Worst vice presidential picks, redux.

This is a pretty good reinvention of the old “Worst Presidential Picks” list — looking beyond capturing what the selections mean in their purely electoral terms and picturing the vice presidents in the role as Emergency President.  Which asks one to leave aside your Dan Quayle huntings — not necessarily a good president, just not the disaster you would imagine, and leave aside your Eagleton — even if he completely sunk McGovern, he would not have been a bad president.  And so we get Eisenhower’s selection of Richard Nixon — and the thought of a President Nixon at the juncture of the decade of McCarthy.  This is a compelling argument, but I would have to think about it.  And we get the prospect of a President Henry Wallace — which I gather might just have resulted in a Military Coup.

But, if we’ve gotten to those perimeters — if we’re considering 1940, I feel free to throw in Adlai Stevenson’s slection of Sparkman — if only because I once witnessed Pat Buchanan argure about the racial politics of the present day by going back to 1952.  Then again, we could also go back to the gamut of near corpses selected here and there throughout history — didn’t Alton Parker select some guy just out of the theory that he’d fill the party coffers?

It is there that the comments section pulls the rug under this contraption.  Throw out the name Aaron Burr.  Throw out the name Andrew Johnson.  In Johnson’s defense, there was no way out in that political environment — anyone at that juncture is doomed to failure.

Other possibilities, from that vantage point: John Tyler.  For the sake of formulating a model of a Whig Presidency to counter-act the dominant Democratic Party, after the first elected Whig Party candidate passes off one month in, a certified Democrat was not at all useful.  See also Millard Fillmore, to a lesser degree.  In a way, we may just well view Joseph Lieberman from the same perspective.

Actually, this kind is a pathetic list.  It leaves out the nineteenth century, and the first third of the twentieth.  After some deliberation, I would say the worst vice presidential selection was the Great Nullifier — John Calhourn.

Leave a Reply