Sometimes, I must admit, politics disgusts me.
We have a presidential campaign on-going for eighteen months, and in the last six months, two candidates in the Democratic Party finally emerge as front runners. That’s when all the other former candidates — about ten — started deciding who they will throw their support to. One would think, with all their savvy, they would know from the upstart who they think the best president would be, if not them. But, such is not the case.
What they do is play the waiting game to see who is actually rising to the top of the delegate board — the likely nominee, then announce an endorsement. That’s like betting on the game when you already know the winner.
No doubt in my mind, Bill Richardson, who James Carville called a “Judas” for turning his back on the Clintons, is pandering for a Vice-Presidential nod. John Edwards, who also waited until the last minute, has already tried the Veep run with John Kerry, but is probably hunting for a cabinet post. If Hillary was in the front runner spot right now, these same two guys would be talking her up as if she was the best candidate to occupy the Oval Office.
It’s political prostitution
I know…such a cynic.
Christopher Dodd, who I admire as a statesman, ran a decent campaign only to find himself running back in the pack. After all, he doesn’t have the oratory skills that a president should have. Having enough of the senate floor for 26 years, a second spot on the ticket would render him a shot at the Oval Office in eight years, so he endorses the person with the highest total of delegates, not for any altruistic reasons other than the hope of getting the Veep nod.
Yes, this is all conjecture, but — not being a gambling man — I’d still bet my pension check on it.
Unfortunately for America, vice-presidential nominees are rarely selected based on their superior skills as a potential commander-in-chief, they are selected for no other reason than to enhance a presidential candidate’s electability. Everyone knew that Senator Dan Quayle was basically a dunce, but G.H.W. Bush thought his youth, good looks and mid-western roots would help win the election. That’s all that mattered. And, if G.H.W. happened to kick the bucket, too bad for the U.S. of A. Why Bush Sr. kept him on the ticket for his second campaign will forever remain a mystery.
I won’t even go into Nixon choosing Spiro Agnew.
JFK had a distant relationship with Lyndon Johnson, but he needed a southerner with lots of vote-getting power to help him with the election. The marriage between them while in office was like something out of Fatal Attraction.
Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro for no other reason, than to try and garner the female vote. Ferraro was a decent lady and a good congresswoman, but there were dozens of other folks among governors and senators more qualified than her.
Then there’s G.W. Bush, and his so-called selection of Dick Cheney…who, incidentally, was in charge of the selection committee. Cheney was selected by Bush after (ahem) a nationwide search and exhaustive review of all the most qualified people. And, if anyone believes that, I still have that oceanfront property for sale in Idaho. The Cheney pick is the only one where — in my humble opinion — the Veep selected was more qualified than the Prez. (I’m talking about skills and intellect here, not political ideology)
John McCain’s pick is still up for grabs, and I suspect he’s waiting to see for certain who will be the Democratic nominee. Again, it’s all about electability. If Obama is the nominee, McCain will pick someone who can help beat him. Same with Hillary. It’s really not about the most qualified being a heart-beat away.
Meanwhile, it’s interesting to watch and see who sucking up for the number two job. My guess, is that Obama will go for the best vote-getter which would be Richardson who could garner a huge voting block among Hispanics. That doesn’t mean that Bill Richardson (or any Veep choice) would have any impact on our country unless, of course, he had to fill those shoes.
Until Cheney, most Vice-Presidents have been nothing more than figureheads.
Meanwhile, if Hillary pulls a last minute upset and goes on to win in November, look out. I wouldn’t want to be walking in the shoes of Richardson, Dodd, Edwards, nor anyone else who turned their backs on the Clintons when the chips were down.
Doesn’t it all make you sick?