Friday, February 26, 2010

VP Story on... CNN?

That's right. Oddly enough, CNN today published an article
by producer/writer Kristi Keck on our fifth Vice President, Elbridge Gerry... without mentioning the fact that he was Vice President even once in the article. (To be fair, there are two side bars that mention it, but the main article itself is wanting of such a mention).

Gerry, as the article mentions, is best known for having inspired the term "gerrymandering" - the complex and overt redistricting practices that became big news with Gerry's pre-VP usage of it. There are a lot of great, interesting tidbits about the former VP's life in the piece.

Which begs the question "why?" or, to be more specific "why didn't you mention Elbridge Gerry's highest office?" While we endeavor to find out more about this astounding(ly understandable) omission, we recommend you read the piece and get to know Gerry a little better. It's actually quite a good basic primer on the man. You might also enjoy the video.

More to come...

- Jason C. Klamm, B.A.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cheney Hospitalized

Just a quick post here Vice-Precedence Blog Fans.

Yesterday former VP Cheney was checked into George Washington Hospital after having some chest pains. The 69 year old former VP has had numerous health scares over the years as is well known. He's had four heart attacks. The first one occurring when he was just 37. He's also had quadruple-bypass surgery and two artery-clearing angioplasties. According to reports the former VP is resting in bed while doctors go over his condition and decide if anything else needs to be done. We'll let you know of any developments.

Thanks for checking in -- and if you're a new subscriber to the blog or FAN on Facebook, please go read some of our older posts, whether its a birthday for a VP you've never heard of, a posting from The Onion, a review of the Joe Biden comic from both Jason and myself, my meeting with Sarah Palin, developments in the Valerie Plame case regarding former VP Cheney, or any of our other blogs, we think you'll find something that will make you laugh out loud, shake your head in wonder, or simply blow your mind. Post comments here and on Facebook, let us know what you'd like to see us address and what you think of the blog and trailer for "Vice-Precedence". Thanks for your support.

Matt Saxe.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cheney Wows CPAC.

Hey Vice-Precedence Blog readers.

CPAC-The Conservative Political Action Conference is going on as I write this. This "Conservative Convention" is a chance for conservatives and Republicans around the country to get together and reaffirm their conservative values and listen to some of the most prominent members of their party tell them how wonderful they are and whip them into a frenzy. This year the speakers are really hammering President Obama and the Democrats on issues like; the Health Care Plan, the stimulus, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even personal issues.

All this criticism and joking (some of it being in the form of personal insults) had Bill O'Reilly on his show on FOX News "The O'Reilly Factor" broadcasting this week from L.A., saying that while its fine to criticize and question the President, he thinks that some of the speakers at CPAC, particularly former House Majority Leader and current head of the controversial group FreedomWorks -- Dick Armey (one of the funniest names in American political history), had gotten too personal and gone too far. Particularly with these comments:

"You're intellectually shallow. You're romantic. You're self-indulgent. You have no ability, perhaps the most proven yourself already to be the most incompetent president perhaps in our lifetime."

When Bill O'Reilly is saying that about Republicans -- you know it must be pretty bad.

However, the big story yesterday at CPAC was a surprise appearance from former VP Cheney. Cheney's daughter Liz was a scheduled speaker, and had gotten the crowd fired up with comments such as:

"And while we're sending messages to President Obama today, here is one more. Stop apologizing for this great nation and start defending her."

"There's no polite way to put this, but that kind of incompetence gets people killed," in regards to the White House missing warnings about a possible attack out of Yemen from the intelligence communities.

She went on to accuse the Obama Administration of "incompetence, misjudgment and presidential neglect." and then said:

"There is no doubt that the daily intelligence briefings that the president receives contained much more information on the threat from Yemen,"

After concluding her remarks she mentioned her father the former VP and said:

“Often before I give big speeches, I ask him for advice. Today I brought him with me.”

