Its rare that I agree with anything written from Commentary Magazine other than their takes on the state of the current Republican Party. But Jonathan S. Tobin makes great points in his article In Defense of the Vice Presidency. That the Vice Presidency is essentially insuring the idea of legitimate government when for whatever reasons the President can no longer full fill his responsibilities as President and must step down from the office.
That is really the main and perhaps only function of the Vice President. And whatever responsibilities is given by the President and how well the Vice President carries out those duties determines how well the function of being ready to be President is carried out. Which is critical for any presidential nominee to select someone who is not only qualified to be Vice President of the United States, but President of the United States as well. Just in case the Vice President has to step into the Presidency even in a short-term basis during the President’s term.
With a Vice President the American people know who they are getting if anything were to happen to the President. Because the Vice President is from the same party and in a lot of cases has similar political beliefs. And a good and active Vice President which is what we’ve had for the most part since Walter Mondale in the Carter Administration. And I would even add Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney to that list whatever you think of them personally and politically. Who both had major roles in their President’s administration and were ready to step into the Presidency if needed.
For me at least it is not a question if whether or not we should have a Vice President or not. But what exactly should be the Vice President’s duties besides representing the administration oversees and keeping a close eye on Congress to step in and be able to negotiate deals with them for the President. And because of the possibility that the Vice President may at some point become President before the President’s term is over you want the Vice President to have a major role in the administration.
For me that means having the Vice President as the 1st Officer of the Administration or Executive Branch. In on all and able to weigh in on all decisions that the President makes and having all of the access to information and reports that the President gets. And being in on all of the major presidential meetings. Being a member of all the key presidential councils so the Vice President has the intelligence, knowledge, and experience needed if and where they become President at some point during the President’s term.
Long are the days where the Vice President for the most part is a ceremonial role and just attending funerals and other functions outside of the Executive Branch. And presiding over the U.S. Senate even when a tie vote doesn’t occur as President of the U.S. Senate. Which is a good thing because for the Vice President to be useful to the country that person needs to know what is going on and able to help the President govern the country.