ROMNEY’S LAST DECISION?
Beth Meyers, 55, Mitt Romney’s closest aide will head the search for his Vice Presidential candidate. Myers, Romney’s chief of staff during his one term as Governor, has ample time as Romney quietly seals the nomination this Tuesday in New York. But the history behind the VP nominee has proven to be more interesting than the outcome of the election itself.
Going back a half century, the last Vice Presidential candidate to win an election for the ticket was Kennedy’s choice of Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson in 1960. Kennedy wouldn’t have carried the anti-Catholic Texas without Johnson, and without Texas, Nixon would have won.
The Vice Presidential disasters are a longer trail. Much has been written (and televised) about the game changing choice of Sarah Palin, but nothing would have saved McCain. There’s the McGovern-Eagleton fiasco of 1972, and the third party candidacy of Alabama Governor George Wallace in 1968. With the leadership of the Democratic party trying to distance itself from the segregationist, Wallace led a frantic search for a VP (which may have included Elvis) settling on retired Air Force General Curtis LeMay. That decision doomed the Wallace insurgency, although the Alabama Governor did carry five states. No third party candidate ever carried a state since.
The least noticed Vice Presidential fiasco was Ronald Reagan’s choice of Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker in 1976. It was coming down to a floor fight at the convention between President Ford and the Reagan challenge from the right. Reagan delegate counter John Sears felt that Schweiker could swing the Pennsylvania delegation away from Ford by putting the liberal Senator and husband of TV’s Romper Room host on the Reagan ticket. It backfired, and the Pennsylvania delegation, and nomination, went to Ford.
The list goes on, from Dukakis’ brilliant pick of Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, to the misstep by George W. Bush of picking Dan Quayle in 1988. But in the end, the choices by both nominees didn’t change the outcome.
Enter Romney. With polls showing a dead heat in the dozen battleground states, Romney’s team is using the 70 question form Romney filed out when McCain vetted him in 2008. Watch out Mitt, that’s the same form Sarah Palin filed out.
John O’Hara is an attorney. He lives in Brooklyn.