Monday, August 13, 2012

Why You Don't Choose The President

It's official: GOP candidate Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan for his VP. Will this turn out to be a good choice? We don't know. There is the impact on the election and, more important, the impact on the potential administration. 

We understand why the election impact: a candidate is trying to capture a voting block that he may otherwise be not as likely to win over on his own. (Note: I'm using "he" throughout, since when the gender of the person is unknown, "he" is grammatically correct usage. Using "he/she", or alternating "he" and "she" makes reading clumsy for the audience.) What I want to address is the impact on the administration. Mainly, why do we let candidates pick their own running mates?

According to Federalist #68: "The Vice-President is to be chosen in the same manner with the President; with this difference, that the Senate is to do, in respect to the former, what is to be done by the House of Representatives, in respect to the latter." The 12th Amendment gives instructions on choosing the President and Vice President. In neither document does it state that the Vice President is chosen by the President - neither as President, nor as a "running mate". 

Shouldn't the Vice President be elected in the same manner as the President, as described by our founding documents? I understand that choosing one's own running mate allows the balance of the ticket, but one of the main responsibilities of the Vice President is to take over in case of the loss of the President. If something happens to the President, wouldn't we want the SAME things in a Vice President? Isn't the point to have a seamless "change of command" in such a loss? Why would we want someone who would take us in a completely different direction? 

Think back on all of the President/Vice President combinations we've had. Would you honestly have voted FOR the Vice President chosen?

Barack Obama / Joe Biden
George W. Bush / Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton / Al Gore
George Bush / Dan Quayle
Ronald Reagan / George Bush
Jimmy Carter / Walter Mondale
Gerald Ford / Nelson Rockefeller
Richard Nixon / Spiro Agnew / Gerald Ford
Lyndon Johnson / Hubert Humphrey
John F. Kennedy / Lyndon Johnson

The above list goes back to just before my birth. Just think about the combinations. Why would anyone willingly choose these combinations? Sure, some of those aren't so bad, but if given the opportunity to choose, would you have done the same? I don't think I would have.

But again, when the game is to get elected, what is best for the country slips in importance.

So remember when going to the polls: Since the Vice President is selected as a running mate, you don't, ultimately, get to choose who is President. If something were to happen to this person if elected President, would you REALLY want their chosen Vice President to take over? Brrrr - is there a chill in the room, or is it just me?

© Emittravel 2012

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