Suddenly and dramatically the former Vice-President appeared and walked on the stage, rousing the surprised and delighted audience out of their seats into a standing ovation with thunderous applause, cheers and chants of "Cheney, Cheney, Cheney!", “Four more years!”, "Run Cheney, Run!" and "Cheney 2012!"

Cheney was clearly pleased by the warm reception and after getting some laughs by saying he was just Liz's "arm-candy" he wryly said:

"Knock it off. A welcome like that almost makes me want to run for office -- but I am not going to do it."

Cheney went on to follow up his daughters speech with the same sort of comments he has been saying for awhile now -- how he believes the Obama Administrations policies are not keeping Americans safe, etc.

The headline-grabbing statement he made however was the following:

"I think the year of 2010 is going to be a great year in congressional races, and I think President Obama is going to be a one-term president."

You got it straight from the horse's mouth right there folks. Obama is a one-term President. Basically a replay of Carter according to Mr. Cheney, and the audience loved it.

He also said it was time for the younger generation of Republicans to take the lead in their struggle against President Obama and the Left:

"There comes a time when those of us in our generation need to move on and make certain that the younger generation has an opportunity to step up,"

As for the idea of the former VP running for President in 2012, he sort of nipped that in the bud with his opening comments, however, as we all know, all politicians reserve the right to change their minds whenever they choose to do so -- especially if it becomes politically expedient. So Mr. Cheney might be keeping an eye on the website created by a Chris Barron titled ""

The sites sole purpose is to make Cheney the Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012. You can make donations, buy t-shirts and bumper stickers, and follow the latest Cheney news there. Today they have launched a "Write-In Dick Cheney" campaign for the straw poll being held at CPAC for the 2012 nominee. You can see it all for yourself at:

Don't be frightened. It's just a website.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cheney VS. Biden & Happy Presidents Day!

Hey Vice-Precedence Fans!

Well, yesterday was a very interesting day for VP's in the media. Current VP Joe Biden was on NBC's "Meet the Press" and former VP Richard "Dick" Cheney was on ABC's "This Week".

Cheney made many interesting comments in his interview with Jonathan Karl, once again sharply criticizing the Obama/Biden Administration over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security issues. He claimed that any success that the current administration has had on these major issues was only due to the efforts of Bush and Cheney himself:

"If [the administration is] going to take credit for [Iraq's success], fair enough ... but it ought to come with a healthy dose of 'Thank you, George Bush' up front and a recognition that some of their early recommendations with respect to prosecuting that war were just dead wrong," Cheney said.

He went on to say that he thinks the policies of the Obama/Biden administration are putting the U.S. in danger of more terrorist attacks. He used VP Biden's own words against the current administration to make his point, attacking Bidens claim that another 9/11 level attack is "unlikely":

"I just think that's just dead wrong. I think the biggest threat the United States faces today is the possibility of another 9/11 with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind. And I think Al-Qaeda is out there -- even as we meet -- trying to do that. You have to consider it as a war. You have to consider it as something we may have to deal with tomorrow. You don't want the vice president of the United States running around saying, 'Oh, it's not likely going to happen.'"

While this is par for the course when it comes to Cheney (as I have reported on this blog) and probably made his fellow conservative Republicans very happy, he then
went on to make comments that probably had their jaws dropping in shock.

Cheney DID say that he agrees with Obama's strategy for Afghanistan, saying he is a "complete supporter" of the idea of sending more soldiers, sailors, and marines to that country and highly praised the Presidents selection of General Stanley McChrystal to lead this attack.

Once again, Cheney showed his open-mindedness when it comes to issues regarding Homosexual Rights. When it comes to "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" Cheney admitted that the time has come to re-examine the issue:

"Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' when I was Secretary of Defense. I think things have changed significantly since then. I'm reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard. When the Chiefs come forward and say, 'We think we can do it,' then it strikes me that it's time to reconsider the policy."

Keep in mind, this is not only a former VP making this argument, but as he reminds folks-a former Secretary of Defense (1989-1993). Besides that, as you all probably know - he is also the father of an out lesbian and grandfather to her two children produced from artificial insemination, something that has made conservative Christian Republicans in groups like Focus on the Family and The Christian Coalition furious and disgusted. So his point of view on this subject is a unique one that should be respected and taken into account.

