It annoys me when politicians deny that they have aspirations to be elected to higher office. First it is kind of like asking a high school pitcher if he would ever consider playing in the major leagues and then being given the response “no, I feel like flunking a few grades and just hanging out here for another four years. Then maybe college. If the MLB asks, I plan on declining.” Of course they want to reach the major leagues and of course most politicians want to run the country. When you ask a politician “any thought about being Vice President or President” and they respond “no interest” they are either lying or aren’t much of a politician. Do you think they spend that much time away from their families kissing other peoples babies because they thought it would lead to hanging out at the state legislature the rest of their lives?
Every election year the media makes up an incredibly long list of people it thinks could convievably either be the presidential nominee or the vice presidential nominee. Journalists then ask, repeatedly, if the people on their list want the job. The curious thing is that everyone they ask denies they have any interest. Remember when newly elected Senator Barack Obama was asked if he would make a run for the presidency? His repeated responded was that he would still be figuring out where the Senate bathrooms were by the time the 2008 elections rolled around. I don’t know if he ever found the toilets, I do know he is now president and has found creative ways to flush our Constitution.
Today Condoleezza Rice said “There is no way’ I will be Romney’s running mate.” I wonder if Mitt Romney sat back at any point in the day and said “that’s nice, I don’t remember asking in the first place.”
When I consider the sheer number of times Florida Senator Marco Rubio has denied he wants to be the vice president and how veraciously he has sworn he won’t accept the job if asked, I cannot help but be convinced he is going to be the Vice President of the United States next year. It is almost a guarantee that the more a person says they have no interest in the job, the more they will do anything to get it.
There is part of me that understands why someone would claim they don’t want to be vice president. The job is relatively meaningless. John Adams famously said it was the “most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” But you get to travel the world, make speeches, get your picture taken and have no real responsibility other than having a pulse. That sounds like a pretty plum job for a politician. Then the VP leaves office, writes a book and sits on the board of directors for several companies who will put money in their bank account. When you consider the risk vs reward you would pretty much have to be a moron not to jump at the chance.
Meanwhile if I were a politician and someone asked me if I wanted to be president, I would have no other answer than “hell yes, of course I want to be the president. Do you think I want to be some lame Congressman for the rest of my life and die in obscurity? Of course not. So where do I sign up?” With that said, I know I would make a horrible politician.
There is a larger issue here. We all have grown to assume politicians are lying to us. The reason we do is because they keep lying to us. If a politician cannot be honest about their simple political aspirations, why wouldn’t we assume they are deceiving us on everything else? Each year we watch the same turn of events. A politician is rumored to be up for consideration for higher office. They lie about wanting that office. Then they eventually pretend like they were forced into running by some higher order or groundswell of support. Then after following the same tired script, they run on the platform that they are going to be “different” and are ready to change everything. Yet the first opportunity they had to be different, they blew it.
Common sense and simple logic should guide us all to a simple conclusion, most politicians want higher office. The real questions is if anyone wants to give it to them. There are many people on the current “list” of potential VP’s that can easily say, “no I won’t consider it because I know no one in their right mind would give it to me.” But that is much different than claiming they have no interest and would turn it down if asked. Of course they will accept. The list of people who haven’t in the history of this country is pretty short and not likely to get much longer in the near future.