Jack Kemp

Kamala Harris Starting To Demonstrate Her Strengths As Vice President, And Potential Future President!

Kamala Harris has been Vice President for two and a half years now, and she has had a poor public image, being often portrayed as weak and ineffective, in public opinion polls.

A lot of this is pure right wing propaganda, with heavy elements of misogyny and racism.

If one examines earlier Vice Presidents of the Republican variety, one realizes how horrendous they were:

Mike Pence, unwilling even now to stand up to Donald Trump for his transgressions, including the threat to the lives of Pence and his family on January 6, 2021.

Dick Cheney, technically qualified, but a miserable wretch of a human being.

Dan Quayle, a total disaster and embarrassment as Vice President.

Spiro Agnew, a crooked felon, forced out of office.

And then the Republican Vice Presidential nominees who, thankfully, never were in that role:

Sarah Palin 2008

Paul Ryan 2012

Jack Kemp 1996

William E Miller 1964

And then, the potential Vice Presidential list for Donald Trump, if he became the Presidential nominee again, a total nightmare of lunacy and insanity!

Meanwhile, Democratic Vice Presidents and nominees were superior by far:

Hubert Humphrey 1964
Edmund Muskie 1968
Sargent Shriver 1972
Walter Mondale 1976, 1980
Lloyd Bentsen 1988
Al Gore 1992, 1996
Joe Lieberman 2000
Joe Biden 2008, 2012
Tim Kaine 2016

The only terrible choices were Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and John Edwards in 2004.

Harris has had an impressive career in California Government, and has been, by necessity, the most active Vice President, due to the narrow division of the Senate, necessitating that she break more tie votes in the Senate than any Vice President, surpassing John C. Calhoun under President Andrew Jackson from 1829-1832, recently!

Harris is now becoming significant, as she makes the issues of women’s rights and civil rights the center of attention, including attacking the end of abortion rights, and the promotion of outrageous interference with the teaching of American history and slavery, as advocated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and spreading nationwide in Republican states!

This is raising her profile, as she would certainly be the frontrunner to be President after Joe Biden, either when he leaves office, or if he was unable to finish his time in office!

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.

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!

The Best Hope For The Republican Party For 2016: Governor John Kasich Of Ohio!

It is becoming very clear that the best hope for the Republican Party to regain the White House in 2016 is NOT Jeb Bush, is NOT Chris Christie, is NOT Rand Paul, is NOT Scott Walker and is NOT anyone else being considered other than the sitting Governor of Ohio, John Kasich.

Of all of the potential GOP candidates for the Presidency, it is John Kasich who has the most distinguished record of accomplishments, who has made very few flubs or blunders, who has avoided making stupid statements up to the present, who has come across as a serious possibility from the state that is the ultimate “swing” state, Ohio.

NO Republican President has won office without winning Ohio, and from 1868 to 1923, there were SIX Republican Presidents from Ohio—Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

The Republican National Convention will be in Cleveland, and what could be more dramatic than nominating the sitting Governor of Ohio in Ohio?

Kasich has the most years of experience of anyone on the Republican side, having 18 years in Congress, and risen to the Chairmanship of the House Budget Committee, before leaving Congress, being an anchor for awhile on Fox News Channel, then working on Wall Street, before winning two terms as Governor of the “Buckeye” state.

No one is trying to claim that Kasich has made no mistakes, but compared to everyone else in the race, Kasich is the highest quality. While in Congress, he supported the Brady Assault Weapons Ban legislation and angered the National Rifle Association. He angered Tea Party groups by accepting Medicaid expansion, one of a very few Republican governors who have done that.

Kasich has worked against abortion rights, and has been shown to be anti union, typical of Republicans on the other hand, but he has also come across as an independent guy, who some have said has been influenced by the fact that his parents, killed tragically in an auto accident, were Democrats.

Kasich was considered as Bob Dole’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1996 but Jack Kemp instead was the choice of the Republican Presidential nominee. In 1999, he considered a Presidential candidacy but dropped out and endorsed George W. Bush. He could have stayed on in his Congressional seat and easily retained it, but decided after 18 years, it was time to move on. Had Dole picked him, he would have been only 44, and had he had a more serious Presidential bid in 2000, he would have been 48. Now he will be 64 in 2016, still young enough to be vibrant!

Kasich is also a reasonable man, a pleasant man, and avoids the image of arrogance and elitism that so many other Republicans exude. One can imagine a President Kasich, and if forced to do that, would be better able to live with it, as he is not a Tea Party Movement guy, not a Religious Right guy, not a libertarian! In fact, he is a bit of a skeptic about religion in politics, and has changed his religious views over his lifetime from Catholic to Anglican. He is in the mainstream of America, and is the best that the GOP has to offer, assuming former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman does not change his mind and decide to run after all!

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!

Republicans And Foreign Policy Knowledge And Expertise In The Past 50 Years

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Republicans in foreign policy in the past 50 years, one cannot deny the expertise of Presidential candidates, or in the absence of expertise by them, their Vice Presidential running mates.

Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge in 1960 had exceptional foreign policy background and experience.

Barry Goldwater may have been wrong headed and too aggressive, but at least he had knowledge of foreign affairs as a Senator from Arizona.

Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972 had even greater expertise on foreign policy than in 1960.

Gerald Ford and Bob Dole had extensive background in foreign issues in 1976.

While Ronald Reagan had limited background in 1980, he had George H. W. Bush to assist him for eight years.

Bush had the expertise needed in 1988 and 1992, although he had the inferior Dan Quayle as his running mate and Vice President.

Bob Dole and Jack Kemp had experience and background when they ran together in 1996.

While George W. Bush had little background and experience, he had his dad and his running mate, Dick Cheney, who had been Secretary of Defense under his father.

John McCain had extensive background in foreign policy in 2008, although Sarah Palin was an embarrassment.

Now in 2012, we have two GOP candidates, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who have no real background or experience, but both love to bluster and threaten and act tough, and the world looks on with trepidation at the thought that this inferior team might be in charge of national security and defense and foreign policy!

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!

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!