He also showed a lack of enthusiasm for Sarah Palin and her ideas. He made it clear that he disagrees with her on the idea that President Obama could help himself politically by declaring war on Iran. On an interview last week for the FOX NEWS
show "FOX News Sunday" Palin stated that if the President: "toughen[ed] up" and "secured our nation," people might change what they think about him.

"Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decide to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. If he decided to toughen up ... I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, 'Well, maybe he's tougher than we think he's, than he is today.'" Palin said.

Cheney disagreed with her and made it clear he did:

"I don't think a President can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics. The stakes are too high, the consequences too significant to be treating those as simple political calculations. When you begin to talk about war, talk about crossing international borders, you talk about committing American men and women to combat, that takes place on a plane clear above any political consideration."

As for a Palin presidential bid - Cheney showed little enthusiasm for the idea:

"I haven't made a decision yet on who I'm going to support. I think all of the prospective candidates out there have got a lot of work to do if in fact they are going to persuade a majority of Americans that they are ready to take on the world's toughest job," Cheney said.

Cheney also admitted that he was in disagreement with the majority of the Bush Administration when it came to issues of interrogation of detainees in Guantanamo and Abu-Grahib. He talked about a meeting he was in with the Cabinet and other advisers to President Bush held in the Roosevelt Room "where we had a major shootout" over whether to try captured terrorist suspects before military commissions or, as the Justice Department advocated at the time, in civilian courts here in the U.S.

"We never clearly or totally resolved those issues," Cheney said. "These are tough questions, no doubt about it. You want my opinion, my view of what ought to happen, I think we have to treat it as a war."

He was, and still is, in favor of water-boarding and other intense, controversial methods, while many of the cabinet members and military advisers were against it.

He went on to criticize the way the White House is handling terrorist issues and the incident on Christmas with the "Underwear Bomber" prompting Vice-President Biden on "Meet the Press" to say:

“Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow, but he is not entitled to rewrite history without it being challenged. I don’t know where he has been. Where was he the last four years of the last administration?”

"A fine fellow"? Wow. Where the hell did that come from? So as you can see it was a very interesting week for the former VP and the current VP - who you may have seen with his wife representing the U.S. at the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

As you probably already know - its Presidents Day, which means days off for some people, no school for many, sales at car dealerships, furniture stores, mattress places ("Get Free Delivery with your New Sealy or any New Mattress and Pay Nothing til Next Year!!") department stores, and other places. While I don't begrudge anyone getting a good deal in this day and age with the economy the way it is, I think there needs to be more thought about what today is really about. Maybe, just maybe, we should take the time today to remember the Presidents (and VP's) who worked hard to make our country what it is today.

Remember President Lincoln, who sacrificed his life to make this nation free from the stain of slavery, who pledged "Malice towards none, and charity towards all" and who simply wanted to heal a nation stunned by death and destruction-only to be murdered in cold blood before he could do so. Lincoln rose to the greatest crisis in American history and preserved our Union, eradicated slavery, and made us what we are today.

Remember George Washington - who left his comfortable home to lead a war against the most powerful empire on Earth - who risked being hanged for treason and put himself in the middle of terrible fire from the enemy to rally his men, who somehow managed to attain victory and instead of making himself dictator or king as had all other men in history had in his position, simply retired and went home, until his country called on him again to be its first President, and who has set the standard for every President since.

Also, remember VP's like Daniel Tompkins who in his last act before becoming VP, banned slavery in New York. Remember William Wheeler, who when pressured to go along with machine-politics of New York and accept bribes flatly refused and said; ".."[T]here is nothing in the gift of the State of New York which will compensate me for the forfeiture of my self-respect". Remember the VP's who when tragedy struck the nation and we lost Presidents to murder or illness, took over an office they never thought they'd have to and did the best they could to make sure our system of government continued.

