Jul 9th 2016

Celebrity Apprentice:  Vice Presidential Edition

by Charles J. Reid, Jr.

Charles J. Reid, Jr. was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he majored in Latin, Classics, and History, and also did substantial coursework in classical Greek and modern European languages. It was during his undergraduate days that he developed an interest in canon law, doing a year of directed research in Roman and canon law under the supervision of James Brundage. Reid then attended the Catholic University of America, where he earned J.D. and J.C.L. (license in canon law) degrees. During his time at Catholic University, he organized a series of symposia on the bishops' pastoral letter on nuclear arms. The proceedings of these symposia were published under Reid's editorship as "Peace in a Nuclear Age: The Bishops' Pastoral Letter in Perspective" (Catholic University of America Press, 1986). This book was called by the New York Times "among the most scholarly and unsettling of responses" to the pastoral letter (December 28, 1986).Reid then attended Cornell University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the history of medieval law under the supervision of Brian Tierney. His thesis at Cornell was on the Christian, medieval origins of the western concept of individual rights. Over the last ten years, he has published a number of articles on the history of western rights thought, and is currently completing work on a book manuscript addressing this question.In 1991, Reid was appointed research associate in law and history at the Emory University School of Law, where he has worked closely with Harold Berman on the history of western law. He collaborated with Professor Berman on articles on the Lutheran legal science of the sixteenth century, the English legal science of the seventeenth century, and the flawed premises of Max Weber's legal historiography.While at Emory, Reid has also pursued a research agenda involving scholarship on the history of western notions of individual rights; the history of liberty of conscience in America; and the natural-law foundations of the jurisprudence of Judge John Noonan. He has also published articles on various aspects of the history of the English common law. He has had the chance to apply legal history in a forensic setting, serving as an expert witness in litigation involving the religious significance of Christian burial. Additionally, Reid has taught a seminar on the contribution of medieval canon law to the shaping of western constitutionalism.  Recently, Reid has become a featured blogger at the Huffington Post on current issues where religion, law and politics intersect.

A half-century ago, there was a predictable quality to the way presidential nominees selected their running mates. They would do so at their nominating conventions in a moment of often high drama. In 1960, word broke during the Republican Convention that Richard Nixon had offered the vice presidential nomination to Nelson Rockefeller. Conservatives were outraged and nearly rebelled. In the event, Rockefeller refused the offer and Nixon chose the diplomat Henry Cabot Lodge.

The 1964 Democratic convention was largely an anti-climactic affair. Incumbent President Lyndon Johnson was nominated by acclamation. The drama centered on his running mate. Would Johnson select Robert Kennedy, the late President Kennedy’s younger brother? In the end, he chose Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, who had played an instrumental role in gaining passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Conventions still supplied this kind of drama into the 1980’s. Before Ronald Reagan selected George H.W. Bush as his running mate at the 1980 Republican Convention, there was a brief boomlet to nominate former President Gerald Ford for vice president. When Jesse Jackson delegates at the 1988 Democratic Convention indicated that they would support their candidate for vice president, it was decided to give the nomination to Lloyd Bentsen by voice vote and avoid the potential problems of a roll call.

Over the decades, the selection process evolved. Vice presidential candidates now undergo a far more extensive vetting process than they did half a century ago. And as a result, decisions are often made earlier in the selection process.

Thus Bill Clinton chose Al Gore as his running mate a few days before the Convention in 1992. Bob Dole asked Jack Kemp to run with him a week before the Republican Convention in 1996. And who can forget Dick Cheney, who was serving as the chair of George W. Bush’s search committee for a running mate in 2000? The name he finally forwarded to Bush was his own, and Bush settled on Cheney a week before the 2000 Republican Convention commenced.

We seem, however, to be entering another new phase in the choosing of vice presidential candidates — the casting call. We have seen signs of this in both parties, though it is more prominent in the Republican. Consider Donald Trump and the candidates whom he has been looking at for the number two slot.

Earlier this week, we saw Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee go out for a test drive with The Donald. Corker has a reputation for seriousness. He was a real estate developer in Chattanooga before entering public life, so had that much in common with Trump. But since securing election to the Senate in 2006, he has established a reputation for himself on foreign policy thanks to his chairing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Unlike Trump, he was a hawk on Iraq. While Corker’s positions can be criticized — I certainly take issue with many of his stances — he can be an articulate defender of a traditionally assertive and conservative foreign policy.

