General Question

robmandu's avatar

Was this true back then? Does it apply today?

Asked by robmandu (21293points) September 25th, 2008

New York Times Editorial on the Pick of Geraldine Ferraro to be Vice-President in 1984:

Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President? Surely Ronald Reagan does not subscribe to that maxim. Or where is it written that mere representatives aren’t qualified, like Geraldine Ferraro of Queens? Representative Morris Udall, who lost New Hampshire to Jimmy Carter by a hair in 1976, must surely disagree. So must a longtime Michigan Congressman named Gerald Ford. Where is it written that governors and mayors, like Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, are too local, too provincial? That didn’t stop Richard Nixon from picking Spiro Agnew, a suburban politician who became Governor of Maryland. Remember the main foreign affairs credential of Georgia’s Governor Carter: He was a member of the Trilateral Commission.

Presidential candidates have always chosen their running mates for reasons of practical demography, not idealized democracy. One might even say demography is destiny: this candidate was chosen because he could deliver Texas, that one because he personified rectitude, that one because he appealed to the other wing of the party. On occasion, Americans find it necessary to rationalize this rough-and-ready process. What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen. This rationale may even be right, but then let it also be fair. Why shouldn’t a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow? We may even be gradually elevating our standards for choosing Vice Presidential candidates. But that should be done fairly, also. Meanwhile, the indispensable credential for a Woman Who is the same as for a Man Who – one who helps the ticket.

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5 Answers

lapilofu's avatar

I’m certain that “only senators are qualified to be President” isn’t the mentality right now, and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t in 1984. It may be that most vice-presidential nominees were senators—I haven’t really researched that. Four out of our five most recent Presidents have been governors, not U.S. senators. And the fifth was not a senator (though he was a representative, for a time not immediately preceding his presidency.)

As far as picking running mates on the basis of demography rather than democracy, that’s absolutely true. Sarah Palin was almost certainly picked for… well… being a woman. I saw Newt Gingrich speak last night to this current election, and regarding the pick of Sarah Palin, he said “The republicans couldn’t win this year’s election with two boring white guys!” He’s absolutely right. And that’s why they chose Palin.

Knotmyday's avatar

That’s an excellent example of partisan bias in the media. Why isn’t the same argument being applied in favor of Ms. Palin today? Because it doesn’t follow the Party line.

Journalism or propaganda? Can you tell the difference?

Don’t blame me, I was voting for Hillary. Good point, Rob.

Jreemy's avatar

Propaganda is dependent upon Journalistic practices

flameboi's avatar

Sarah Palin was the right choice (I’m not a Republican) according to my astrologyst and Mr. McCain’s astrologyst.. There is no why, you do what you have to do in order to win…

sundayBastard's avatar

Listen to President JFK’s speech on journalism.

Oh and by the way JFK was our last elected president.

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