Remember our Presidents and VP's and think about all they had to give up to lead our country. Thats what today is really all about.

Thanks for reading and Happy Presidents Day!

Matt Saxe

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cheney Shooting Anniversary and Happy Birthday Sarah Palin!

Hey Vice-Precedence Readers!

Remember how I pointed out in my last blog for Aaron Burrs birthday that he was the first man to shoot someone while Vice-President, over 202 years before VP Cheney shot someone? Well, today is the 4th Anniversary of the Cheney Shooting.

On Saturday, Feb 11, 2006 Vice-President Cheney and a group of his friends and supporters were in Kenedy County, Texas at a private hunting facility called The Armstrong Ranch where the "hunting" consisted of shooting pheasants born, raised, and kept in cages until the hunters arrive in the area and get out of their vehicles. These odds aren't that great for the birds-about a 17% chance of escaping. This kind of hunting is extremely controversial-the Senior VP of the Humane Society at the time called it "an open-air abattoir".

So, VP Cheney and his friends are out there at around 6PM ready to shoot these pheasants. Cheney was armed with his own 28-gauge shotgun-a Perazzi. The party had already shot some birds, and Cheney's friend, 78 year old attorney Harry Whittington, had gone back about 100 yards from the party to recover a pheasant he had shot earlier. He was approaching Cheney from behind and was about 30 or 40 yards away when a bird or two flew up in between him and Mr. Cheney-who spun around and fired-shooting Whittington in the face, neck and upper chest.

Cheneys Secret Service agents and the medical staff who traveled with Cheney for his protection and in case of another heart attack instead found themselves having to help Whittington. Cheney later told FOX News in a special interview about 5 days after the shooting that he himself ran to Whittington and dropped down to him on the ground saying:

"Harry I had no idea you were there."

Whittington made no reply to Cheney or any one giving him medical attention. An ambulance standing nearby for the Vice President took Whittington to nearby Kingsville before he was flown by helicopter to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital.

While Cheney and his staff informed the White House about the tragic incident
that night, it wasn't released to the public for another day-and then it wasn't released by the VP's staff but by Karen Armstrong the owner of the ranch and former head of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. All the delays and secrecy around it made the whole incident look like a cover-up. Cheney held no press conference about it-leading Republican Congressman Christopher Shays to tell CNN he believed Cheney "does need to have a full press conference."

"It's like they don't learn," Shays said of the Bush administration.

"It had to have been terrible for him, and obviously the individual he shot and everybody who was there. But the information needs to be made public and made public quickly," Shays said.

Meanwhile, poor Whittington who had been moved from intensive care to a "step-down unit" suffered a mild heart attack due to a shotgun pellet lodged close to his heart and was immediately moved back to intensive care unit and underwent a cardiac catheterization test to detect blocked or leaky arteries. This was in addition to the fact that he had been shot so badly in the face, neck, and upper chest with the tiny 2.5 millimeter (less than a tenth of an inch big) bird shot pellets that Cheney had been using as ammo that day, that the doctors decided the best and safest thing to do was to leave the majority of the pellets in his body. Thats over 200 pieces of birdshot Whittington is walking around with these days. Imagine the conversations with the Security at airports!

"Sir, you set off the metal detector."

"Yeah, you remember when Dick Cheney shot that guy in the face?"

"Oh sure! That was hysterical!"

"Yeah, well...I'm that guy. I have 200 little bullets in my face, neck and chest."

Awkward silence.

Eventually Whittington recovered and even though he told a friend that he thought the whole incident was "much ado about nothing", due to the attention, he held his own press conference where he made a remark that would make every late-night comedy shows writing staff dance around their tables in glee:

"My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with. We hope that he will continue to come to Texas and seek the relaxation that he deserves."

Whittington had just apologized to one of the most reviled VP's in history for getting shot in the face by him, apologized for ruining his vacation, and invited him back to his state invoking the risk of maybe getting shot in the face again! Cheney was that powerful! It was both creepy and darkly, outrageously absurd-and the late-night comics had a field day.

On his first show after the incident, Stephen Colbert confessed to having been involved in a hunting accident of his own over the weekend, then proceeded to show an edited version of Brit Hume's interview with Dick Cheney, featuring Colbert in place of Cheney with far more humorous responses to Hume's question. Colbert later mentioned the hunting incident in his famous speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

David Letterman began his Monday show on February 13 with:
"Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction.... It's Dick Cheney," and added that:

"We can't get bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney."

His Top 10 list was devoted to "Dick Cheney's Excuses" and included "I thought the guy was trying to go "gay cowboy" on me".

On "The Daily Show" Jon Stewart and his staff headlined the story with the title "Cheney's Got A Gun" and Stewart pointed out how Cheney was so powerful that even though he had shot a man-he had gotten than man to apologize to him. Stewart also drew attention to the fact that back during the Burr/Hamilton Duel, Vice-President Burr had shot a man over issues of personal honor, but VP Cheney had shot a man because he "was mistaken for a bird".

Correspondent Ed Helms, supposedly reporting from Corpus Christi Hospital, TX, said that Whittington's condition had been upgraded from "stable" to "stable, but still shot in the face by Dick Cheney."

The politicians got into the act too: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) who Cheney had famously told to "Go f**k himself" on the Senate floor commented:

"In retrospect, it looks like I got off easy."

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan who was upset about how the whole incident was handled was referring to President Bush's meeting with the University of Texas championship football team when he said:

"The orange that they're wearing is not because they're concerned that the vice president may be there." However he pointed to his own orange-striped tie and added that "Although that's why I'm wearing it."

Cheney finally had an interview on FOX News in an attempt to try to straighten out the whole thing. To his credit, he admitted the entire incident was his fault, and his fault alone:

"I am the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend. That is something I will never forget....Ultimately, I am the guy who pulled the trigger and fired the round that hit Harry....You can talk about all the other conditions that existed at the time, but that's the bottom line...It's not Harry's fault. You can't blame anybody else."

The image of him falling is something I will never be able to get out of my mind," Cheney said. "I fired, and there's Harry falling. And it was, I'd have to say, one of the worst days of my life, at that moment."

The interview on FOX didn't help much-two weeks after the shooting a poll showed that VP Cheney's approval rating had dropped to 18%. Which makes you wonder-who the hell were those people?

This has now become one of the most famous incidents in VP history-and the fact that it all occurred on Sarah Palins birthday just adds to the humor. Yep, today Feb 11 is the birthday of the first woman to receive the Republican nomination for Vice-President of the United States, the former Governor of Alaska-Sarah Palin!

If you haven't already-be sure to read my blog where I go to Governor Palins book signing here in Minnesota at the Mall of America. I think you'll enjoy it-it was quite a unique experience, and Gov. Palin is (to say the least) a very unique figure in American history.

Join us here at Vice-Precedence in the spirit of bipartisanship and general American friendliness in saying:

Happy Birthday Governor Palin!

Also, we hope Mr. Whittington is feeling better too. Wow.

Thanks for reading!

Matt Saxe

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Biden's Memo

On the day-to-day specifics of any Vice Presidency, there's little in the public record, which makes it an even harder task to try and condense the office's history and evolution. What, exactly are we condensing? To be certain, we have records of Senate sessions and we have newspaper articles, but the latter is a condensed work on its own and the former - true as it might be to the character of a Vice President - gives us only a snapshot of who they were, as much as it might give us the only record of them ever serving a purpose.

This is why saying that Joe Biden's recent public memo to President Obama is surprising to me might, really, be quite ignorant. Maybe its a regular thing for the VP to get on his Smith Corona, throw in some White House letterhead, and just give the president advice. Maybe its the first time a President has cared enough about one of those toiled-over mini-tomes to allow it to be public - like Obama putting Joe's memo on the White House refrigerator underneath a magnet of Abraham Lincoln reading "Four-score and seven years ago, your cheese was still good."

In all likelihood, though, I'm wrong. The only memos written by a VP that you ever hear about, frankly, are the "secret memos" that Dick Cheney wants kept secret, or the "secret memos" Dick Cheney publicly demanded become public. My search for "Dick Cheney" and "memo" turned up almost exclusively references to secret memos or memos in which Dick Cheney was mentioned, with the exception of this memo from Dick Cheney to Gerald Ford, when Cheney was Ford's Chief of Staff, about how to talk about Jimmy Carter without mentioning Jimmy Carter's name, and then to mention Jimmy Carter's name. The most fun thing about the whole memo, though, is the two pages of preparation, including references to Gerry Ford's "briefing book" (which I imagine was the size of a Tijuana Bible, only less sexually graphic, containing choice bits of advice like "left foot first" and "use the railing for balance" - yep, that was a Gerry Ford clumsiness joke. Eat it, 1976.), followed by a third page with only this single line on it.

Obviously, the subject of Vice Presidential memos is now of considerable interest to me. In this case, its Biden as a mouthpiece. Its Obama giving Joe permission to announce a sweeping new piece of administration policy - namely, the transformation of our economy to become less dependent on nonrenewable energy. Though one would hope that the section labeled "Vehicles and Fuels of the Future" would mention a flying car or, at least, a hoverboard, what it lacks in vehicular foresight it gains in that place that counts most to us here at Vice-Precedence: It smacks of Vice Presidential responsibility.

Let me say this: I have no idea how much research, or how much writing was "All Joe," but, frankly, he's doing something. We know the man can write, and we know he's folksy. He's a consummate politician and an art-appreciator. It seems that President Obama believes Biden serves a purpose - otherwise Obama could find plenty of other mouthpieces. Sure, just as First Ladies tend to champion education and children-related causes, the VP is relegated to the "soft cause" (the environment) so the President can (usually) concentrate on the hard causes (the economy and that... ongoing war thing), but any step at all for the VP is a step in the right direction. Biden's public moves have all hinted that he's preparing for the Presidency after what he hopes will be a strong 8 years under Obama's Presidential wing. I'm hoping for 8 strong years of a useful Vice Presidency, but you can't blame the guy for ambition.

- Jason C. Klamm

PS: Blogger still doesn't recognize Biden as a word. Nor hoverboard. Bastards.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy BURRthday!

Hey Vice-Precedence Blog Fans!

Well, yesterday was former VP Dan Quayles birthday as reported by Jason, and tomorrow, Feb. 6th is another VP's birthday-and not just any VP, but the first one who never became President! Thats right-its the birthday of the most infamous man to ever hold the office of VP-Aaron Burr!

Burr was born on Feb. 6, 1756 in Newark, NJ. His grandfather Jonathan Edwards was Colonial America's most famous pastor, the author of the definitive American Puritanical sermon-"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", and is still considered, almost 300 years later, one of Americas greatest theologians. His father the Rev. Aaron Burr Sr. helped found, and was the president of Princeton University.

Aaron Burr is best known of course, for killing former Secretary of the Treasury, signer of the Constitution, head of the Federalist party, fellow Revolutionary War hero, and Major General/Senior Officer of the United States Army (the equivalent of the Joint Chief Of Staff)-Alexander Hamilton in a duel while he was Vice-President. Thats right-over 200 years before Dick Cheney shot a man while VP-the Vice-President of the United States shot and killed a man.

The duel is without a doubt the most famous in American history-made even more famous by the highly popular "Got Milk?" ad directed by my director on "Pearl Harbor" Michael Bay! Bay's work since then leads many to believe it would be a much better world if he had stuck to commercials. But that's a whole other ball of wax.

Burr is best known for the duel, but the life of this remarkable American is more than just a few seconds on the "Plains of Weehawken". Burr was the first truly prominent American feminist-advocating womens intelligence and equal education and opportunities for women throughout his life, and put his money where his mouth was-educating his daughter like a man.

