It’s a hot take, except it’s cold and doesn’t take

Why is David Gergen still alive? This might seem like a rather harsh question — and certainly no one here wishes him dead — but what is accomplished by paying (?) this man for such penetrating glances into the obvious and useless entries into “expert” punditry such as this gem from CNN today: [2023-05-01]

Biden’s VP selection should hinge on this one question

I have found it useful to pay less attention to stories that have numbers in their headlines, a format that is most cherished by clickbaiters and Chris Cillizza, i.e. people who never have anything of value to contribute. (To wit: Chris Wallace’s Trump interview: The 55 most shocking lines). Yet sometimes there’s an urge — and this story promised there would only be one question, so why not. So what should it be?

But the Biden campaign should be paying the most attention to this question: If history calls, will his vice president have the capacity and talent to become a first-class president? The whole reason why the framers created the vice presidency was to have a person of high-quality waiting in the wings.

Oh, a first-class president which one gets by having a high-quality person waiting in the wings. Sure. You might be asking yourself why the framers didn’t come up with a way to make sure the country gets a high-quality person as president, but that would be juvenile. The important thing is this: the framers created the position, so it’s good.

Since closing days of World War II, we have had 15 vice presidents. No less than five of them have risen to the top after serving as vice presidents — Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. So, if history is any indication, there is a one-in-three chance that if Biden wins in November, his vice president could one day be president.

Yeah… but, no. First: history isn’t math, so who gives a shit. Second — two of those five served as presidents after having been elected, so whether Biden’s VP pick provides a first-class, high-quality candidate for later seems like a very unimportant consideration. Besides, the review of the 5 VPs to become Ps is what one would expect from a hot take maker: Johnson and Truman: Awesome. Nixon: Evil. Ford good because character and integrity, like when he pardoned Nixon. Bush good because of German reunification and dealing with Gorbachev. (It’s ok to start wars based on bullshit and lies if you win them).

Post-World War II history suggests that if a presidential contender looks for a potential president — a person with the character, experience and moral purpose needed in the Oval Office — the contender himself will not only be a better leader but he may one day leave the country a better legacy.

History suggests that David Gergen will be offering plenty more hot takes. No thank you.


Comments: 12


Long time no see. Welcome back.


welcome back


Thanks. I guess the system was so surprised it decided to moderate the first 2 comments.


Many thanks. Sorry ’bout the moderation.


Happy to see new postings here! The only good news from 2020 so far.

Enraged Bull Limpet

Whoa. Major deja vu whiplash after an idle and un-hopeful “Say, what if…” web search.


Yikes. Let’s make sure there’s more to celebrate in November.


Anything can happen on the internets…


The fact is


In October, 2016, Steve Schmidt said Clinton would win with over 400 electoral college votes.He’s still a regular on MSNBC.


We now know he picked Kamala Harris, which is fine; there’s no surprises there. (Welcome back btw)

Worth noting that the VP position wasn’t necessarily to succeed the president — that tradition was not established until late in the game (John Tyler when William Henry Harrison died in 1841) and the succession wasn’t encoded into law until Truman, who did without a VP entirely for his first term.

VPs have a mixed record getting elected in their own right *without* a president dying to make them an incumbent. There aren’t that many examples of that, especially in the modern era. (George Bush and Nixon are the only two in the last century).

People who natter on about who gets picked as VP should really learn to look back a little further — Gergen’s take falls apart the minute you bring up the Founders. And Truman was nowhere near a “first class person” when he was chosen — it was largely because Wallace was too lefty for the party leadership’s (and Roosevelt’s) taste.


Let’s make sure there’s more to celebrate in November.

You’ll be posting again that soon?


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