A Presidential (and Vice-Presidential)History Lesson

Becoming President of the U.S.A. should be a difficult task.  Only a select few are worthy of the office by dint of their accomplishments, instincts and intellect and also have sufficient belly-fire to make it happen.  Some are worthy but lack adequate belly-fire (Paul Tsongas and John McCain come to mind) and some unworthy have sufficient belly-fire (Pat Buchanan and George Wallace) but could hardly be less worthy.  There are exceptions where belly-fire can overcome the defects in worthiness (e.g. Trumph – the Insult Comic President’s stomach is perpetually aflame it would seem while being perhaps the most vile and disgusting human yet to occupy the office).   And extreme worthiness can make up for an absence of an inferno in the gut (oddly Grant who never lacked belly-fire on the battlefield fits this mold because of his impressive but rather ordinary worthiness and his general indifference to politics).

And then there are the accidents.  Nine of our forty-five have become President through death or assassination or disgrace –  Tyler, Fillmore, A. Johnson, Arthur, T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman,  L.B. Johnson and Ford.  Another handful have played on family connections – J.Q. Adams, B. Harrison and Bush the Younger.  But the easiest path to the Presidency is clearly through the Vice-Presidency.  As it stands, you have a 20% chance of becoming President if you can make it to No. 2.  Which brings us to the point.

As in most human matters, there are no hard and fast rules and it will be interesting to see who emerges to challenge Trump. Given the expansive field it will likely be someone worthy and more than sufficiently fired up for combat.  But of critical importance (to the nation but probably not the outcome) will be the choice of a running mate.  The choices run towards an incompetent ideologue who might fire up the base (Pence is the exemplar here) or a possibly exciting but unpredictable newcomer (the stench emanating from McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin has yet to clear the room) or a ticket balancer (something that almost never works – ask dead Lloyd Benson) or a steadfast old hand (such as Hubert Humphrey).  Even so, the choices are frequently bizarre.  For example, how did a steady hand like Eisenhower land on a young Congressman from California like Nixon?

At this moment in time, if she doesn’t manage to win the nomination, Red thinks the odds-on favorite has to be Kamala Harris.  She is steady, smart and ready for prime-time.

1 thought on “A Presidential (and Vice-Presidential)History Lesson

  1. Harry Hamid

    The thing is, the candidate who appears clearly more qualified almost never wins, and we haven’t elected anyone because it was “their turn” in a long time (Dole, Gore, McCain, and Clinton will attest to that, among others).

    It seems like Rove was right back in 2000: You don’t need to expand the base, you just need to get the base motivated enough to get up and vote.

    Harris might be able to become a brand and get people excited. I hope so. Booker’s better than he looked at first. Because whoever it is, they’re going to have to get people excited and make it (in part, at least) all about them…



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