A Smoke Filled Room of One's OwnBy http://profile.typepad.com/1237764140s22740 // August 11, 2012 in US History
I'd love to hear my friend, the historian Mark Byrnes, put into context the way candidates for Vice President are chosen.
There's a lot in the middle hundred years I'm fuzzy about, but I recall that at the outset of US history, the Vice President was the runner-up in the voting of the Electoral College for President.
By the time I was born, VPs were elected as part of an integrated, partisan ticket, and how they got on the ticket was already something of the prerogative of a party's presidential candidate. Though I recall that party political conventions had some meaningful role in vetting the choice.
Mitt Romney just introduced Paul Ryan as "the next President of United States." He misspoke of course. Though Ryan could ascend to the presidency, or run for the office in his own right in later elections, it's arguably more likely that Ryan would be President only after Romney held the office. But Ryan could be President much sooner than anyone - any primary voter or convention delegate - would have expected earlier this year.
I'm not saying that's a bad thing or a structural defect. It just seems odd. A party's candidate for President has to slog through a brutal system of state primaries to win the nod. But the person to fill her or his shoes, that person is chosen in a private deliberation. Part of the perk, I guess, of winning a party's nomination.
Photo: darthdowney / Flickr.