- Dick Chaney put real power into the job: major influence on the President and policy, in charge in the hours after the 9/11 attacks, he argued for going to war in Iraq and has been a hawk in the campaign on the war on terrorism.
- Al Gore played a softer role -- more partner than power center -- and got big projects like re-inventing government and the internet, apparently.
- Dan Quayle never got from under the shadow of doubt as he was inexperienced and unprepared.
- The first George Bush had plenty of experience and weekly lunches with Reagan, but no one ever suggested that he made policy or wielded influence.
Sarah Palin said she will be working hard to be the point person on several issues: energy, the reform agenda, families and children with special needs. Joe Biden interestingly said he would be the legislative point man, that means getting stuff done in Washington and in Congress. Biden said he has talked it over with Obama and he will be in the room on every major decision.
During the primary campaign a lot of people were wondering if maybe the next Vice President would also be the Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense. Joe Biden last night said Barack Obama asked him if he wanted a portfolio. Biden said no, but it still seems unlikely the next Vice President will play a traditional role. We have passed the role of the Vice President simply sitting in the wings: the issues are too big, the egos are too big and the need for power is too significant; however, both of these candidates have been chosen for a reason.
This is probably more dangerous with Palin considering her relative lack of experience, but her profile on the McCain campaign, where she connects with voters, and her potential clout if she were to find her way to Washington is probably such that John McCain would seemingly find something creative and different for her to do.
After yesterday's debate, it's safe to say the next Vice President will not be the next Dan Quayle. Neither of those candidates is willing to simply wait in the wings.