John Edwards

The Man Who Wouldn't Be Veep

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If the choice between Dick Cheney and John Edwards dismays you, take a moment to remember a much more appealing vice-presidential candidate: Morrison C. Hansborough, who died last month and was remembered in The Washington Post last weekend:

Morrison C. Hansborough -- Washington native, Army veteran, mellow raconteur, jazz lover, congressional barber -- did not, in truth, have a chance of being vice president of the United States.

But for a few fleeting moments in 1976, Hansborough achieved some notoriety, as happened at odd moments throughout his life. Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy (D-Minn.), in one of his quixotic bids for the Oval Office, recruited Hansborough as a vice presidential stand-in on the D.C. ballot.

The politician and the barber had known each other since McCarthy served in the House and sat for the occasional trim….

When McCarthy ran for president as an independent in 1976, he asked Hansborough to be on the D.C. ballot. "He worked on Capitol Hill, he was a real Democrat and a friend of mine," McCarthy said. "There must have been something funny in the law that you needed a vice president to be on the ballot."

So far as can be determined, Hansborough made only one political promise. He said he would abolish the office of the vice president "the morning I win it."

[Via Sam Smith.]