Should A Veep Be Boring?

Joel Goldstein shakes his head:

The belief that a vice presidential candidate must be boring comes in part from our tendency to remember as unexciting some candidates whose selection or campaign performance were viewed quite differently at the time.

Former Vice President Al Gore frequently portrayed himself as wooden and wonkish, the master of the stationary Macarena. Yet Bill Clinton’s unorthodox choice of a fellow southern centrist from the baby boomer generation was a galvanizing move. The announcement was electric, beyond the expectations of the Clinton campaign. It reinforced aspects of Clinton’s own biography to such an extent that the Clintons and Gores embarked on political, double date bus tours, which were then a novelty in presidential campaigns. The visual image of two able, young southern centrists promised change in a way that Clinton’s presence alone could not. Clinton’s choice of Gore helped define and propel his campaign.