Crapshoot: Rolling the Dice on the Vice Presidency

Jules Witcover, Author, Jules Whitcover, Author Crown Publishers $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-58480-4
Five of the last nine U.S. presidents first served as vice-presidents. This statistic, argues syndicated columnist Witcover, makes clear the recklessness of George Bush's choice of J. Danforth Quayle as his running mate. Most of the book is an astute, scathingly ironic history of vice-presidential politics--generally colorful, if at times inevitably tinged with the dullness that clings to that office. All presidential nominees claimed that their choice for v-p was the person ``best qualified'' to become president if destiny dictated, but in nearly all cases, the author demonstrates, the selection was motivated by either the need for geographical balance on the party ticket, the desire for a subservient yes-man or similarly short-sighted considerations. Witcover ( Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars? ) proposes that presidential nominees be required to submit a list of potential running mates for review by the national convention. Alternately, the president-elect might submit vice-presidential choices to Congress for approval. Witcover's suggested reforms should stir national debate. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
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