For Once the Vice Presidency Matters

 

kaine-pence-debateBack in late January, 2015, I did a post entitled The Party of the Living Dead. In it, I drew attention to what Barack Obama did to the Democratic Party — which is that he deprived it of a bench and left it in the grips of septuagenarians such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, and the like. Even that young whippersnapper Elizabeth Warren — with whom I served back in the last millennium on the debate team for Northwest Class High School in Oklahoma City — was slated to be 66 or 67 by now, and Hillary Clinton was slated to be 69 — older than Ronald Reagan was on the eve of his first election. I did not have the wit to mention Bernie Sanders, then and now another septuagenarian; and I took it for granted that the Republicans would nominate someone in his or her forties or fifties. It never crossed my mind that they would nominate someone older than Hillary. But here we are.

I mention this because I believe that Tim Kaine or Mike Pence will be President before long. There is, as Aristotle said with regard to the Spartan gerousia, an old age of the mind as well as one of the body — and Hillary is evidencing both. She is not only ill — probably with Parkinson’s disease — and lacking energy. She is, as Huma Abedin noted some time ago in an email to someone recently hired at the State Department, “often confused.” She may win on Tuesday. My guess — for what it is worth — is that she will. But she will not be with us long. Hell, she is not always with us now.

For all of his defects, Donald Trump does not seem to be lacking in energy — perhaps because he is not, like his opponent, given to imbibing. But let’s face it: he, too, is old, and the campaign must be a terrific strain. Moreover, his incoherence — the fact that he seems to have attitudes and resentments but not well-worked ideas — fits rather well with Aristotle’s observation. It is, of course, conceivable that the man was never able to think through issues. He certainly seems to be stuck in adolescence, and he clearly has a problem with impulse control. But these things get worse as one ages. The ablest people remember their conclusions but forget the line of reasoning that got them there. Trust me: I know.

In any case, given the strains associated with the office, it is unlikely that The Donald will make it through a full term, and the presumption, expressed in some quarters, that, if elected, he will be running for re-election in four years is absurd.

Which brings me to my point. In 2012, no one gave much thought to the Vice Presidency. Did a single American in that year vote for Barack Obama out of admiration for Joe Biden? And, to ask a less absurd question, did anyone vote for Mitt Romney out of admiration for Paul Ryan?

Not even I fell into that category. I was delighted with Romney’s choice, but I would have voted for him anyway. I would even have voted for him had he put the loathsome Chris Christie on the ticket.

This year, however, is different. When you enter the polls on Tuesday, you may really be choosing between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. For once, you might want to give some thought to the vice presidential options.

There are 24 comments.

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  1. CuriousJohn Thatcher
    CuriousJohn
    @CuriousJohn

    Can I cast my vote along with my encouragement for the House to impeach ASAP. Who ever wins?

    • #1
  2. Publius Inactive
    Publius
    @Publius

    Ugh. This is so 2016.  Just when you think it can’t get more horrifying, someone points out that it certainly could.

    Dr @paulrahe is there any relatively recent precedent for the situation that we had this year where neither candidate released medical records, but rather just notes from their respective doctors that everything was just fine? If this was an abnormal year in that regard, it’s further support for your line of reasoning on this.

    • #2
  3. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    And the Party of Death puts up another pathetic catholic to run for VP. They have no shame.

    • #3
  4. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Mike Pence reflects the values of conservatives – Tim Kaine does not. He is a Catholic in name only, because he violates the most basic principles of his faith. He is a progressive – that’s why Hillary chose him. Trump chose Pence because he reflects what Trump reflects – a conservative agenda. It is not black and white – but we can be certain that HRC and Kaine will continue Obama’s disaster – and I believe either candidate will live out their terms and they are well enough to do so – so vote accordingly.

    • #4
  5. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Publius:Ugh. This is so 2016. Just when you think it can’t get more horrifying, someone points out that it certainly could.

    Dr @paulrahe is there any relatively recent precedent for the situation that we had this year where neither candidate released medical records, but rather just notes from their respective doctors that everything was just fine? If this was an abnormal year in that regard, it’s further support for your line of reasoning on this.

    I know of no such precedent in recent times.

