One thing about winning the presidency: no matter how fabulous or dreadful the ensuing administration, no matter how much or little is accomplished, no matter whether it’s for one term or two, even if nobody remembers anything else about the fellow’s time in the White House, the name will be forever remembered—even if it’s Millard Fillmore or Chester A. Arthur.
Vice presidents? Except for those who move on to the presidency, they fade fast from memory. Only vice presidential candidates whose tickets lose become more obscure. Sometimes, vice presidents are unknowns in their own era. When Rutherford B. Hayes was told that a certain William Wheeler had been nominated to be his running mate, Hayes asked, “Who is Wheeler?”
One of the guys whose image appears below had this to say about the job: “When I was elected vice president of the United States, it was the worst thing that ever happened to me.” He was also noted for making another more vulgar comment, though that is the subject of some dispute. Can you name and pick him out of the veeper line-up below? How about the rest of them?
No fair Googling. Answers below. Once you learn their names, you may still not know who they are.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008:
I’ve written before, and likely will write again, that the only endorsements that matter in a presidential race are mayors. Many (not all) have patronage machines that they can wield to move votes to their endorsed candidate.
I learned this the hard way after Dean was endorsed by the likes of Al Gore and other party luminaries to no discernible effect in 2004. Big non-machine endorsements matter lower on the ballot. But at the top, people will make up their own minds on who to support. Senators and congressmen have no machines, since they have no patronage to dole out. Mayors, on the other hand, can deliver thousands of jobs to loyal backers.
That’s why Philly mayor Nutter and Gov. Rendell (an old-school machine politician) were able to limit Obama’s gains in the Philly metro area to Clinton’s big benefit. In fact, Clinton had at least 100 mayors working for her in the Keystone State.
The mayors were big for Clinton. Obama’s endorsement by Sen. Bob Casey? Pretty much irrelevant.
Vice Presidents. Top Row: left to right: Daniel Tompkins (1817-1825 ); Garret Hobart (1897-1899); Dan Quayle (1989-1993). Bottom Row: John Nance Garner (1933-1941); Alben Barkley (1949-1953); Richard Mentor Johnson (1837-1841)