We now have a major drama unfolding around John McCain's choice for VP. A governor having only just assumed the reins of their office, only having been previously elected to smattering of lesser offices, has now been nominated for the second highest office in the nation. It is easy to forget that this has happened before.
Here is the resume of one of our former vice presidents:
- Age 23: Elected to state legislature. Served 5 years.
- Age 31: After a short break from public life, he accepts a commission posting on a presidential commission where he serves for 4 years.
- Age 35: Becomes president of his city's board of police commissioners. Serves 2 years in this position.
- Age 37: Accepts a role as assistant secretary of a federal agency. Serves only 2 years when war breaks out and he elects to serve.
- Age 40: Runs for and wins state governor's race.
- Age 42: After only 2 years serving as the governor of his state, he is chosen as his party's vice presidential nominee.
After serving for only two years as a state governor, this man was chosen by his party as its vice presidential nominee.
Only two years holding a top-level office, combined with a smattering of other short stints in lower level positions, and this man was being placed a heartbeat away from the presidency! What were our predecessors thinking?
Of course it sounds familiar, but who is this mysterious person? You're probably thinking that you shouldn't feel stupid for not knowing. After all, with such a weak resume, they could have only been a footnote to history; a bystander in the White House.
The career I outlined is that of Teddy Roosevelt.
Yes, that Teddy Roosevelt. The one who would assume the presidency after President McKinley's assassination and go on to have his face carved into a South Dakota mountainside.
Roosevelt's choice as vice president is not judge to have been smart because he was the right choice "on paper". It was the right choice because of of the strength of his character. Experience matters less than how a person will make choices and from an early age, throughout his public life, Roosevelt demonstrated in word and deed that he was a man of action who would challenge and seek to demolish the forces that threatened to weaken our nation.
It is not right to say that Sarah Palin, should we be fortunate enough to call her Vice President after the election, would achieve the same kind of historical greatness that did Roosevelt. But she has the same mettle and instinct to wade into the fray and stand up to power when power is wrong. That is the kind of strength it will take to change America and remind ourselves how great this country truly is.