    • #5
  6. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Pence does impress. I disagree with Front Seat Cat that he was chosen because he shares convictions with Trump, but he does provide about the only solace to Trump’s candidacy. Kaine strikes me as being a pair of clown shoes. The choice between the two of them is easy, unlike with their running mates. Pence is the closest thing I can get to for voting affirmatively for Trump.

    • #6
  7. Carol Member
    Carol
    @

    Paul A. Rahe:

    Publius:Ugh. This is so 2016. Just when you think it can’t get more horrifying, someone points out that it certainly could.

    Dr @paulrahe is there any relatively recent precedent for the situation that we had this year where neither candidate released medical records, but rather just notes from their respective doctors that everything was just fine? If this was an abnormal year in that regard, it’s further support for your line of reasoning on this.

    I know of no such precedent in recent times.

    Obama didn’t release his records. Did Mitt? I don’t recall.

    • #7
  8. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I like Pence more than Trump and Kaine more than Hillary.

    • #8
  9. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    An interesting consideration.

    • #9
  10. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Why was Kaine in Central America at the time the region was besieged by marxists–brutal thugs,  human rights affiliated alleged church groups and soft spoken religious orders.  Fortunately the murderous kind vanished after the Soviet Union collapsed.   Even the Sandinistas calmed after they lost the election, not doing much more than murdering all, repeat all, the former Contras who confidently returned to Nicaragua because Violeta had won the election.  Kaine?  I’d really like to know what he was doing there and with whom.  Probably just one of the naive types.  It’s hard to know.  The most radical marxists started taking on a soft spoken peace be with you gentleness after the Cubans lost their Soviet support,  and the Cubans switched to an electoral strategy often in league with gentle souls like religious who embraced liberation theology.  Just wondering.

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    New hashtag: #VoteAsIfPenceIsAtTheTopOfTheTicket

     

    • #11
  12. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    Paul A. Rahe: neither candidate released medical records, but rather just notes from their respective doctors that everything was just fine?

    I don;t know what you consider “recent” but health issues have routinely been ignored and the issue of health records dates, I think, only to Reagan. Johnson had major heart issues that killed him soon after leaving the presidency. Roosevelt, of course, was dying of incurable hypertension when elected in 1944. Grover Cleveland had surgery for cancer of the mouth in 1893, early in his second term. It was kept a secret and the Wikipedia bio does not mention it. Wilson outdid the rest in secrecy and deception as he had a severe stroke in office and his wife ran the presidency for several years.

    We all know now about Kennedy’s misrepresentation of his health, as well.

    • #12
  13. Keith Keystone Inactive
    Keith Keystone
    @KeithKeystone

    The Clintons will never die. They are like lizards who just change colors or grow a new tail.

    They have been in my life since I was a teenager. I am now in my 40s. I have accepted the fact that they will never fully be gone.

    If she ever does die, her face will be on a coin. We will be looking at these people for the rest of our lives.

    • #13
  14. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Front Seat Cat:Mike Pence reflects the values of conservatives – Tim Kaine does not. He is a Catholic in name only, because he violates the most basic principles of his faith. He is a progressive – that’s why Hillary chose him. Trump chose Pence because he reflects what Trump reflects – a conservative agenda. It is not black and white – but we can be certain that HRC and Kaine will continue Obama’s disaster – and I believe either candidate will live out their terms and they are well enough to do so – so vote accordingly.

    It is ironic that Democrats run on and support policies that no Christian can support, yet pretend to be Christians. Just more of the liars that fill out that Party. What’s even more surprising is they get away with it.

    • #14
  15. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Conservatives lose on Tuesday, that much is baked in the crap cake.

    Trump is the far smaller loss, though still grievous compared with the opportunity this year presented.  We lose irretrievably perhaps with Clinton and a Democratic senate.

    Whether we are fighting within a Trump administration or against a Clinton administration we have to guard against the tyranny of our own cliches.

    The Democrats’ “weak bench” is simply not true in federal politics.  Presidential politics is not football or baseball, where deep benches are key.  POTUS politics is more like Davis Cup tennis or figure skating.

    When I take off my red-colored glasses the Democratic bench isn’t unimpressive:  Gillibrand, Hickenlooper, Booker, Warner, Klobuchar, Brown and even Andrew Cuomo (2016 has shown that thuggery is not entirely unappealing).

