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Ten of the last twenty presidents, dating back to 1900, have been forced from office or come close: one was forced to resign (Nixon), one was impeached (Clinton), two were assassinated (Kennedy and McKinley), one was shot (Reagan), one was shot at twice in three weeks (Ford), two died in office of natural causes (FDR and Harding), one was incapacitated by a stroke (Wilson), and one nearly died of a massive heart attack (Eisenhower). If you go back to the 19th century, the record unsurprisingly gets worse. As for vice presidents since 1900, not only have five taken office (Ford, LBJ, Truman, Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt), but four others have been nominated for the presidency while sitting (George H.W. Bush won, Richard Nixon lost and then won later, and Hubert Humphery and Al Gore lost – with Gore and Nixon losing two of the closest races in history and Humphery losing a tight three-way race), and one other (Walter Mondale) was nominated four years later. Losing vice presidential nominees have mostly not gone on to better things, but a few have – FDR came back to win the presidency 12 years later, Earl Warren became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court five years later, Bob Dole was nominated for the presidency 20 years later, and Lloyd Bentsen moved laterally to become Treasury Secterary five years later. Others, like Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman, saw their national profiles greatly raised by the experience; Lieberman, Edmund Muskie and John Edwards all ran presidential campaigns four years later, with varying degrees of impact on the race.
All of which is a way of saying that Mitt Romney’s choice of a running mate could have very important repercussions whether or not that choice makes much impact on the outcome of the 2012 election. Romney seems to be a man of unusual health, vigor and personal ethics, and so less likely than most to leave the Oval Office before his term is out if he’s elected, but he’s also 65 years old; things happen. Given that the outcome of the election remains uncertain, we should therefore be rightly concerned with his choice. Let’s take a look at a couple of the considerations on the table, and why I ultimately think Paul Ryan is the best choice under the circumstances.
It seems harmless enough when an airline offers their customers “green indulgences” in the form of carbon credits when buying a ticket. The credits are intended to resolve the guilt the customer is supposed to feel for his wanton use of fossil fuels. In practice, the credits have become a perverse incentive for practices that are exactly opposite what the U.N. intended when it created the system.
It works like this: carbon credits can be traded for cash. You earn one credit for destroying or sequestering a ton of carbon dioxide (CO2). Some other gases have stronger greenhouse effect than CO2, and so are worth more in carbon credits. A ton of methane counts for 21 tons of CO2, nitrous oxide 310. It’s a huge market.
The Left does what it always does and assumes that all problems under the sun are caused by the Iniquitous GOP and their fleet of black helicopters flying missions from a Death Star equipped with E-Coli Rays. It’s always a case where the Konservatives just won’t let government spend money because they want the rich to keep it all buried in Mason jars in Sheldon Anderson’s backyard. The fact that government spending has been almost constantly skyrocketing since 1960 (over the same period of time that young Americans have suffered a tragic reversal of fortunes) is flushed down some Orwellian memory hole.