Still, he submitted to auditioning for the role of running mate. He spoke to a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, told the crowd that they had every right to be excited about Donald Trump, and was praised in turn by Trump. The two men got on well, it seemed, but then Corker withdrew his name from consideration. On the way out the door, he suggested that maybe Trump’s daughter Ivanka should be his running mate.

The next night, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump campaigned together in suburban Cincinnati. Gingrich has long been at the center of rumors about the vice presidency. On paper, he has some strong credentials as a long-time member of the House of Representatives and a former House Speaker. Still, there are huge negatives. Between them, Trump and Gingrich have six marriages. Gingrich was reprimanded for ethics violations by the House of Representatives in 1997 and required to reimburse the House for the costs of the investigation. His impeachment of Bill Clinton caused him further embarrassment, and he eventually resigned from the Speakership and from the House.

On the other hand, if one watches the video of Gingrich introducing Trump in Ohio, one cannot fail to notice a certain rapport between the two men. Gingrich has many very large flaws. He has led an ethically challenged life. He has been on both sides of any number of issues (most recently, he abandoned his career-long embrace of free trade). Justifiably, he makes an inviting target for Democrats. Still, I can envision Trump selecting Gingrich as his running mate.

Trump has also been rumored to have Governor Mike Pence of Indiana on his short list, though they have yet to do any campaign appearances. I expect that if Pence becomes a serious contender for the number two position, that we will Trump taking him for a public audition. Pence is an establishment-conservative type. He tepidly supported Ted Cruz in the primaries. He has strong connections with the evangelical wing of the party. Still, I have a hard time imagining Trump selecting Pence. Pence is not a nationally known figure, and Indiana, his home state, is already likely to go Republican.

If I had to make a prediction, I would say that Trump will probably choose Newt Gingrich. I could never vote for that ticket. I find many of the positions both men have taken absolutely anathema. Trump has coarsened American politics. He has torn the veneer off American political culture and has revived ugly racist, xenophobic ways of acting and talking that we have not seen since the 1930’s. Gingrich proved during his long tenure in Congress that he was much better at tearing down than building up. The two candidates are somehow made for each other, though their election would be disastrous for America.

But Trump is not the only candidate hosting casting-calls for running mate. While she has been more subtle about it, Hillary Clinton is engaged in the same process. And since this is an auditioning process that is clearly all about eliciting public feedback, I shall offer some insights on my two favorites.

I would encourage Clinton to think seriously about Elizabeth Warren as her running mate. There are now two wings of the Democratic Party, the progressive and the establishment. Elizabeth Warren knows the hymn book of the progressive movement. When she speaks about social justice, she catches people’s attention. And social justice is, or should be, the central issue of the 2016 election.

Xavier Becerra is the other candidate I favor. I have enjoyed watching his own quietly strong performance. He was particularly effective on the talk shows the weekend Clinton was interviewed by the FBI. Methodically, convincingly, he offered a strong defense of Clinton when she most needed it.

Like Warren, Becerra comes from the progressive wing of the Party. He has been a strong defender of Social Security and Medicare. And he would be ready to assume the burdens of the presidency, which is always the most solemn and important duty of any vice president.

Who will it be? The drama is building.



 


This article is brought to you by the author who owns the copyright to the text.

Should you want to support the author’s creative work you can use the PayPal “Donate” button below.

Your donation is a transaction between you and the author. The proceeds go directly to the author’s PayPal account in full less PayPal’s commission.

Facts & Arts neither receives information about you, nor of your donation, nor does Facts & Arts receive a commission.

Facts & Arts does not pay the author, nor takes paid by the author, for the posting of the author's material on Facts & Arts. Facts & Arts finances its operations by selling advertising space.

