Frank Bruni: The VP Hex





Frank Bruni is a columnist for the New York Times.

...The office of the vice presidency seems to addle many occupants, and that goes back centuries before Cheney. In Aaron Burr’s final year as the country’s third vice president, he killed Alexander Hamilton, his political rival, in a duel.

Thomas Marshall, who served under Woodrow Wilson, was utterly sidelined during the many months after a stroke left the president bedridden. The first lady ran the show. He felt so understandably marginalized in his job that he said: “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea. The other was elected vice president. And nothing was ever heard of either of them again.”

F.D.R.’s first vice president, John Nance Garner, famously characterized the job as not being worth “a warm bucket” of urine, which was euphemized in the retelling as “spit.” Hubert Humphrey saw his favor among liberals shredded by his loyalty to L.B.J., who got us deeper and deeper into Vietnam....



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