“No” Is a Powerful Word

Matt Yglesias sometimes gets himself into trouble by saying things that are…wrong.  Today he wrote about an alleged rumor that Bobby Jindal was asked to be McCain’s veep, but Jindal said no.  Lest McCain lose, Jindal didn’t want to be blamed for the loss.  Yglesias says this is ridiculous because losing VP’s don’t really get blamed, so to speak.

Well, I’ve said it here before that Sarah Palin should have said no too.  Maybe for the same reason’s Jindal said no, and perhaps because she realized how very unqualified she was to be vice president.  Perhaps Jindal figured out that will a little more time on the national scene, he wouldn’t be an unqualified drag on a Republican ticket and be free to define himself in the future, with his own team, not with someone else’s handlers.

A commenter on Yglesias’ blog put it best though:

Second, no, losing VP’s don’t take blame. But their track record post-defeat is abysmal. It’s a sure way to never get elected President, and almost as sure a way to never get your party’s nomination. Here’s a list, pre-Palin:

John Edwards
Joe Lieberman
Jack Kemp
Dan Quayle
Lloyd Bentsen
Geraldine Ferraro
Walter Mondale (and he had already won once)
Bob Dole (here’s an exception – helped out, perhaps, by the fact that no one seems to remember him being Ford’s running mate)
Sergeant Shriver
Edward Muskie
William Miller
Henry Cabot Lodge
Estes Kefauver
John Sparkman
Earl Warren (yeah, he became Chief Justice, but his political career was finished)
John Bricker
Charles McNary
Frank Knox (FDR kindly put him in his cabinet after trouncing him and Landon in 1936)
Charles Curtis
Joseph Robinson (he did become Senate Majority Leader and a key FDR ally after his defeat)
Charles W. Bryan (went on to lose his gubernatorial campaign in Nebraska)
FDR (big-time exception)
Charles Fairbanks (went back to practicing law in Indianapolis)
Nicholas Murray Butler, Hiram Johnson (Taft and TR’s veeps, respectively)
John Worth Kern
Henry Gassaway Davis (fun fact – he was 81 when he was nominated to be Vice President. I guess the Dems realized they had no shot at TR)
Adlai Stevenson, Adlai Stevenson’s grandfather
Arthur Sewall, a Swedenborgian shipbuilder

So from 1896-2004, losing Vice Presidential nominees went on to be elected President once, and nominated by their party three times.

Certainly not a record you can believe in.  Maybe Palin will buck the trend.  But I sure feel better seeing that list, thinking perhaps Palin will self-destruct up there in the great Alaskan wilderness.


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