Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Cheney's End of Days and The WORST VP's?
Hey Vice-Precedence Blog Readers! Well, as I posted in my last blog on Monday, there has been a storm of interest over the last week with former VP Dick Cheney what with the renewing of his Secret Service protection for the next 6 months, the revealing of his wanting to send troops into Lackwanna, NY to arrest terrorist subjects, and he and his daughter Liz’s constant criticism of the Obama Administration.
Most of the speculation has been about his and President Bush’s final days in office and their disagreements. It made the cover of TIME Magazine this week with the title-THE FINAL DAYS OF BUSH AND CHENEY. The article called “Legacy Fight: Inside Bush and Cheney’s Final Days” by Massimo Calabresi and Michael Weisskopf is an excellent read full of new information that had not been revealed until now. The article heavily focuses on how Cheney wanted Bush to pardon his former Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby after his conviction in the Valerie Plame scandal and how Bush ultimately decided not to and the wedge this drove between them. You can read more about it in my previous blog.
In my research, I found that TIME had made a list of who they considered “America’s Worst Vice-Presidents”. Here is their list, which they put in chronological order-they didn’t even bother ranking them in Worst to Least Worst order which shows how little they probably cared about this list.
3.John C. Calhoun
4.Richard M. Johnson
5.William Rufus King
8.Thomas A. Hendricks
12.Richard M. Nixon
15.Richard B. Cheney
I would have to say I disagree with this list quite a bit. Two on the list (Gerry and King) are simply on their because they died very early in their terms. Because you have the misfortune to die it makes you a bad vice-president? Perhaps they should be put in a seperate "No Judgement" category. I've always thought that should be true for William Henry Harrison on the list of "Worst Presidents" too, he's usually included on that list, even though he was sick for his entire term and died 31 days into it. How do you judge a month in office? Or in Kings case, six weeks?
I do agree with the choices of Spiro “The Zero” Agnew who famously said: “If you’ve seen one slum, you’ve seen them all.”, and was forced to resign in disgrace, along with the choice of the virulently racist Democrat Thomas A. Hendricks (whose picture and signature graces this edition of the Blog) who voted against the amendments to free the slaves and give them voting rights, along with a couple of others.
I would disagree greatly with the selection of Thomas Marshall, who served two terms with Woodrow Wilson. They seem to think that Marshall was a negative complainer and hated the office. Most historians (and I) think that Marshall was an intelligent and extremely competent man who truly had a good sense of humor about being the Vice-President with a President who didn’t think much of him. He was always ready with a joke and smile, and famously said: “What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar.” After he retired he was quoted as saying “I don’t want to work, but I wouldn’t mind being Vice-President again.”
I know someone who would disagree with their selection of Henry Wallace: Gore Vidal. In our interview for the documentary, when I asked him who he thought was our best Veep he named Wallace. Just because a man gets the Progressive/Socialist nomination for President, was an admirer of Stalin and fooled into thinking a Soviet slave labor camp was a paradise, and spends his life devoted to raising new strands of corn, strawberries, and chickens doesn’t make you a terrible VP, (hmm, maybe I need to rethink it) although Democratic National Committee chairman Robert Hannegan despised Wallace so much he did everything he could to remove him from the ticket in 1944 and replace him with Truman. Later he said:
“When I die, I would like to have one thing on my headstone: that I was the man who kept Henry Wallace from becoming President of the United States.”
Also, it’s pretty obvious that Burr is on the list simply for the fact that he killed Alexander Hamilton in their famous duel while VP, something that this blog and our film and book will shed some light on. Just because Hamilton is on the ten-dollar bill doesn’t mean he was a better man than Burr, in some ways he was, in others he wasn’t. Hamilton did plenty to get himself in that situation and had plenty of vices as well, as we will reveal. While Burr was Vice-President he was called "one of the best presiding officers the Senate has ever seen."
One of our goals with “Vice-Precedence: Being Number Two in the White House” is to shed more light on all our vice-presidents, to educate people about our VP’s, and separate legend from fact-all while entertaining you. Lists like this are fun to argue about, and while I disagree with some of TIME’s choices and some of their opinions on "Why" a VP made their list, I applaud them just making a list in the first place. What do you think? Who makes your list of Best and Worst VP’s? let us know. Stay tuned for the latest on all our VP’s and thanks for reading.