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.]

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  1. I live in Seattle, and recall Washington having a Libertarian candidate for the office of Lieutenant Governor a few years ago who ran on just this platform – that his first action upon taking the office would be to abolish it. Obviously, and to my dismay (if not surprise), he did not win.

  2. Tim, the Libertarian candidate for LG this year, Jocelyn Langlois, is running on that very platform. From the Voter’s Guide for LG:

    Washington taxpayers pay $400,000 per year to have a Lieutenant Governor. Do you know what the Lieutenant Governor does? Our State Constitution says the Lieutenant Governor is to preside over the Senate, substitute for the Governor when he is out of state or incapacitated, and to serve at the request of the Governor. That is all. Our State Constitution also gives the legislature the authority to abolish the office of Lieutenant Governor

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