I have just seen "Game Change," the made-for-tv-movie based on the book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. For those who haven't seen it, it documents, in striking detail, the process whereby Arizona Senator John McCain selected Sarah Palin, then Governor of Alaska, to be his runningmate in the 2008 election. It also reveals just how unprepared Gov. Palin was to be vice president, and provides us with a cautionary tale about the very first executive decision a candidate for the presidency must make.
A total of 33 percent of all vice presidents have gone on to become president, five of them elected.
In 1972, the Democratic Party nominee, George McGovern, chose U.S. Sen, Thomas Eagleton to be his runningmate. Unfortunately for everyone involved in this selection, Sen. Eagleton had received treatment for depression several years prior to his selection for the vice presidential slot. While it was acknowledged that Sen. Eagleton had recovered from whatever it was that had caused him to become depressed, the very fact that he had been treated for the condition was considered at the time to be a disqualifying factor, and so McGovern was forced to "change horses in the middle of the stream," dump Eagleton, and choose Sargent Shriver instead. The ticket lost badly, in no small part due to the botched vice presidential selection process.
Whomever the Republicans pick to be their presidential nominee, that person will be faced with what may be the most important decision, right from the get-go. What kind of world would we be living in today had FDR stuck with Henry Wallace in 1944? If McKinley had not chosen TR? If Lincoln had not chosen A. Johnson? What would our nation be today had Nixon been forced from office before Agnew? If Kennedy had not chosen LBJ?
Had McCain won in 2008, and passed from the scene and Palin assumed the office, I could not begin to describe how different the world, not just the U.S., would be.
It will be interesting to watch as the eventual Republican Party nominee goes through the process of selecting a runningmate. Hopefully, that person will have viewed, and learned from, "Game Change."
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom