Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cheney's Bucket of Warm Spit

When I was a kid, John Nance Garner, FDR’s first Vice President, was famously quoted as saying the job “wasn’t worth a bucket of warm spit.” Reporters later revealed he had actually said “piss.”

A former Speaker of the House, Garner had run against Roosevelt for the Presidential nomination in 1932 and, when FDR decided to go for a third term, his own Vice President ran against him and lost.

During that era, Will Rogers said, “The Vice President has the easiest job in the world. All he has to do is get up every morning and ask, ‘How’s the President?’”

Things have changed. Today’s Washington Post begins a five-part series on Dick Cheney, describing him as “the most influential and powerful man ever to hold the office of vice president,” which history may judge as an understatement in the light of ongoing revelations about his secrecy, control and lawlessness.

Somewhere between the stereotype of a Maytag repair man with nothing to do and the picture of Cheney as Darth Vader, there is a reasonable role for the President’s backup as a junior partner in running the executive branch. Working under Bill Clinton, Al Gore came close.

Cheney’s history will complicate the choice of running mate by the ’08 nominees. Voters will be very much aware that they may be picking more than a spare part.

1 comment:

OutOfContext said...

I am fascinated by FDR's next VP, Henry Wallace, who seems a decidedly singular fellow.
I'm not sure how much of a precedent these guys have set in terms of future VP's, unless it's to yearn for a warm bucket of spit again.