Of all the political posts available, none have brought upon themselves more derision than that of the Vice President. In 1977, Joel Goldstein wrote:
From John Adams on, Vice-Presidents have thought their responsibilities far inferior to their talents and have devoted substantial time to other pursuits. Richard M. Johnson spent time presiding over the affairs of his tavern rather than those of the Senate; Henry Wilson wrote more history than he made. Theodore Roosevelt planned to finish law school. Thomas Marshall told jokes.
So, when did this all change?
We owe a more active Vice President to Garret Hobart.
The “Assistant President”
Despite a critique from the Chicago Daily News that “… Hobart will not be seen or heard until, after four years, he emerges from the impenetrable vacuum of the Vice Presidency” VP Hobart became President McKinley’s confidant and aide. Though he was not included in Cabinet meetings, both McKinley and the various Cabinet Secretaries consulted him on issues surrounding such topics as the impending Spanish-American War, Philippine independence, and economics.
Vice President Biden owes his active role in Obama’s White House to VP Hobart. Biden regularly participates in Cabinet meetings, Presidential morning briefings, and has become an even more important component of Obama’s Administration in working with Republicans after the 2010 elections. We now await Romney’s choice to see who our options are for the person who will be, as John Adams said, “[I am] nothing, but [I]may be everything.”