Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Another Reason Not to Not Pick a VP

OK, today the skinny is supposedly "Gephardt or Vilsack".

First, let me calm down from the excitement.

Second -- as a followup to the previous posting -- here's another thing we hear that makes no sense to me: that so-and-so would be a good choice because he "has no ambition to be President". Now, if Dick Gephardt, who's been running for President since Reagan was in office, is on the short list, that theory's probably out the window anyway. But let's proceed. First off, for God's sake, what are you afraid of -- that your VP is going to develop his own power base and turn against you? If you, as President of the United States, are going to be worried about that, your VP's not the problem -- you are. On a day-to-day basis, the VP is as powerful as you let him be. Cheney's power in the current administration is because of GWB, not despite him. It true that, as the end of the second term approaches, your strong VP is going to need to distinguish himself from you. Maybe, though, June 2004 is not the time to worry about infighting in the years 2011 and 2012. (And, again, if he's challenging you from within at the end of your first term -- he ain't your problem.)

Anyway, nothing gives someone the idea of being President like being Vice President, or even a candidiate for same. See Lieberman, Quayle, Mondale, Dole, and Muskie, all of whom were granted legitimacy as Presidential candidates by their previous runs -- winning or losing -- for the VP-ship. No matter who you pick, you're gonna have a VP with big ideas.

Finally, note that the last two two-termers, Clinton and Reagan, picked VPs -- Gore and Bush I -- who had run for the top spot in the past, and unsurprisingly turned their new positions into Presidential nominations. So they did fine with it.

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