Yesterday, CBS Radio news led off the top of the lunch hour with a statement about how Sen. McCain was going to be upset with his friend, Sen. Chuck Hagel, because he said that Gov. Palin was not qualified to be running for Vice President.
And I just shook my head.
According to the U.S. Constitution, Amendment XII, the qualifications for Vice President are the same as those for President:
But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.
So far, I haven’t found where Gov. Palin is unqualified for the office of Vice President.
Well, I Just Feel that She’s Unqualified
I was tempted to end the post right there, because (for me) that settles this question. The problem is that we’ve attached other meaning to the word “qualification”. I seriously don’t think that these elected officials really mean that they think that she doesn’t meet the Constitutional Qualifications. I mean, that’s a whole different charge (and you’ll be able to educate them at the end of this post…)
I believe what they’re trying to say is that they have a set of beliefs about what a person running for a given office should be. In effect, they have a proto-Vice President in their mind, much like the single guy has a list of qualities in his mind when he’s looking for a wife. I mean, if the girl is single and is a girl, she’s qualified to be his wife—whether or not he wants her, or she possess qualities that he desires is a different question all together.
So, What Do I Care If She Doesn’t Fit Your List of Qualities
So, we’re back to Hagel. What do I care if Sen. Hagel doesn’t believe that Gov. Palin doesn’t possess the qualities that he views as necessary for a VP? Seriously, what should I care about that?
What I’m really asking is, why do I care how you will vote or your opinion—or anyone else’s opinion—of a nominee? The truth is, I don’t.
There are few people that could influence me to consider that someone running for the VP slot1 was enough to make me vote for someone I totally disagree with.
I mean, seriously, the VP (in my mind) is a learning post as much as it’s a position of authority.
A Limiting Factor
Lastly, I’m concerned about this discussion because it adds so much to the Constitution so as to take out of the hands of the individual the possibility that they could achieve high office.
What people who equate their qualities for President or Vice President are actually saying is “What the Constitution said about President is naïve. Not just anyone can be President—you have to hold these positions, you have to be an expert on these topics, etc.”
The truth is that Presidents have cabinets for a reason. I look at the President’s character higher, who he is, what he believes, etc. for the exact reason that there will be many things that come up and the President’s resolve, his core beliefs, and the people he surrounds himself with are going to be very important.
No President or Vice President is an island, and setting them up to be larger than life (an American Idol if you will) is exactly the opposite of what the Founders wanted. They wanted a servant, not a rock star.
Vote in the PBS Poll
So, PBS has a poll, and these intelligent people are voting that she’s not qualified. Please feel free to educate them…
- How ludicrous is it to, and how novel, to try to cast a vote as wrong for a ticket simply because of the #2 person. Most of the time we just ignore the VP. Who was seriously thinking if Cheney was going to be President? Who voted for Bush 41 based on whether Quayle was qualified to be VP?