 

 

Browse articles by author

More Essays

Apr 8th 2021
EXTRACT: "Pollock’s universe, the universe of Mural, cannot be said to be a rational universe. Nor is it simply devoid of all sense. It is not a purely imaginary world, although in it everything is in a constant state of flux. Mural invokes one of the oldest questions of philosophy, a question going back to the Pre-Socratic philosophers Parmenides and Heraclitus – namely, whether the nature of Reality constitutes unchanging permanence or constant movement and flux. For Pollock, the only thing that is truly unchanging is change itself. The only certainty is that all is uncertain."
Apr 8th 2021
EXTRACT: "Many present day politicians appear to have psychopathic and narcissistic traits too. It’s easy to spot such leaders, because they are always authoritarian, following hardline policies. They try to subvert democracy, to reduce the freedom of the press and clamp down on dissent. They are obsessed with national prestige, and often persecute minority groups. And they are always corrupt and lacking in moral principles."
Apr 6th 2021
EXTRACT: "This has led some to claim that not just half, but perhaps nearly all advertising money is wasted, at least online. There are similar results outside of commerce. One review of field experiments in political campaigning argued “the best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates choices in general elections is zero”. Zero!"
Mar 30th 2021
EXTRACT: "The Father is an extraordinary film, from Florian Zeller’s 2012 play entitled Le Père and directed by Zeller. I’m here to tell you why it is a ‘must see’." EDITOR'S NOTE: The official trailer is attached to the review.
Mar 28th 2021
EXTRACT: "Picasso was 26 in 1907, when he completed the Demoiselles; de Kooning was 48 in 1952, when he finished Woman I.  The difference in their ages was not an accident, for studies of hundreds of painters have revealed a striking regularity - the conceptual painters who preconceive their paintings, from Raphael to Warhol, consistently make their greatest contributions earlier in their careers than experimental painters, from Rembrandt to Pollock, who paint directly, without preparatory studies."
Mar 26th 2021
EXTRACT: "Mental toughness levels are influenced by many different factors. While genetics are partly responsible, a person’s environment is also relevant. For example, both positive experiences while you’re young and mental toughness training programmes have been found to make people mentally tougher."
Mar 20th 2021

The city of Homs has been ravaged by war, leaving millions of people homeless an

Mar 20th 2021
EXTRACT: "There are two main rival models of ethics: one is based on rights, the other on duties. The rights-based model, which traces its philosophical origins to the work of John Locke in the 17th century, starts from the assumption that individuals have rights ....... According to this approach, duties are related to rights, but only in a subordinate role. My right to health implies a duty on my country to provide some healthcare services, to the best of its abilities. This is arguably the dominant interpretation when philosophers talk about rights, including human rights." ........ "Your right to get sick, or to risk getting sick, could imply a duty on others to look after you during your illness." ..... "The pre-eminence of rights in our moral compass has vindicated unacceptable levels of selfishness. It is imperative to undertake a fundamental duty not to get sick, and to do everything in our means to avoid causing others to get sick. Morally speaking, duties should come first and should not be subordinated to rights." ..... "Putting duties before rights is not a new, revolutionary idea. In fact it is one of the oldest rules in the book of ethics. Primum non nocere, or first do no harm, is the core principle in the Hippocratic Oath historically taken by doctors, widely attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher and physician Hippocrates. It is also a fundamental principle in the moral philosophy of the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, who in De Officiis (On Duties) argues that the first task of justice is to prevent men and women from causing harm to others."
Mar 18th 2021
EXTRACT: "Several studies have recently compared the difference between antibodies produced straight after a coronavirus infection and those that can be detected six months later. The findings have been both impressive and reassuring. Although there are fewer coronavirus-specific antibodies detectable in the blood six months after infection, the antibodies that remain have undergone significant changes. …….. the “mature” antibodies were better at recognising the variants."
Mar 15th 2021
EXTRACT: "Like Shakespeare, Goya sees evil as something existing in itself – indeed, the horror of evil arises precisely from its excess. It overflows and refuses to be contained by or integrated into our categories of reason or comprehension. By its very nature, evil refuses to remain within prescribed bounds – to remain fixed, say, within an economy where evil is counterbalanced by good. Evil is always excess of evil." ....... "Nowhere is this more evident than in war. Goya offers us a profound and sustained meditation on the nature of war ........ The image of a Napoleonic soldier gazing indifferently on a man who has been summarily hanged, probably by his own belt, expresses the tragedy of war – its dehumanization of both war’s victims and victors."
Mar 14th 2021
EXTRACT: "A blockchain company has bought a piece of Banksy artwork and burnt it. But instead of destroying the value of the art, they claim to have made it more valuable, because it was sold as a piece of blockchain art. The company behind the stunt, called Injective Protocol, bought the screen print from a New York gallery. They then live-streamed its burning on the Twitter account BurntBanksy. But why would anyone buy a piece of art just to burn it? Understanding the answer requires us to delve into the tricky world of blockchain or “NFT” art."
Mar 14th 2021
EXTRACT: "Exercise is good for your health at every age – and you can reap the benefits no matter how late in life you start. But our latest research has shown another benefit of being physically active throughout life. We found that in the US, people who were more physically active as teenagers and throughout adulthood had lower healthcare costs."
Mar 10th 2021
EXTRACT: "Although around one in 14 people over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, there’s still no cure, and no way to prevent the disease from progressing. But a recent study may bring us one step closer to preventing Alzheimer’s. The trial, which was conducted on animals, has found a specific molecule can prevent the buildup of a toxic protein known to cause Alzheimer’s in the brain."
Feb 24th 2021
EXTRACT: "The art historian George Kubler observed that scholars in the humanities “pretend to despise measurement because of its ‘scientific’ nature.” As if to illustrate his point Robert Storr, former dean of Yale’s School of Art, declared that artistic success is “completely unquantifiable.” In fact, however, artistic success can be quantified, in several ways. One of these is based on the analysis of texts produced by art scholars, and this measure can give us a systematic understanding of how changes in recent art have produced changes in the canon of art history."
Feb 24th 2021
EXTRACT: "The most politically sensitive option we looked at was the virus escaping from a laboratory. We concluded this was extremely unlikely."
Feb 16th 2021
EXTRACT: ".... these men were completely unaware that they had put their lives in the hands of doctors who not only had no intention of healing them but were committed to observing them until the final autopsy – since it was believed that an autopsy alone could scientifically confirm the study’s findings. As one researcher wrote in a 1933 letter to a colleague, “As I see, we have no further interest in these patients until they die.” ...... The unquestionable ethical failure of Tuskegee is one with which we must grapple, and of which we must never lose sight, lest we allow such moral disasters to repeat themselves. "
Feb 14th 2021
EXTRACT: "In 2010 Carlos Rodriguez, the president of Buenos Aires' Universidad del CEMA, created the world's first - and only - Center for Creativity Economics.  During the next ten years, the CCE presented a number of short courses and seminars.  But the most important of its events was an annual lecture by an Argentine artist, who was given a Creative Career Award."
Feb 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "It’s not hard to see why. Although AI systems outperform humans in tasks that are often associated with a “high level of intelligence” (playing chess, Go, or Jeopardy), they are nowhere close to excelling at tasks that humans can master with little to no training (such as understanding jokes). What we call “common sense” is actually a massive base of tacit knowledge – the cumulative effect of experiencing the world and learning about it since childhood. Coding common-sense knowledge and feeding it into AI systems is an unresolved challenge. Although AI will continue to solve some difficult problems, it is a long way from performing many tasks that children undertake as a matter of course."
Feb 7th 2021
EXTRACT: "When it comes to being fit and healthy, we’re often reminded to aim to walk 10,000 steps per day. This can be a frustrating target to achieve, especially when we’re busy with work and other commitments. Most of us know by now that 10,000 steps is recommended everywhere as a target to achieve – and yet where did this number actually come from?"
Feb 5th 2021
EXTRACT: "This so-called elite supposedly conspires to monopolise academic employment and research grants. Its alleged objective is to deny divine authority, and the ultimate beneficiary and prime mover is Satan.Such beliefs derive from the doctrine of biblical infallibility, long accepted as integral to the faith of numerous evangelical and Baptist churches throughout the world, including the Free Church of Scotland. But I would argue that the present-day creationist movement is a fully fledged conspiracy theory. It meets all the criteria, offering a complete parallel universe with its own organisations and rules of evidence, and claims that the scientific establishment promoting evolution is an arrogant and morally corrupt elite."