William E. Miller

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!

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!

Choosing A Sitting House Member For Vice President Not Productive!

This author mentioned last week that Paul Ryan was the fifth member of the House of Representatives to be nominated for Vice President in the past half century, which is true.

However, two of those five House members were not still in the House of Representatives when nominated for Vice President, and had accomplished beyond being a member of the House. These are Jack Kemp, nominated with Bob Dole in 1996, who was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George H. W. Bush from 1989-1993; and Dick Cheney, nominated with George W. Bush in 2000, who was Secretary of Defense under the first President Bush for the same years as Kemp, 1989-1993.

But the only SITTING House members to be nominated were William E. Miller with Barry Goldwater in 1964; Geraldine Ferraro with Walter Mondale in 1984; and now Paul Ryan with Mitt Romney in 2012.

The first two experiments were a total failure, with Goldwater losing all but six states in 1964, and Lyndon B. Johnson winning the highest percentage in history, 61.1 percent of the popular vote. And Mondale lost all states except Minnesota and the District of Columbia, with Ronald Reagan winning 525 electoral votes, an all time high, and 59.4 percent of the total popular vote!

No one is saying that Romney and Ryan will do as disastrously as the other two cases, but the prospects for victory are based on very long odds!

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 As Potential Commander In Chief? Very Scary!

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate, would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency if Romney became President.

That would be totally terrifying in so many ways!

Yes, Ryan is intelligent, unlike Sarah Palin. He is also, personally, very charming, but that is not all that important in a President!

Those are the only two points in his favor, if he is a heartbeat away from being Commander in Chief!

Ryan is arrogant, reckless, cocky, overly ideological, uncompromising, and inflexible, and those are NOT characteristics we need or want in a future President!

He would be the most ideological President in modern American history, and he would be a total disaster for the nation in both economic policy and foreign policy!

The idea that a Congressman, with his record of accomplishment, is qualified to be President is disturbing, and is part of a weird tendency of the Republican Party to select a person who represents one out of 435 Congressional districts to be a national leader.

Ryan follows William E. Miller in 1964, Jack Kemp in 1996, and Dick Cheney in 2000 in being in the Vice Presidential slot, and the one successful case, Cheney, is enough reason to be totally terrified at Ryan becoming Vice President!

Finally, Paul Ryan has very little experience in foreign policy, and would be a total unknown in that regard, but he voted for the Iraq War, and is against getting out of Afghanistan, and by his domestic record, including his proposed budget plan, would likely be a foreign policy “hawk”, going along with the neoconservatives, as he already goes along with the social conservatives on every issue!

Odd And Interesting Points About Paul Ryan, And The Presidential Election Of 2012

There are many odd and interesting points about Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan that have been gathered, and here are some of them!

Paul Ryan, like Mitt Romney, is handsome, and they look good together photogenically.

Paul Ryan looks as if he could be one of Mitt Romney’s sons, and actually is only 12 days older than Romney’s oldest son, Tagg!

Paul Ryan has spent his whole adult life in government, with no experience in the private sector.

Paul Ryan was affected by the narrow minded, selfish teachings of Ayn Rand, and he was involved in work with former Congressman Jack Kemp, one of the authors of what became known as Reaganomics, which started tripling the national debt in the 1980s, due to the theory of Supply Side Economics. Now, Ryan wishes to multiply what Reaganomics in the 1980s and Bushonomics in the 2000s brought about, most of the increased national debt, $7 trillion of the total $10.5 trillion debt that existed when George W. Bush left the Presidency in January, 2009!

Paul Ryan’s dad died when he was in high school, and he was supported by the social safety net of Social Security with survivors benefits while in college.

Paul Ryan has lived off the American taxpayer his entire life, and will receive better health care and pension benefits as part of the federal payroll, that he wishes to cut for everyone else in the middle and lower classes!

Paul Ryan alienated Catholic nuns when he came out for cuts in food stamps and other benefits to poor children, and called for privatizing of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while wanting greater tax cuts for the top two percent!

Paul Ryan was booed in his own congressional district for the Ryan plan which passed the House of Representatives earlier this year, but with no Democratic support and ten Republicans voting against, as well.

Paul Ryan comes across as articulate, handsome, and charming personally, the latter much more than Mitt Romney, but he also comes across to many as arrogant, nasty, mean spirited, uncaring, hypocritical , uncompromising, and loved by the Tea Party and the right wing media which have declared war on women, senior citizens, the middle class, minorities, and the poor!

Paul Ryan has no foreign policy experience, and being only a Congressman, can be seen as not qualified to be Commander in Chief on Day One!

This is the 5th time in the past half century that a member of the House of Representatives has been selected as a Vice Presidential running mate—William E. Miller of New York with Barry Goldwater in 1964; Geraldine Ferraro of New York with Walter Mondale in 1984; Jack Kemp of New York with Bob Dole in 1996; Dick Cheney of Wyoming with George W. Bush in 2000; and now Paul Ryan of Wisconsin with Mitt Romney in 2012. Notice all four of the earlier choices LOST the election that followed, with the exception of Cheney with Bush, but remember that Al Gore actually won the popular vote in 2000 by 540,000 votes, and the Supreme Court decided the election, intervening for the first time in American history!

