The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


August 18, 2012

Our View: Short memories

“Joe who?” might be the response of a less than politically astute American if asked a week or so ago who occupies the No. 2 spot in the Obama administration. That wouldn’t have been a knock on Joe Biden as much as the way people tend to regard the second banana on a presidential ticket in an election year.

And, while Paul Ryan’s nomination as Republican Mitt Romney’s running mate is drawing lots of attention now, history tells us that vice presidents are not likely to be the deciding factor in the minds of voters when they step into a voting booth. That is, unless they have done or said something that can distract from a campaign’s intended message.

That almost happened the other day when Biden made a comment that a Romney victory will “put y’all back in chains.” It created enough of a stir that President Obama stepped in to defend his vice president and quell the controversy.

The truth, even though there has been a call by a former Republican presidential candidate for Biden’s replacement on the Democratic ticket by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is that campaigns are filled with exaggerations, embarrassing misstatements and distortions. They raise concerns at the moment, but generally are forgotten in the fog of campaigning a month later.

Also forgotten in the mists of history are most of the vice presidents. Does anyone recall George Clinton? He was Thomas Jefferson’s vice president after the death of Aaron Burr, and then served in the same capacity for the next president, James Madison. John C. Breckinridge, later a general in the Confederate army, was veep for James Buchanan.

Here are a few of the men who held the nation’s second-highest elective office and are remembered largely by historians and political academics today: Richard M. Johnson, George M. Dallas, Richard King, Hannibal Hamlin, Schuyler Colfax, Levi P. Morton and Garret Hobart. Several early presidents had no vice president.

Nine vice presidents ascended to the presidency upon the death or resignation of a president or later were elected to the Oval Office.

For the most part, most Americans might have trouble naming much more than a handful of the veeps. One of the reasons for that lack of celebrity may have been best (and most colorfully) summed in the assessment of John Nance Garner, vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said the office wasn’t worth a “warm bucket of spit.”

Text Only
  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, following Russia's buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine. Do you think we should deploy these troops?

     View Results
NDN Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest