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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:38 pm 
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This is one of the best editorials I've read about the poor judgement shown by John McCain when he selected Palin as his running mate. Some people may say that he didn't show poor judgement because her presence on the Republican ticket has "revitalized" the McCain campaign. To me, that argument only serves to reinforce what Mr. Dean is saying. Choosing this unqualified woman to be VP means that McCain really cares only about winning the election...and is stubbornly resisting acknowledging what it could mean to our country if Palin should become president in the event of McCain's death. His judgement standards are incredibly low, and that doesn't bode well for our future.

Palin Falls Short of VP Standards


Editor’s Note: John W. Dean was counsel to President Richard M. Nixon for 1,000 days and is the author of nine books, including “Conservatives Without Conscience,” “Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush” and “Pure Goldwater,” which Dean co-wrote with Barry M. Goldwater Jr.

In truth, the vice president of the United States is important for only one reason: He or she will become president of the United States upon the death, incapacity or resignation of the president. Nine times in our history, vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency: John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), Chester A. Arthur (1881), Theodore Roosevelt (1901), Calvin Coolidge (1923), Harry Truman (1945), Lyndon Johnson (1963) and Gerald Ford (1974). Of course, the vice president also has a significant secondary role: It is he or she, acting with a majority of the Cabinet, who can declare the president incapable of carrying out the duties of the office, and then take charge—until the action is either ratified or rejected by a majority of the Congress. So far in our history, however, this has never occurred.

Given the fact that the 2008 GOP standard-bearer, John McCain, is 72 years of age, his selection of an inexperienced vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has again focused attention on the process and procedures for selecting vice presidents—or, to put it more bluntly, the utter lack of process or procedures in selecting the person who is a heartbeat away from the presidency. McCain, not unlike others before him, selected a less than fully vetted running mate for political reasons. That is surely a problem for voters to think over in the upcoming election—but it raises a systemic concern, too, for the long run.

Consider this parallel: Does anyone believe that if McCain were president and had selected Palin under the 25th Amendment to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency Congress would have confirmed her? Not likely. In fact, it is even less likely that McCain would have even attempted to do so, for he would have embarrassed himself.

While the Constitution does not expressly set forth qualifications for the vice presidency, it strongly implies them --- and Palin falls short.

Read Mr. Dean's comments about:

How Our Constitutional Process for Selecting Vice Presidents Evolved

The 25th Amendment Suggests the Primary Qualification for Vice Presidents: Be Equipped to Serve as President Starting, if Necessary, on Day One

Congress Has Also Suggested Vice Presidential Qualifications Indirectly in the Succession Statutes It Has Passed

Palin Does Not Qualify Under the Implicit Constitutional Standards

When Nixon selected Ford to be his vice president, and Ford selected Rockefeller, the government was divided, with the Democrats controlling Congress. Yet a Democratic Congress approved both Ford and Rockefeller to be vice president based on interbranch comity. Surely no one would argue that Sarah Palin is in a league with Ford and Rockefeller when it comes to experience.

Nor does Palin possess anything close to the experience qualifications of the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, or the president pro tempore of the Senate, Robert Byrd. Indeed, I feel confident that Palin could not get confirmed for any of the top presidential succession posts, namely the posts of secretary of state, treasury and defense. Palin’s lack of qualifications have been widely noted. Newspapers from her state have raised questions of her qualifications.

Recently, I was in Alaska, just after Palin’s name was first floated as a possible McCain running mate. Although I am not a Democrat, I gave a keynote speech at the Democrats’ state convention. During my visit, a senior Democratic Party official said to me that he sure hoped McCain would select Palin. Based on his observation of her record in Alaska, he opined: “She’s screwing up Alaska big-time, and she could probably assure defeat for McCain.” His wish may be coming true.


"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman

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