a modest proposal

· 2004 Election

“Recalling Anguish in 2000, Kerry Is Mum on His No. 2” reads the NYTimes piece (Sat. June 19) by David M. Halbfinger. “I don’t think John went through life fantasizing about being on the ticket as vice president,” an associate comments.
Why not? Because being vice president, according to one former incumbent of the job, “Isn’t worth a bucket of spit.” The job description? Breaking tie votes in the Senate. And whatever else the president decides you can do. So, breaking tie votes in the Senate and being the president’s gofer. Unless you’re G.W. Bush and you decide you’ll be the vice president’s gofer. So you probably can see where I’m going with this…
Used to be, vice presidents were the election runners up; that would have made G.W. Bush Al Gore’s vice president in 2000. Oops. Either way, it’s an amusing idea but I don’t think the deep-pocket campaign funders would go for it. The point is, vice presidents used to get elected and now they don’t.
I propose we the people once again elect the vice president of the United States. And since nobody really wants the office why not skip the whole “running mate” thing and let each presidential candidate propose one name. But the people decide who will get the job.
All this hoopla about choosing a vice presidential candidate would be history. And presidential hopefuls might even confer with each other about their choices. That would be fun. Actually, they probably wouldn’t bother.
Besides checking tickers (original, artificial and device-assisted) and citizenship (do we still want just pure-bred American?) the vetting process wouldn’t be so important. How many ties in the Senate is one vice president gonna have to break?