    And the Democratic “bench” was not poleaxed by Donald Trump like our entire bench was.

     

    • #15
  16. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Mike beat me to it. If JFK could remain president while mentally numbed half the time on pain meds, why expect Clinton to be replaced if she becomes physically incapable of performing regular duties? Republicans don’t have the gumption to force any such change, if they wanted to.

    You’re stuck with Clinton or Trump.

    • #16
  17. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    I have consistently advocated elect, then impeach.  Not only is Trump more impeachable, but he is running with a better replacement.

    Now this post suggests another reason to vote for the candidate with the better running mate.  I endorse it wholeheartedly.

    • #17
  18. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    And the McMullin “he’s not them” voters should at least wonder who the heck is Mindy Finn.

    • #18
  19. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    Front Seat Cat: Tim Kaine does not. He is a Catholic in name only, because he violates the most basic principles of his faith. He is a progressive – that’s why Hillary chose him.

    And he is way more anti-Israel than even Hillary.

    • #19
  20. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    Carol: Obama didn’t release his records. Did Mitt? I don’t recall.

    It would have been racist to demand Obama’s medical records just as it was racist to want to see his college records.

    • #20
  21. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Mike-K:

    Paul A. Rahe: neither candidate released medical records, but rather just notes from their respective doctors that everything was just fine?

    I don;t know what you consider “recent” but health issues have routinely been ignored and the issue of health records dates, I think, only to Reagan. Johnson had major heart issues that killed him soon after leaving the presidency. Roosevelt, of course, was dying of incurable hypertension when elected in 1944. Grover Cleveland had surgery for cancer of the mouth in 1893, early in his second term. It was kept a secret and the Wikipedia bio does not mention it. Wilson outdid the rest in secrecy and deception as he had a severe stroke in office and his wife ran the presidency for several years.

    We all know now about Kennedy’s misrepresentation of his health, as well.

    Grover Cleveland and FDR are not recent. I do not regard JFK as recent either.

    • #21
  22. St. Salieri / Eric Cook Member
    St. Salieri / Eric Cook
    @

    Paul A. Rahe:

    I do not regard JFK as recent either.

    This from a man who writes about Sparta!

    I kid, I kid…

    • #22
  23. The Whether Man Inactive
    The Whether Man
    @TheWhetherMan

    Paul A. Rahe:

    Mike-K:

    Paul A. Rahe: neither candidate released medical records, but rather just notes from their respective doctors that everything was just fine?

    I don;t know what you consider “recent” but health issues have routinely been ignored and the issue of health records dates, I think, only to Reagan. Johnson had major heart issues that killed him soon after leaving the presidency. Roosevelt, of course, was dying of incurable hypertension when elected in 1944. Grover Cleveland had surgery for cancer of the mouth in 1893, early in his second term. It was kept a secret and the Wikipedia bio does not mention it. Wilson outdid the rest in secrecy and deception as he had a severe stroke in office and his wife ran the presidency for several years.

    We all know now about Kennedy’s misrepresentation of his health, as well.

    Grover Cleveland and FDR are not recent. I do not regard JFK as recent either.

    In 2004 neither Bush nor Kerry released full medical records during the campaign (Kerry released his afterward). Romney and Obama released a “summary.”  It’s been much more common for a statement from a doctor than full records – the one recent exception being John McCain, because of his age.  But it’s not consistently done, not legally required, and has been down to the preference of the candidate.

    • #23
  24. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    There are many Christians that approve of abortion and gay marriage, etc. I’m not one of them, but have relatives that go to church regularly and support both these issues.  Such is the state of the church in America today. More churches are adapting to culture rather than influencing it. Kaine is having his cake and eating it too, as Pelosi, Kennedy, etc. have before him.  I also have secular family members that are very pro life.  As a Lutheran, (LCMS), we generally like the idea that we stay out of politics, and politicians stay out of our lives. It is becoming much more difficult. Pastor Matt Harrison, testifying before congress about the church being forced to provide abortion or even BC, angrily stated that for the first time, the church will consider opening an office in Washington, D.C. There is probably not a mainline religion that has been as apolitical as the Lutheran Church MS, and it may be forced to care about politics because of the liberal fellow travelers like Kaine.  Pence collapsed defending Indiana’s religious freedom bill.

    • #24

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