William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Romney begins Veep search

With the GOP primary contest essentially over, now begins one of Washington’s great mating rituals: the Dance of the Possible Vice Presidents. In which politicians who want the country’s second-highest office of trust must first prove that they can lie about it.

“I’ve made it clear I don’t want” the job, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. said in 2008. “I’m satisfied where I am right now.”

“I have absolutely no desire to go back to government,” Richard B. Cheney, then an oil field company executive, said in 2000.

Both men later accepted the vice presidential nod they had said they didn’t want. In Cheney’s case, he led the search effort that eventually led to ... him.

This is expected. The first unwritten rule of the “veepstakes” is that the American vice presidency is like a bronze medal or a day-old doughnut.

Sure, you might enjoy having it. But it is deeply unseemly to want it.

The dance is expected to begin in earnest now that Mitt Romney is the de facto Republican nominee. On Monday, Romney said he had named Beth Myers, his longtime senior adviser, to lead his vice presidential search committee, even though he claimed it is “way too early to begin narrowing down who the potential vice presidential nominees might be.”

For any nominee, the selection of a running mate is a vitally important political calculation: It could help swing a key state or voting demographic or reassure voters that a capable second is ready to take over if something happens.

And in most cases, it is the first big executive decision made under the kind of public scrutiny that presidents face every day. For that reason, it is crucial not to crowd the decider — or to seem like you’re stealing his airtime.
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