Silly Veep Speculation of the Day

Via the Shark Tank:  Is Charlie Crist a potential VP Pick…for Obama?

Answer:  no.

One of the sillier games played by pundits (and in the contemporary era, I would include bloggers) is the ol’ “will the president change his veep in midstream?” game.

For example, during Bush 43’s first term there was constant speculation that Dubya would replace Cheney, most likely with Condoleezza Rice.   I seem to vaguely recall talk that Clinton would swap out Gore (for Colin Powell, maybe?) and that Bush 41 would ditch Quayle (which probably would have been a good idea, but so it goes).  And yet…

Indeed, I cannot think of a recent example of a president who changed running mates from one term to the next (Nixon lost Agnew to resignation, but only after the 1972 elections).

And, of course, any discussion of this nature requires the caveat:  people simply don’t vote based on who the veep candidate is.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. James Joyner says:

    Ford dropped Rockefeller for Dole. But Ford had never actually run for anything before.

  2. Is it easy to overlook Ford.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Indeed. And he’s not really a counter-example, in that he only made one run for the presidency and thus didn’t change running mates.

  4. Read that over the weekend. Had a few cheap laughs with some Twitter friends from Florida who hate Crist with a passion.

    That said, I can’t see The Messiah dropping Vice President Chia Pet, Joe “Plugs” Biden. I’m sure it’s happened in history but I cannot remember the last time. I know FDR had multiple vice presidents but offhand I cannot remember why they were replaced.

  5. FDR did it twice — Garner retired and was replaced by crypto-Commie Henry Wallace in 1940, and Wallace was dropped in 1944 for Harry Truman (thank the fates that FDR didn’t die a year earlier).

  6. Kylopod says:

    The only reason I could see him dropping Biden is to pick someone younger as his successor in 2016. Biden is one of the oldest veeps in history and if he were to run for pres in 2016 and win, he’d be 74 by the time he reached office, older than Reagan was at the beginning of his second term!

    But that’s a pretty lame reason for dropping a veep. There’d have to be some immediate political motivation (like Ford’s attempt to court the right), and I don’t see what that could be. Picking an ex-Republican in a nod toward bipartisanship (similar to McCain’s desire to pick Lieberman in 2008) doesn’t sound like something Obama would do.

  7. Of course, in re: FDR, that was during the era wherein the ticket was chosen at the convention, rather than the veep selection being the nominee’s personal choice.

  8. Trumwill says:

    Eisenhower was encouraged to dump Nixon in 1964 and I believe even hearing about a conversation feeling out how Nixon might feel about being Secretary of Defense or something instead. Not sure how accurate that is, though.

    All of that being said, sometimes it’s a more outlandish idea than others. I think that in 2004 there were really good reasons to believe it might happen (that Cheney would be replaced, not necessarily with Rice). Cheney had served as the steady hand and Bush needed a tapped successor. I think the same argument *could* apply to Biden, though he never actually provided the steady hand he was supposed to. On the other hand, I think it’s hard to do something like that without the VP’s consent, and while I could imagine Cheney consenting it’s hard to imagine it of Biden.

    Anyway, I don’t consider wondering if Biden being dropped from the ticket is absurd, since the Democrats may want a tapped successor. But discussing 2012 strategy due to VP pick is more than a bit absurd.

  9. JKB says:

    If you want real amusement check out these surprise events by Doug Kass. Hillary and Biden switch jobs by mid year. Tea party and Palin fade out but the American party rises with loser Bloomberg at the head. I can’t tell if he’s just being funny or just confused.

  10. Franklin says:

    The only reason I could see him dropping Biden is to pick someone younger as his successor in 2016.

    Hmmm, how can I break this gently to you? Biden will never be President.

    /At least, not without Obama being incapacitated.

  11. Kylopod says:

    Eisenhower was encouraged to dump Nixon in 1964

    I presume you mean 1956.

    Hmmm, how can I break this gently to you? Biden will never be President.

    He seems to be considering running.

  12. While I agree this speculation is probably worthless, make no mistake about it FDR was intimately involved in the selection of the VP. Sure it was done at the convention, but while not like it is today, I would certainly say that FDR chose Truman and could have had anyone else. According to McCullough meetings were held about dropping Wallace 6 months beforehand.

  13. Max Lybbert says:

    I’m not expecting Biden to be shown the door (he hasn’t done much, so he really hasn’t screwed much up; aside from being the scapegoat for the tax cut negotiation that got Democrats up in arms). However, Biden is different than other recent VPs in that Biden was picked to comfort people worried about President Obama’s lack of experience (Dan Quayle was *not* a “I’m a serious candidate, look at my VP” pick, for instance).

    Given that (1) Biden’s job is to be the voice of experience, (2) Biden took some ownership of the stimulus spending, (3) Biden is the designated scapegoat for the tax cut negotiation, and (4) there is plenty of bad news to go around but not much good, a Biden resignation isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

    I expect we’ll see some more high-profile resignations (like Romer) before Biden is in any real danger.