The Running Mate

Aren’t these exciting times as we’re waiting for the Presidential contenders to announce their choice of running mate ? I find it thrilling. The running (mate) joke goes that the Vice President doesn’t matter because he doesn’t have to do anything. I think that way of thinking has pretty much been debunked. Even if the Constitution doesn’t say much about what the Vice President is to do, the position and the choice of person to serve in it is HUGE. I would even go so far as to give the Vice President more constitutional power and duties. Government has gotten way too complex for one guy to be in charge. Split up some of the burden.

So who makes a good running mate – VP ? I think the criteria fall into 2 categories, the rational and the irrational. Let’s start with the irrational because they more likely will determine the choice and election outcome (and I am not basing this on empirical/historical data, merely gut feeling). The VP should complete the President in looks and appearance. You want those two to look good together, you want them to look like a good fit because they have to (or should) work together better than any other duo in the world. Does that mean that Vice President and President should complement each other, i.e. one be what the other is not, in order to cover all bases ? With the exception of geographic origin (what state he’s from), I don’t think so. If the President is young, don’t choose an old VP just for balance. A young President should be reinforced with another young one. In my humble opinion, that adds more to the appearance. Think of the worst choice of Vice President – Dan Quayle. He was picked because he was young, and certainly didn’t make Bush Sr look any better. — And never forget about what the names sounds like together. “Clinton – Obama” sounds way better than “Obama – Clinton” !!! “Obama – Bayh” sounds terrible ! “Obama – Biden” much better, although not as good as “Biden – Obama”.

I really think that to win an election Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate need to look good when they are on stage together, you want them to stand united, two as one. Kerry and Edwards didn’t look very convincing, nor did Gore and Liebermann. Edwards looked like the goofy side kick to a senior statesman. Liebermann looked like silly uncle Joe next to Gore. I think winning the election is all about appearance and luck. It has very little to do with what you think, say, or believe. You don’t become a cheerleader just because you can jump the highest but because you’re cute, and you don’t become class president because you’re the smartest, but because people like how you look and want to be represented by someone good looking.

But – apart from appearance – what would really deliver the most effective package deal for the country ? When it comes down to it, a winning ticket should be one where the roles could be switched, VP could be P, and P could be VP. Heck, in the worst case scenario, that’s really the one thing that matters, that the VP can fill the P’s shoes. You don’t want the kind of situation where the Veep is the dummy side kick or that where the President has to rely on the Veep for judgment. I want two of the same caliber, two who can think for themselves, who can question each other’s judgement and opinions, who talk liek grown men who are not afraid of each other…

Oh, my God, what I really want is the Roman Republic, where the wasn’t one but there was two of each. I want checks and balances at the very top of the food chain, not just between branches of government of between political parties, I want C&B within in the White House !!!

So, here goes, my gues (and choice?): “Obama – Biden, 2008”. How many of my rules does that violate ? 😉


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