And as said in an earlier post, finally, this marks the fourth time in the past 60 years that the Vice Presidential nominee has been more than 20 years younger than the Presidential nominee—Richard Nixon with Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952; Dan Quayle with George H. W. Bush in 1988; Sarah Palin with John McCain in 2008; and now Paul Ryan with Mitt Romney in 2012.

Additionally, we have no one on either ticket for this upcoming election who is from the Sun Belt states, the growing part of the nation. Instead, we have a Midwesterner and an Easterner on each ticket–Barack Obama and Paul Ryan from the Midwest, and Joe Biden and Mitt Romney from the Northeast!

Also, there is no candidate with military experience on either Presidential ticket, the first time since the 1940s!

And we also have no mainline Protestant on the Republican ticket, a mainstay of the GOP, and instead have a Mormon and a Catholic.

If anything, the only true “Protestant” is Barack Obama, as Joe Biden is Catholic!

More oddities and trivia will probably arise as the campaign develops further!

Lack Of Republican Diversity In Presidential Tickets: Nixon, Dole, And Bush Dominant Since 1952

With the discussion of Jeb Bush as a possible Vice Presidential running mate for Mitt Romney, it reminds us of the oddity that three names have dominated Presidential tickets in the Republican Party for the past sixty years, since 1952.

Richard Nixon was on the ballot five times–Vice President in 1952 and 1956, and President in 1960, 1968, and 1972.

Bob Dole was on the ticket twice–Vice President in 1976 and President in 1996.

A Bush was on the ballot six times–George H. W. Bush for Vice President in 1980 and 1984, and for President in 1988 and 1992. His son, George W. Bush, was the Presidential candidate in 2000 and 2004.

So only twice were none of these three names on the ballot–1964 when Barry Goldwater and William E. Miller ran, and 2008, when John McCain and Sarah Palin ran.

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!

More Political Media: Current TV Expands To Include Bill Press and Stephanie Miller Starting Monday!

For those of us who are political “junkies”, political “addicts”, Current TV, stared by former Vice President Al Gore, and having as its first “star’ the controversial Keith Olbermann, formerly of MSNBC, is rapidly expanding, with a goal of becoming another MSNBC, but maybe even more progressive than that cable channel is!

Starting next week, Current TV, available on most cable systems, will have Bill Press on live from 6-9 AM as competition for Joe Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC; and will have Stephanie Miller on from 9 AM-12 Noon.

Bill Press used to be on CNN and MSNBC, and is one of the leading progressive commentators; and Stephanie Miller, the daughter of William E. Miller, Vice Presidential running mate of Barry Goldwater 48 years ago in the Presidential Election of 1964, and formerly on CNBC and on radio for the past eight years, and traveling all over the nation as part of the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour with comedians Hal Sparks and John Fuglesang (which this author was pleased to be able to witness when they were in Fort Lauderdale a few months ago), is also a delightful addition to cable television.

Both Press and Miller will join the station which, in its evening hours during the week has Keith Olbermann, Cenk Uggur, and Jennifer Granholm (former Michigan Governor).

There will also be a two minute political news break from 6 AM through 11 AM daily, as an added feature.

Since there is plenty of talk radio and Fox News Channel on the right, we can certainly use more progressive alternatives, so Current TV and Al Gore must be applauded for deciding to compete with CNN and MSNBC. The more the better!

History, Losing The Vice Presidency, and Sarah Palin: A Reality Check!

Many people seem to think that Sarah Palin, the losing Vice Presidential nominee in 2008, has a real shot at being elected President of the United States in 2012.

The fact that Sarah Palin is ill qualified to be President, and the thought of what a nightmare it would be if such an ill informed, ignorant person such as the former Alaska Governor were to be elected, is also mollified by historical reality.

What is that historical reality? Only ONCE in American history has a LOSING Vice Presidential nominee gone on later to be elected President!

And what is that one exception to the rule that losing candidates do not go on to become President? FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, who ran with Governor James Cox of Ohio, in the worst ever defeat of a Presidential candidate until that time, in the Election of 1920, which brought us Warren G. Harding to the Presidency and Calvin Coolidge to the Vice Presidency! Franklin D. Roosevelt went on to be elected President TWELVE years later, in the worst depths of the Great Depression.

But that is indeed the only time a losing VP candidate has been elected President, and when one looks at all of the losing Vice Presidential candidates since 1960, Sarah Palin pales by comparison!

The list includes, chronologically by election, the following:

Henry Cabot Lodge
William E. Miller
Edmund Muskie
Sargeant Shriver
Bob Dole
Walter Mondale
Geraldine Ferraro
Lloyd Bentsen
Dan Quayle
Jack Kemp
Joe Lieberman
John Edwards

And only Dole and Mondale were nominated by their parties to run for President.

So the Palin lovers out there–it is time to face reality, as Sarah Palin has no chance to become President, and she certainly is no Franklin D. Roosevelt! 🙂