Election 2016

Vice Presidential Prospects Beat Clinton and Trump

Overall, the major parties' VP candidates are way less scary than the presidential candidates.


We've heard nonstop criticism of both the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates—for good reasons. So are their running mates any better? Yes.

Trump's vice presidential pick, Mike Pence, has some good points. He supported a guest worker program. He opposed reckless spending, including Republican bills, like No Child Left Behind, George W. Bush's Medicare expansion, and the Wall Street bailout. Then he became one of only four governors to get an A rating from the Cato Institute for keeping government spending under control. As a result, Indiana has a budget surplus and a good credit rating. Of course, that was easier for Pence because the very responsible Mitch Daniels was the previous governor.

On the other hand, Pence is a consistent supporter of bad wars, like the Iraq War and the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi. He's also a social conservative who wants to force his beliefs on others. The Indianapolis Star reported that Pence says he believes in "building a zone around your marriage" for avoiding temptation. That means never attending an event where alcohol is served or dining alone with a woman who is not his wife.

Fine. If he's worried about temptation, let him impose whatever rule he wants on himself. But I object when Pence tells others how to live. He says "societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage." He gives that as a reason for wanting to ban gay marriage, even civil unions. But gay marriage doesn't threaten heterosexual marriage; it makes marriage a bigger deal.

Pence also opposes legalizing marijuana, even medicinal. This is not a politician who wants government limited.

Neither is Hillary Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine. When he was governor of Virginia, he made it the first southern state to ban smoking in bars.

He's also a typical political opportunist. For most of his career, he supported free trade. He backed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement—as did Clinton until she realized that it was unpopular with the economically ignorant majority of her party.

See Kaine's opportunism in this 2016 chronology:

July 11: Kaine says, "I see much in the (Trans-Pacific Partnership) draft … that I like."
July 12: Kaine reportedly tells Clinton campaign he'd oppose TPP if he is picked to be her VP.
July 23: Clinton chooses Kaine. Kaine now says he opposes TPP.

But at least Kaine respects the Constitution more than Clinton and Pence. He joined Senators Jeff Flake and Rand Paul in arguing that President Obama should not go to war against ISIS without getting authorization from Congress.

Overall, the major parties' vice presidential candidates are less scary than than the presidential candidates. But my favorite vice presidential candidate is running on the Libertarian ticket, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. When he was a Republican, Weld praised F. A. Hayek and individual freedom. He said, "Democrats' taxing and spending habits remind me of that old definition of a baby: a huge appetite on one end and no sense of responsibility on the other."

Weld is not totally libertarian, but he's a good example of a "fiscally conservative, socially liberal" politician at a time when people seem to be desperate for alternatives to Trump and Clinton.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson says Weld "makes me better." And from what I could see when I interviewed them, that's true. They collaborate. When Weld is present, Johnson is clearer and crisper.

Sadly, most Americans don't pay attention to third parties. They also don't pay much attention to vice presidents. After all, most don't do much. One of Franklin Roosevelt's vice presidents said the job "wasn't worth a pitcher of warm spit."

But vice presidents sometimes become presidents—15 percent of them over the course of our history—and 25 percent eventually became presidential nominees. So vice presidents matter.

I respect Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, but Bill Weld (with Gary Johnson) would be better than either. And, of course, he'd be much better than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.


NEXT: Army Veteran Hangs U.S. Flag Upside Down to Protest Eminent Domain, Gets Arrested

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  3. The Indianapolis Star reported that Pence says he believes in “building a zone around your marriage” for avoiding temptation. That means never attending an event where alcohol is served or dining alone with a woman who is not his wife.

    I suspect that “social conservatives” are largely like that: weak willed people with a variety of desires and addictions who want to impose the cost of keeping them from acting on their desires on the rest of society. People like that shouldn’t be in charge of anything.

    1. weak willed people with a variety of desires and addictions who want to impose the cost of keeping them from acting on their desires on the rest of society.

      Perhaps there is some of that, but I’d tend to attribute it more to simple projection: they are that way, and can’t fathom the existence of people who aren’t.

    2. So has Pence advocated for banning alcohol at events or prohibiting people from dining alone with someone of another gender to whom one is not married? How Pence conducts his personal life is no concern of mine.

    3. All people are relatively weak-willed, and willpower is depleted as it is used. That being the case, establishing a system for avoiding Will checks altogether where possible seems wise, not weak.

  4. Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

  5. Mike Pence will have two solemn duties in the Trump White House: 1) Casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate and 2) Screening all of the prostitutes in DC according to age, hourly rate, and resemblance to Ivanka.

    1. I think you have taken too much of SF’s writing to heart….God Help You.

    2. I’m pretty sure Epstein is free to resume his duties in that regard.

      1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure in a Trump presidency, Pence will be the one doing the actual work of being president while The Donald bangs hookers who look like his daughter, and kisses his miniature giraffe*.

        * I know, these euphemisms…

  6. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson says Weld “makes me better.” And from what I could see when I interviewed them, that’s true. They collaborate. When Weld is present, Johnson is clearer and crisper.

    That has got to be the most pitiable thing I’ve read in any election coverage. I’m so glad that someone this pathetic has no chance of winning the election.

    I can understand why people might vote for the guy. If he gets enough votes to win a single state, and Trump isn’t losing in a landslide, he might throw the election into the house. That would be like winning the lottery.

    The far more likely outcome is that he’ll get 2% – 5% of the vote in a bunch of states, and will not alter the outcome of the election one iota. Nor will the political party establishments do anything more than alter their rhetoric in an attempt to get those people back into the fold. And the LP will continue trying to make the country freer by running has-been republicans that couldn’t hack it in the main party.

  7. I don’t care who the vice president is as long as they prohibit people from turning their Springfield M1903’s into automatic rifles.

    *Several years ago there was a bust in a local park. Apparently the local middle-aged pervert dude crowd was using the place as a meeting spot for giving each other blow jobs and such. Someone called the cops and when the cops showed up they found about 20 guys having an all out orgy in broad daylight in a public park. One was a state rep who was in the middle of giving a blow job. He tried to talk his way out of it by claiming he was just helping the guy tie his shoes.

    The next day all of the mug shots were in the newspaper. My wife was looking at the photos and said all the guys had the same look, something she couldn’t put her finger on but definitely creepy.

    Tim Kaine is the poster boy for that look. ‘Creepy Tim’ indeed.

  8. But what are their views on guns??

  9. But while Stossel respects Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, Libertarian Party candidate William Weld, running as Gary Johnson VP pick, would be better than either, he writes.

    WTF? Assuming I decoded this garble correctly, it still doesn’t make sense.

  10. Weld is a moderate Northeast Republican – nothing more or less. His comments last week on guns could have come from your average idiot 2nd-A hating Democrat.

  11. But gay marriage doesn’t threaten heterosexual marriage; it makes marriage a bigger deal.

    You can repeat that as often as you want, it will never make it true.

  12. Watch your tail, Drake, Northeast Republicans bag a lot of ducks and Weld is a hot shot.

  13. One of Franklin Roosevelt’s vice presidents said the job “wasn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit.”

    That might have to do with FDR being a power hungry control freak who treated his VP like a mushroom. For instance, Truman didn’t even know about the existence of the Manhattan Project until after FDR died.

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  16. Weld makes Hillary Clinton look like a supporter of the 2d Amendment and his belief government should impose the LGBT agenda on states and individuals makes him just another other anti-freedom of conscience politician. If you don’t want someone’s religious values forced on you guess what they don’t want your anti-religious values forced on them. Too date there are zero candidates running who truly embrace the First Amendment in its entirety in word or principle.

  17. Actually, what he said was that it wasn’t worth “a pitcher of warm piss.” He complained later that, “those pantywaist writers wouldn’t print it the way I said it.”


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