Hi. It’s Chad once again. Picking a topic today that is a little controversial. But since it might happen, it’s worth exploring.
So Dick Cheney has an irregular heartbeat, as we’ve discovered. Some could say the discovery would be having a heartbeat. But while Cheney is an evil man, he’s still a man.
But he also sits in the VP chair. And his (latest) health scare opens up the door to a question: who would Bush pick as VP should something happen to Cheney?
Any of us could die at any time, but this political cycle is unique on several fronts. A sitting VP is not running for president. The party in power has no clear cut frontrunner.
Would Bush give the nod to a Giuliani or Thompson, giving them a huge edge? Would either of them want to standing next to Bush?
This country went almost 200 years without a process to select a vice president, due to resignation or death. Seven of them have died in office, with the last one being James Sherman in 1912. John C. Calhoun actually resigned on December 28, 1832 to jump to the Senate. Between those times and other instances where a VP took over as president, the VP chair has been empty a lot in our nation’s history.
But thanks to the 25th Amendment, the chair can’t remain empty. Section 2 of the 25th Amendment reads: “Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.” So the Democrats would have a say, though protocol would likely allow them to approve any reasonable pick.
Since the 25th Amendment was approved, we have used the provision twice. Spiro Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, upon pleading no contest to charges of accepting bribes as Maryland’s governor. Gerald Ford had to be approved by both houses. But given his relationship (he was House Minority Leader) and his acceptability (given the other candidates, including Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush), Ford was an easy shoo-in. And Nelson Rockefeller was also approved by both houses after Ford became president in 1974.
If I were to select someone I’d think Bush would pick, it would be Condoleezza Rice. Not for the significance of being a woman or African-American, but because Bush really thinks highly of her, and he would want someone he valued in that slot. I don’t think he’d pick a current contender, nor pick a caretaker such as James Baker. I’m not saying whether Rice would get approved, but she would be an interesting pick.