Thursday, August 20, 2009

Questioning Some Cherces

You know, I'm not entirely down with the Republican candidates for vice-president the last twenty years.

Call me curmudgeonly; I just can't help myself.

I won't revisit Sarah Palin or Dick Cheney.

The late Jack Kemp always struck me as a decent joe and a [genuinely] compassionate conservative, and a man of great energy and conviction.

he and bob dole got smoked. by a president who never won 50% of the popular vote -- that choice may have gone down well with me and three guys from Olathe, Kansas.

So the best elected repub veep in 20 years was . . . dan quayle?

He wasn't a real . . . . successful guy at winning the hearts and minds of America.

talk about a party needing to come in from the wilderness. . . .


Mister Parker said...

I got curious, since you mentioned (as you frequently do) that Bill Clinton never won 50% of the popular vote, how many presidential elections there were with significant third party activity and what percentage of the vote the guy who eventually ended up sitting in the White House won.

There have been 16 such elections out of 56. In just four of those 3+ party elections did the winner actually receive 50% of the popular vote (Andrew Jackson, 1832; Martin van Buren, 1836; Calvin Coolidge, 1924, and Ronald Reagan, 1980).

The winner who pulled the smallest share of the popular vote? John Quincy Adams who in 1824 came in second in both popular and electoral votes to Andrew Jackson, but since Jackson didn't have enough electoral votes to win outright, it went to the House of Representatives where Adams won.

The lowest percentage for a candidate who won the presidency outright? Some guy named Abraham Lincoln in 1860 with just 39.9%

The complete results:
1824 -- John Quincy Adams, 30.9%
1832 -- Andrew Jackson, 54.2%
1836 -- Martin van Buren, 50.8%
1848 -- Zachary Taylor, 47.3%
1856 -- James Buchanan, 45.3%
1860 -- Abraham Lincoln, 39.9%
1892 -- Grover Cleveland, 46%
1912 -- Woodrow Wilson, 41.8%
1924 -- Calvin Coolidge, 54%
1948 -- Harry Truman, 49.5%
1960 -- John F. Kennedy, 49.7%
1968 -- Richard Nixon, 43.4$
1980 -- Ronald Reagan, 50.7%
1992 -- Bill Clinton, 43%
1996 -- Bill Clinton, 49.2%
2000 -- George W. Bush, 47.9%

Mister Parker said...

As for the best Republican v.p. candidate since George H.W. Bush, it depends on how you measure that sort of thing.

Of Dan Quayle, Jack Kemp, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, two were on the winning ticket (Quayle and Cheney), one of them twice (Cheney). I don't think you could say either Quayle or Cheney were instrumental in their ticket's victory. Certainly Quayle was dead weight in 1988. Cheney may have given some comfort to those who doubted Bush the Younger in 2000. I don't think he helped a lick in 2004.

None later went on to be nominated for president of the party in the tradition of, say, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bush the Elder or Bob Dole, so you can't say they were party heavyweights (although obviously Palin isn't done yet).

Cheney was the most powerful vice president in history, although not many people, even a significant number of Republicans, are all that fond of what he did with that power.

In terms of their philosophy having an impact on the party, Jack Kemp was a mixed bag. The Republican Party never embraced his ideas about a big tent or addressing poverty in a meaningful way, but they went gaga for the tax cut thing, to the point that it has become less of a policy than a one-size-fits-all fetish.

Cheney's ideas about the balance between security and civil liberties certainly held sway within the administration throughout Bush the Younger's first term. He became less and less influential as time went on and now children frequently pelt him with rotten fruit as he walks down the street.

Palin apparently coined (or introduced) the phrase "Death Panels" into the health care debate which while an utter distortion has certain had an impact. What's left of the Republican core loves her. I suspect if the Republican primaries were held today, she would be the front runner for the nomination.

Quayle was a pleasant cypher even if his wife (along with Pat Buchanan) managed to turn the 1992 Republican convention into an angry call to roll the clock back to 1948.

I have no opinion about who was the best. That's just the facts as I see them. You can apply your own value judgments to them.

Thomas Paine said...

I have no opinion about who was the best. That's just the facts as I see them. You can apply your own value judgments to them.

you appear to misunderstand the blogging convention- opinions and judgments without facts is the drill.

Plus, you defeat the purpose o' trolling questions. . . .

I guess I'll live, but jeez.

How are you on the designated hitter?

Mister Parker said...

"Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days."

Although not with you, of course ...

Thomas Paine said...

ThhHHank goodness you've redeemed yourself.


stoogepie said...

Well, Dan Quayle was highly photogenic from what I can tell. People merely called him functionally retarded at the time. So he may have entered presidential politics roughly a decade before his time.

Meanwhile, Quayle was a Hoosier. Just like Kurt Vonnegut. That means he wins. Kurt Vonnegut was the best vice presidential candidate of the last twenty years.

Note that I did not sink to the level of citing any actual facts.

Mister Parker said...

Now Kurt Vonnegut, I'd vote for ...

Sgt. Cockring said...

Hm, the "best" GOP veep of the past 20 years?

This is sort of like "Who was the best 20th-century murderous dictator? Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, or Pol Pot?"

Douglas Fairbanks said...

It's between Hitler and Mussolini -- 'stache v. bald pate.

I gotta go with Adolf -- that look is iconographic, while a bald man is more likely to be viewed as Kojak.

Thomas Paine said...

going way back to mister parker's first comment -- I *do* frequently mention Bill Clinton's failure to win 50%, and often. But in this context, as in any, it wasn't intended to question Bill's legitimacy -- or take any kind of potshot. It was to note that there was third-party activity. I shoulda said that Dole/Kemp got smoked in a year when Perot was going through his *second* insane phase. To a Pres. who two years earlier had lost the House.

I'm not sure that it mattered.

what was my point . . . ?
Maybe I like taking the piss outta ol' Bill.

In our review of his ups and downs, he always seems larger to life, and may not be remembered as the dqueaker that he was. . . .

Mister Parker said...

I looked up the vote totals (well, percentages) for 1996:

Clinton 49.24%
Dole 40.7%
Perot 8.4%

The electoral vote was more lopsided:

Clinton 379
Dole 159
Perot 0

In terms of 379 electoral votes, candidates who received more since we went to the whole fifty states in the union thing are:

George H.W. Bush 426 (1988)
Ronald Reagan 525 (1984)
Ronald Reagan 489 (1980)
Richard Nixon 520 (1972)
Lyndon Johnson 486 (1964)

So it was actually a fairly substantial woodshed whoopin', at least by the standards of the last twenty years.

Not that I care. I'm not defending anything. I have no dog in this hunt.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Well but what about Richard Milhouse (Sp?) Nixon? If Dwight hadn't picked him we wouldn't have had the Checkers speech!! And c'mon, don't be a nattering nabob & tell me Spiro (sp?) T (!) (T for what? tillerman?) Agnew wasn't an inspired choice?? :-)