the debate of the century, as Joe Biden would combat the demagoguery of Trump with a strong, rational, but fiery and emotional attack on “Trumpism”.  Biden has already proved how he can make “mince meat” of Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin in Vice Presidential debates.  He proved to be the best debater in the Presidential primaries of 2008, but of course could not overcome the star power of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

But now, coming off the successful and significant Vice Presidency of Joe Biden, he would have the best opportunity to overcome the phenomenon of Donald Trump, and institutionalize the Obama Presidency, and keep the virtues of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt!

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.

Could Joe Biden-Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate Be A Forerunner Of 2016?

The Joe Biden-Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate this Thursday could be a forerunner of 2016!

If Joe Biden performs well, and seals a Barack Obama victory in November, he will be the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016.

If Paul Ryan does a reputable performance, and is not harmed by Biden, even if Biden is declared the winner on points, he becomes the front runner for 2016 as the Republican Presidential nominee, presuming a Mitt Romney defeat in 2012.

In theory, both Biden and Ryan could be running against each other–74 year old Biden with 44 years of government experience, the most of any Presidential nominee or winner of the White House in history—and 46 year old Paul Ryan, who will have had 18 years in the House of Representatives by then, assuming he wins his House seat while being on the losing Presidential team!

Certainly, one or the other could very well be on the Presidential ballot in 2016, as Walter Mondale was in 1984, after the Mondale-Bush debate of 1980; as George H. W. Bush was after the debate with Geraldine Ferraro in 1984; and as Al Gore was after the debate with Jack Kemp in 1996.

CORRECTION: I discovered after writing the above that there was no VP debate between Bush and Mondale in 1980, so I stand corrected, and that means twice in VP debate history, one of the candidates was on the Presidential ballot in the following election, not three times!

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”!