Burr was a Revolutionary War hero in his own right, fighting bravely at the battles of Quebec and Monmouth, and numerous other smaller battles. He was an accomplished lawyer, congressman, Senator, and Vice-President. Here is a quote about his service as VP in presiding over the Senate:

"Mr. Burr, the Vice-President, presides in the Senate with great ease, dignity & propriety. He preserves good order, silence—& decorum in debate—he confines the speaker to the point. He has excluded all spectators from the area of the Senate chamber, except the members from the other House. A measure which contributes much to good order." Senator William Plumer (F-NH)

In case you're wondering, that "F" stands for "Federalist", and Burr was a Democratic-Republican-meaning this quote praising him is from someone in the opposing party. Pretty impressive eh?

Later in his life Burr was put on trial for treason against the U.S., accused of trying to carve out an empire for himself in parts of the Louisiana Purchase and Mexico. It was "The Trial of the Century" and Burr was acquitted, despite President Jefferson's efforts to make sure Burr was found guilty.

Burr was, without a doubt, an American Original-its hard to find any person in any other country's history like Burr. That's probably why he has so captured the American imagination-particularly in Gore Vidal's first novel in his "American Empire" series: BURR. Its also part of why the Aaron Burr Association was formed (as I talked about in another blog here) and why I joined it.

I called up the President of the Aaron Burr Association-Mr. Stuart Johnson and got this quote from him on the upcoming birthday of this amazing American:

"We here at the ABA want to wish Aaron Burr a happy 254th birthday. We've stood by you and will keep up the good fight promoting your life. Your depth and complexity never cease to amaze us and we will keep protecting your reputation and promoting your life to all Americans."

Thanks for the quote Mr. Johnson.

We here at Vice-Precedence are determined to show people the truth about Aaron Burr, and that's the focus of one of our upcoming projects. So lets all wish this truly distinctive American a "Happy Birthday"!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dan Quayle

It might sound odd, but I look at the opportunity to wish Dan Quayle a happy birthday as something of a privilege. Right now there are five VPs who never became president alive, so the opportunity to get all of their stories down on paper, in one place, is there, and exciting. So, Happy Birthday, Vice President Quayle. Please give us many of your millions to make a movie (partially) about you.

On the Biden beat, there's actually been a lot to speak about these last few weeks, but I've been busy prepping our pre-VP project that we will be self-publishing. Most recently, Biden served as an honorable mouthpiece, speaking out against a Federal Judge who dismissed charges of the murder of Iraqi civilians against 5 guards from security firm Blackwater (now changed to the considerably more ominous name "Xe"). There are a number of views on the subject, including accusations of Biden politicizing the whole thing, rather than letting it remain a legal matter. Obviously, Good 'Ol Joe has a duty, rhetoric wise, to help draw a clear line between the Obama and W. Bush administrations, especially in the wake of the recent backlash against Obama in the form of approval ratings as citizens begin to demand an admission of responsibility from this new administration. Or does he have such a duty, as intelligent and noble as some of his reasoning was ("The United States is determined to hold accountable anyone who commits crimes against the Iraqi people")?

It hardly seems as though anyone in the Obama administration needs to keep separating themselves from Bush. Sure, they followed in his footsteps and are subsequently cleaning up any of his messes. But what this administration fails to realize - somehow, as this is partly what got the O'Biden team elected - is that they need to be drawing a line between their politics and White House politics. An "Obama Vs. Bush" stance, simply put, looks petty. Republicans are already calling Obama out for this, in some cases rightly. An "Obama Vs. Washington" stance might as well be a "Sarah Palin Vs. Washington" stance - Obama can't afford to go rogue, at least not like that.

But what about an "Obama White House Vs. The Usual White House?" Why don't you ever hear a president solidly commenting against the weaknesses of the executive branch in general? Sure, this leaves you free for the occasional Bush jab, but it also opens you up to more discourse about the way power is handled and perceived in the executive branch. It allows for (if this is what they're after) more "change" rhetoric, and has the potential to legitimize it. Might be a nice change of pace. A change of pace you can believe in.

Also, read The Onion's latest article on Biden.

Jason C. Klamm, B.A.