When will they stop asking Republicans like me about our party’s choice for vice president?
In every presidential election I’ve been involved in, the press and ordinary people are always asking, “Who will it be? Who will the presidential nominee choose for VP?”
It happened again Tuesday when I appeared on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” with Morgan and Andrew Breitbart, the commentator and boss of the news aggregator Breitbart.com.
News flash to all commentators, news reporters and worried citizens: We haven’t chosen the Republican Party nominee yet and he is the person who’ll pick his running mate.
All the agony and strategizing over the VP choice is a waste of time. The truth is, no one ever votes for the vice president. If you do, you must be planning on something happening to the president.
I know, I know, you think if Marco Rubio is the VP choice it will guarantee Florida will go Republican and might even swing a majority of Latino and Hispanic votes to the GOP.
But the truth is, up until Dick Cheney came along and became an active player in the Bush II administration, VPs were as invisible as they were powerless. They usually spent their time hanging around the Senate office building smoking cigars and waiting to break a tie vote.
Nowadays, the VP’s major duty is going to the state funerals of world leaders who happen to pass away or, in Joe Biden’s case, making a fool of yourself and giving pundits and talk radio hosts a fresh load of fodder.
Back in 1976, everyone wanted Gerald Ford to choose my father for the VP slot. Ford never asked my father. If he had, I don’t know how my father would have responded.
But even if my father had accepted, a Ford/Reagan team still would have lost to Jimmy Carter. Why? Because it was Ford who had to debate Carter, not Reagan, and Ford still would not have known where Poland was.
If my father had been the ’76 VP choice, he would have given a different speech at the convention in Kansas City that August and he most likely never would have had a chance to run for president again.
Why? Because we don’t nominate someone for president who just lost in the last go-around. Ask Sarah Palin.
So be careful whom you wish for as VP. You might end up ruining the political career of your favorite future presidential candidate. And don’t you think we need to find a nominee first before we start choosing the VP?
When our nominee does choose a running mate, he should remember this advice from Hollywood: Don’t choose someone who outshines you.
Sarah Palin was, by far, a bigger draw than John McCain. But you just can’t have that destructive dynamic when you are trying to win the presidency. It’s a no-no in politics. In Hollywood, they call it “upstaging.”
Marco Rubio is a rising Republican superstar. He’ll get his own shot at the White House. He doesn’t need to risk his political future by possibly being on a losing ticket this year. And he doesn’t need to waste four years of his life as VP if Obama is dethroned.
And anyway, where do you think Marco Rubio would do the most good during the next four years? Attending funerals for the ex-presidents of Paraguay or Ukraine, or helping a Republican Senate vote down Obamacare?
I choose voting down Obamacare.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com, or e-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.