Day: January 23, 2013

The Vice Presidency NOT Fertile Hunting Ground For Future Presidents

Much of the history of the Vice Presidency, whoever has been chosen to be in that office has failed to have much impact, and has seldom been seen as a potential President.

When one looks at those who have held the office, one realizes that in most cases, even those who succeeded to the Presidency during the term, a total of nine times, would be highly unlikely ever to have become President, if it had not been for the death or resignation of the President during that term.

Would John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, picked as Democratic running mates of a Whig (William Henry Harrison) and Republican (Abraham Lincoln) Presidential nominee have ever had the likelihood of being a Presidential nominee on their own, if their Presidents had finished their terms of office?

Would Millard Fillmore, who succeeded Zachary Taylor, or Chester Alan Arthur, who succeeded James A. Garfield, have been likely Presidential nominees, if their Presidents had not died in office?

Would Theodore Roosevelt, who succeeded William McKinley, but was despised by Mark Hanna and conservatives in the Republican Party, and was put into the Vice Presidency to take him out of the Governorship of New York State, have been likely to be the GOP nominee in 1904?

Would Calvin Coolidge, who succeeded Warren G. Harding, have been likely to be the GOP nominee in either 1924 or 1928, after Herbert Hoover had made such a good impression as Secretary of Commerce during a prosperous seeming 1920s?

Would Harry Truman, who as a non controversial Senator, hardly thought about by many before he was selected to run with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, and never having any real ambition for the Presidency, have been likely to be the next nominee of a party that had passed by John Nance Garner and Henry A. Wallace?

Would Lyndon B. Johnson, as a Southerner, after not being allowed much of a role as Vice President under John F. Kennedy, and with an ambitious brother, Robert Kennedy, waiting in the wings to run for President in the future, been able to be the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1968?

Would Gerald Ford, who had absolutely no ambitions to be President, had remained in the Vice Presidency and Richard Nixon had not resigned or been removed from office by impeachment, would he have been the GOP Presidential nominee in 1976?

The answer in all cases clearly is NO, and when one considers that ONLY George H. W. Bush actually succeeded his boss, Ronald Reagan, the only time since Martin Van Buren succeeded Andrew Jackson 152 years earlier, it is clear that had none of the eight Presidents who had died or been assassinated in office, nor the one who resigned (Nixon) would have been succeeded in the Presidency by their Vice Presidents.

And when one considers that Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale (four years after), and Al Gore also failed to hold the office of the Presidency, one has to come to the conclusion that the likelihood, in reality, of a President Joe Biden being elected to follow President Barack Obama, is quite unlikely, less than 50 percent, as indicated in the previous blog entry today!

The Likelihood Of Joe Biden Succeeding Barack Obama: Less Than 50%

With the second term of President Barack Obama beginning, already the news media is speculating on the likelihood of Vice President Joe Biden running for President, and the odds that he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016, and become our next President.

Biden is certainly encouraging speculation, while saying he has not made up his mind. It is clear that he would like to run, but even he admits that the success or lack of success of the first two years of the second term of Obama, on top of his first term, will have a dramatic effect on his decision to run, and the odds of his having a good chance to become the 45th President of the United States.

Biden has a long record in public office, actually greater in number of years than any President of the United States having come to the Senate at the minimum age of 30, serving six terms (36 years), and now on his second term as Vice President, which, when he completes it, will mean he has served 44 years in national office.

Biden knows Washington DC like few know it. He also knows how to work with the opposition Republican Party in a manner unseen since Lyndon B. Johnson, although Johnson had a much more unorthodox approach to bargaining, and “wheeler dealing”, than the much more proper and mannerly Joe Biden.

But he also has a long list of gaffes, most not harmful, except to those who oppose him, and his liberal views have alienated major groups, as he has worked on issues highly controversial, including gun rights, women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, foreign policy, Supreme Court nominees, and protection of the Great Society and New Deal programs, including the so called “entitlements”.

And his age, now 70, meaning he would be 74-78 in a first term, and 78-82 in a second term, is not a plus, as we only had one President beyond the age of 70, Ronald Reagan, who seemed to be in decline in his second term of office, finishing it at age 77 and about 49 weeks,

And there is the challenge of Hillary Clinton, whose public opinion ratings are higher than Biden’s, although there is much doubt that she will, ultimately, run for the Presidency. This author and blogger has already theorized, at the beginning of January, that Hillary will decide not to run. Her performance in testifying today at the Benghazi, Libya hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be crucial in any plans she might have, after a good rest and recovery period, to run for President in 2016.

And of course, there is the “younger” or “newer” generation of political leaders who have interest in running—including Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Martin O’Malley of Maryland, both taking strong leadership on gay marriage and gun regulations in their states; plus others, including Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and even possibly others, including Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado.

So the likelihood of Joe Biden running, while good, is not, automatically going to give him an edge in a field of many likely challengers. And of course, even if many Republicans like Joe Biden personally, it is certain, and obvious, that they are building up a long list of issues to use against the Vice President, should he end up as the Democratic nominee for President in 2016.