Sunday, October 2, 2016

The 'battle of the understudies' comes Tuesday evening

I am sure we are all excited about Tuesday night's upcoming vice presidential debate, hold on, let me go look it up. Ah, yes, between Pence and Kaine, who look for all the world like a traveling preacher and a riverboat gambler on one of those '60's TV westerns.

I do not know what items were high on the prospective-VP candidate checklist, but clearly "willing" was up near the top, right after "breathing."

It is not a job anyone has ever wanted. Like being the elephant poop scooper in a parade, or a contestant on "The Bachelor," it seems a job for people without self esteem. Your job is to break tie votes in Congress when they happen, which is about once a century. Your job is to go to the funerals of dead foreign leaders so that the guy with the real job doesn't have to.

VP Thomas Marshall famously said, “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected vice president of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again.” The dude spent eight years a heartbeat away from the biggest job in the world, and that joke is what he is remembered for.

Will Rogers said, "The man with the best job in the country is the vice president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, 'How is the president?'”

Senator Daniel Webster, in rejecting an offer to be somebody's VP, once quipped, “I do not propose to be buried until I am really dead.”

But John Nance Garner, the 32nd vice president, had the best quote of all about the job, saying it wasn't "worth a bucket of warm p***." You know he was telling the truth, too, because he said it during the Depression, back when people really knew the value of both warm AND cold words with asterisks.

Here are some questions I wish they would ask the potential VPs Tuesday night:

• What's your golf handicap?

• Are you aware they have online Solitaire now?

• How do you think your wife is going to take to being referred to as the "Second Lady"?

• Are you aware that, in the event of a water landing, you are considered flotation?

A lot of people say they would rather the VPs were the ones running for president, but these people are definitely not cartoonists or humor columnists.

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