Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The 7 Worst Vice Presidential Picks

batboyvp.banner.wwn.jpgSpeculation regarding who Mitt Romney will choose as his running mate is reaching a crescendo, though he probably won't announce a pick until after the Olympics are over. Conventional wisdom has Portman from Ohio, or Pawlenty from Minnesota as possible VP picks for Romney. Some others point to Paul Ryan or even General Petraeus. More forward thinkers point to Bat Boy as Romney's clear choice. Here is a guide to some stinkers that some of Mitt's predecessors have made when selecting their running mates. To keep it simple, I have confined the picks to choices who had problems that were widely known by the time Election Day came around.

7.  Bob Dole-  

 Was chosen by Gerald Ford as running mate after first choice Rockefeller dropped out of consideration. In the VP debates against Mondale, he accused Democrats of starting WWII, a remark that did not go over well.

6.  Dan Quayle-

Nominated by George HW Bush, even before the infamous “potatoe” incident, Quayle was considered a lightweight, with no gravitas. There were also questions regarding his military service. On top of those concerns, he also was the subject of one of the most memorable quips in political debate history, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy", always a bad place to be.

5. Geraldine Ferraro-

  Mondale had picked her as a game changer, the first woman VP pick by a major party in the history of the US. Unfortunately questions about her husband’s tax returns (sound familiar?) dogged her throughout her campaign, and her answers about it were less than satisfying. Women did not flock to the campaign the way Mondale had hoped that they would, and her ticket was defeated in a landslide.

worst vice presidents Henry Wallace served as the 33rd vice-president of the United States from 1941 to 19454.  Henry Wallace- 

Eventually dropped off the presidential ticket by FDR in favor of Truman, Wallace declared his greatest aspiration was to “make the world safe for corn breeders." His dabbling in Zoroastrianism, with loving letters addressed to "Dear Guru" probably did not help.

“Who am I? Why am I here?” Picked by Ross Perot to be his running mate for an independent ticket, Stockdale seemed just as befuddled about Perot’s pick of him as a running mate as the rest of us. His performances during debates seemed equally as sluggish and lost. He was portrayed as elderly and confused, adding to the perception that Perot was a loose cannon who did not know what he was doing.

2. Sarah Palin-

Ah...Palin. She was a bold choice no doubt. John McCain made a huge gamble after he was talked out of his preferred running mate choices, Lieberman and Pawlenty. Palin was new, and in the very beginning, she seemed fresh and daring. She was brought in to shore up McCain’s bona fides for the Tea Party component of the Republican Party, and improve his standing with women. Unfortunately, Palin turned out to be an intellectual lightweight, whose version of a “gotcha!”question was asking her what newspapers she had read lately, or what Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with. By the time she was immortalized by the great Tina Fey as a complete moron, public opinion of her had completely set, and not in her favor.

1. Thomas Eagleton- 

Is the general consensus for worst vice-presidential pick ever. While George McGovern did not know about it when he chose Eagleton, when your running mate turns out to have had electroshock therapy, and be on anti-psychotic medication, he is probably going to drag down your ticket just a little bit, even if most people aren’t swayed by vice presidential picks. If nothing else, it calls your own judgment into question.

So there you have it, my picks for the worst running mate decisions ever. Who would be a good pick for Romney, and who do you think would be a disaster?


  1. Awesome post. I disagree with one of them :-)

  2. Ms. Ferraro made the comments that touched off the latest exchange of Democratic brickbats after she gave a paid speech last week to the Torrance Cultural Center in Torrance, Calif. The Daily Breeze, a newspaper in Torrance, reported that she said: “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

    I haven't been a particular fan of Ferraro since she made the same remarks about Jackson in 1988. But I think anyone who is on the ticket of one of the most lopsided defeats in American presidential history deserves at least a brief mention. :)

  3. I do get why she's on the list. I do get that she said something that probably wasn't true on Obama. I give her leeway on that, however, because I think what she was really trying to say is that if Hillary were a man she would have been in a different position. But then, Hillary did a lot of mismanaging of her campaign. She was pretty ambivalent, where Obama was strategic and driven. Yes, I'm still thinking about Game Change.

    On Ferraro as VP choice: I think she did a remarkable job considering that when she was named, Hillary hadn't happened and Reno hadn't happened and Albright hadn't happened and it was still mainstream to talk about could a woman actually be the one making decisions on war and peace, would she get us into a war every month during PMS, etc, etc. As far as why they lost, Reagan was a gifted, popular politician, the country wasn't falling off a cliff, the Cold War made tough-talk essential, and that was pretty much the beginning of America choosing folksy, tough-talking presidential candidates over cerebral ones. I don't think the loss had all that much to do with Ferraro. She did well in her debate against HW Bush.

  4. PS Poor Eagleton. Numbers 1 & 2 are the best argument for very thorough vetting.