Correction/Author's Clarification: Since I wrote this, Time has added two vice presidents to its list, one of them Henry Wallace. There were originally 13 VPs named; now there are 15. The cache page of the first VP listed, Aaron Burr, shows him as "1 of 13." I don't know for how long that will be shown. Is someone at Time reading NewsBusters?
Time Magazine names the "Worst Vice Presidents in U.S. History." It's explained: "As the nation waits for John McCain and Barack Obama to announce their running mates, TIME looks back at the worst ever to occupy the nation's second highest office."
Any such list by its very nature is nothing more than subjective opinion. And in Time's opinion, every vice president in this century who warrants such scorn is a Republican. Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney are on the list.
Perhaps Time overlooked one of Franklin Roosevelt's vice presidents, Henry Wallace. Surely Time knows about Wallace; in 1965 the magazine described him as having been in 1948 "a candidate and captive of the Communist-dominated Progressive Party."
And what of Lyndon Johnson, who mysteriously became a multimillionaire while earning only a modest government salary? And "won" a major election under equally mysterious circumstances. As Time itself reported, Johnson in one county received 4,622 votes. His opponent got 40.
Then there's Walter Mondale. Time disdains Dan Quayle for his alleged stupidity, but it was Mondale who brilliantly proclaimed "that four years of Ronald Reagan has made this world more dangerous. Four more will take us closer to the brink." He also asserted that "Reagan operates from fundamentally flawed premises about preventing war and keeping peace."
Finally there's the miracle man, Al Gore. He was able to collect huge donations from Buddhist monks and nuns who had taken vows of poverty. Even Time reported:
Vice President Al Gore claims to have been entirely unaware that an April luncheon he attended at a Buddhist temple in California was an illegal fund raiser. With a face as straight as only his can be, Gore said in a radio interview last week that he thought the function, organized by Huang and the D.N.C., was a "community-outreach" event. More observant guests, however, have said it was plain to them that what was reaching out was an open palm. Attendees included deep-pocketed members of the local Asian-American community. The D.N.C. says it collected $140,000.
Maybe, just maybe, there could have been a Democrat who qualified for Time's evaluation. But no. Time's list of terrible vice presidents should be taken no more seriously than many of the other articles it publishes.