Why VP Counts
When Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan as his choice for the Vice Presidential nomination, commentators cheered that Ryan was a "deficit hawk" and serious about taxes and budgets. But when Ryan was asked about a number of his controversial proposals (especially about changing Medicare and other entitlements), he responded that his own views were no longer important, since he now supported Romney's stances.
But if the views of the Vice Presidential candidate do not really matter, then it does not make that much difference who gets that nomination, since the platform of the Presidential nominee will prevail. If so, the choice of Ryan is not important, either.
But the nomination for VP is important for two reasons:
1. Vice Presidents become Presidents: Of the 16 men who have served as Vice President over the past 80 years, three inherited the presidency (Truman , Johnson and Ford) and two others were subsequently elected President (Nixon and George HW Bush), so almost a third became President . In addition, three others (Humphrey, Mondale and Gore) were nominated for President by their party. So a Vice Presidential nomination is a major advance in a politician's route toward the White House. (But the last losing nominee for VP to become President was Franklin Roosevelt.)
So if Paul Ryan becomes Vice President, he is on his way to the White House.
2. The Vice President can be influential. The role of the Vice President has grown in recent years, especially during the tenure of Dick Cheney (2001-2009). Even Dan Quayle, the most ridiculed VP in our times, was instrumental in President George H W Bush's wise decision to seek congressional approval of the Gulf War.
Al Gore played a vital role in the failure of Republicans in Congress to impeach and remove President Bill Clinton.
Although Romney has generally repudiated his own record as Governor of Massachusetts, Ryan has not repudiated his record in Congress. Since Romney's political views are very flexible, Ryan could have a major influence on them. .
Joe Biden, although one of the most experienced officials to become VP in recent decades, has been a disappointment. He speaks without thinking too often, and for the second highest official of the United States, even once is once too often. If Biden is re-elected and inherits the presidency, his policies will be indistinguishable from Obama's. If he then sticks to speeches written by someone else, he would do OK.
If Biden completes another term as Vice President, he will be 74, so it is not likely that he will ever be nominated for President.
Gerald S Glazer