Vice Presidential Ambition

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been intentionally avoiding all the 2008 presidential race news stories. He finds it disgusting that we should be embroiled in a campaign with so long left before a general election. That said, he did chance to read an interesting peice on NRO today by Bruce Bartlett.

In this piece Bartlett makes and interesting point about which your Maximum Leader hadn’t really ever thought. Allow him to quote Bartlett:

Another virtue of having a vice president with ambitions of his own is that he is the only senior White House official in a position to resist the sycophancy that always surrounds the president. This is important because presidents live in a bubble, surrounded by people who owe their power and position solely to him. They are loath to be seen as “out of the loop” or to read news stories about their imminent departure, when they had no such plans. This tends to make the White House staff highly responsive to the president’s wants, biases and whims.

Once into a second term, the vice president cannot be fired and his own ambitions will encourage him to pressure the president into adopting policies and taking positions that will be popular with voters. Since presidents cannot run for a third term, they would otherwise be totally impervious to public opinion. If a vice president hopes to be elected president himself, he has a strong incentive to advise the president to adopt policies that will make it easier for him to win.

For these reasons, I think Dick Cheney’s lack of ambition for the presidency has been more of a handicap to Bush than the blessing he sees it as. It has fostered insularity at the White House and closed off an important avenue of influence to the president that has encouraged him to take a “go it alone” attitude, which is bad both for the country and the Republican party.

Your Maximum Leader, who harbors no ill feelings towards the current Vice President, thinks that Bartlett might be on to something here. By selecting Cheney, Bush got a competent, ideological, subordinate for the number two job in the country. With the tendency of the modern President to involved the Vice President in governance, that seemed like a wise choice. In 2000 your Maximum Leader supported the idea of a “good manager” as Vice President. Cheney would help Bush implement his policies and run the ship of state.

No in retrospect, perhaps having a man with his own political ambitions might have been a better course. To be completely honest, your Maximum Leader thinks that the best role for the Vice President of the United States is one that keeps the VP out of policy making, out of the loop, and pretty much out of Washington DC. But it seems as the good ole days where the Vice Presidency wasn’t worth a bucket of warm piss have passed.

Carry o.

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