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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Still Pawlenty of reasons to think about a lawyer veep

Tim Pawlenty is, of course, a name being kicked around pretty prominently as a GOP choice for veep. The former Rider Bennett lawyer is on most short lists currently in circulation -- and the vote in Minnesota is tight enough in the polls where that selection might swing our great state one way or the other. I have no idea whether our governor will ultimately win the veepstakes -- and a part of me thinks that that the GOP might go with someone from another region -- but you never can tell. And the Republican National Convention is here this year ...

In any case, having a local lawyer's name batted around as a veep choice got me thinking -- can anyone tell me who the last lawyer vice president was? Dadadadadadada, dadadada ... da .. da. Sorry time's up. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? ...

Well, it's not Dick Cheney (although he did shoot a lawyer once). ... And it's not Al Gore, although some of you might have thought that it was. Gore is a former journalist who attended Vanderbilt University Law School from 1974-76, but never graduated. (He had a good reason for dropping out -- running for his father's old seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.)

No, I'm afraid the answer is Dan Quayle. That's right. Dan Quayle, a graduate of the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis (IU-Indy). That one really didn't work out all that well (although things may have been different if they had only taught how to spell "potato" as part of the law school curriculum ....). In the final analysis, Quayle may have gotten a bit of a raw deal from the media, but, that said, I don't think he'd be on anybody's short list for great vice presidents.

Faring much better was the last lawyer veep to serve prior to Quayle -- none other than Minnesota's own Walter Mondale. Mondale became a full-fledged advisor and a partner to President Jimmy Carter, in the process defining the role of the modern vice presidency. In fact, in one of history's little ironies, Mondale did much better with the veep job than his boss did with the top job.

So, we'd have to give a mixed review to lawyer vice presidents in the last three decades. How about a former professional wrestler instead? Kidding!


Anonymous said...

I'm sure Indiana University will be curious to find out where exactly the "University of Indiana" is.

Mark Cohen, editor said...

Fixed it.

Anonymous said...

May also want to note that it is IU-Indy and not Bloomington.

Mark Cohen, editor said...

Good point. I clarified that it's IU-Indy that's Quayle's alma mater. (Sorry Bloomington folk).