The American Vice Presidency Reconsidered
Praeger Publishers | 2006 | ISBN: 0275988902 | Pages: 200 | PDF | 1.07 MB
John Adams famously called the vice presidency, "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." Harry Truman called it, "about as useful as a cow's fifth teat." How things have changed in a world where many consider Vice President Dick Cheney the most powerful figure in the current administration. Since 1960 the office of the vice presidency of the United States has evolved into a fundamentally different institution than the one the founders envisioned, attracting better-qualified aspirants who may be called upon to perform a variety of important tasks. No longer a ceremonial figurehead or legislative drudge, the vice president today consults closely with the president and plays an important role in executive decisions. Those who are chosen as running mates are examined more thoroughly than ever before, not merely for the boost they might give the presidential candidate in the general election, but also for the kind of president they might be if fate called upon them to serve. In a book that is as readable as it is fascinating, Baumgartner offers a corrective to the overwhelmingly negative view Americans have had of their vice presidents by demonstrating how the role has changed over time. Setting the stage with a visit to the Constitutional Convention and a brief look at pre-modern vice presidents, he examines the 19 men and one woman who have been vice presidents or candidates for the office since 1960. His insightful book is organized thematically according to the career path of the vice president-from the selection process through the campaign and nomination to election, service in office, and post-White House contributions.
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