In any other election, the vice presidential candidate who insisted that cigarettes don’t cause cancer–decades after the landmark first Surgeon General’s Report–would be widely considered the crazy one on the ticket, but we’re not in any other election, and the almost hourly hemorrhage of embarrassment from the GOP’s standard bearer makes Governor Mike Pence the model of clear-headed probity for his ticket this year. In other words a vice presidential candidate who might actually matter.
Or he might not. Will Rogers said, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” I don’t imagine that Donald Trump has read any Will Rogers, or that he could tell him from Wayne Rogers, and in the hole he has been in for the last several weeks, Mr. Trump has not been able to stop digging, and it’s becoming increasingly less likely that his bizarrely more-sensible running mate will be able to stop him from boring down to the earth’s inner core to avenge every sleight on his decency.
For more than 200 years, our vice presidential candidates have been uniquely positioned to make a difference, but whether they do or don’t is up to fate as much as it is to their bosses. Mike Pence is in a different kind of unique position, though, in that, next to his running mate, he is considered the grown-up in the room.
Veeps friend and supporter, Douglas Perry, of The Oregonian, was generous enough to offer me his podium to weigh in on our often dubious electoral history of our #2 elective office, and what candidates have made a difference, for good or ill.
“Veeps Who Mattered…Sort of” (Oregonlive.com, 10/16/2016)
For those of you who don’t know him, besides his regular stint Oregon’s paper of record covering national politics and many a foul underbelly of American popular culture, Doug is the author of The Girls of Murder City and Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero. Kirkus Reviews calls his just-released novel, Mammoth, “Bursting with vigor and electrified characters and with an ending the author stamps with a knowing wink.”