Vice Presidents Collage

Slides to Aaron Mannes Presentation on VP’s role in national security affairs

Last week I gave a talk at the Hudson Institute, previewing my case study on the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission and the vice president and foreign policy for the Project for National Security Reform. The case study is embargoed until it is published, and the audio is off record. But I was permitted to distribute my presentation slides. While the slides are only the barest bones of my presentation (and don’t included any of my jokes) they provide an overview of the changing role of the Vice President in the national security process, the nuts and bolts of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, and some points about the advantages and disadvantages of an active vice presidential role in foreign policy.

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2 Responses

  1. “Carter was the first true outsider VP and he selected an insider VP”

    Just between us, I believe you meant “President” in slide 8. As far as I know, Carter was a governor, not a Vice President. (I read a couple of his books in 1998.)

    “Without the President’s support the VP has no influence”

    You wrote the above in slide 7. The same can be said for the effectiveness of the position of Secretary of State, non?

    “Bush’s restrained response when Reagan was shot won praise”

    Unlike Secretary of State Alexander Haig. 🙂

    We all understand why Bush Sr. chose not to rely on his VP, even though he made time to have a weekly lunch with Quayle.

    Al Gore was a very effective VP due to his insider status, plus he is brilliant, although he did have delusions of grandeur at times. 🙂

    I believe Biden’s role will be greatly reduced from that of Cheney’s.


  2. Kelly –

    Thanks for spotting this mistake. I fixed it!

    Now, as to your points.

    True, the Secretary of State (and pretty much everyone) requires presidential support. But, the cabinet secretaries have substantial staff and statutory authority. With no Presidential support they can be rendered ineffective, but with modest support they have the resources to claw their way to power.

    VPs got nothing – tiny (relatively speaking) staff and no formal authority over anything.

    Bush’s behavior was very much in contrast to Haig (I mentioned this in my talk) and for his low-key approach Bush received national recognition.

    I think in fairness, Quayle was no fool (he just came off badly on TV.) He had been in the Senate for eight years and was well regarded. His staff included some very capable people such as Bill Kristol and Carnes Lord. But Bush already had Baker and Scowcroft (and Cheney and Powell) what did Quayle bring to the table that Bush pere needed.

    Gore, overall, was a solid VP who played a major role. But really an expansion of degree – not kind – over Mondale, until he took on the GCC and several similar initiatives. From the process standpoint, Gore was a capable and useful member of the administration.

    No question, Biden will play a smaller role. See this recent post ob Biden’s likely role.

    And, as always, thanks for reading!


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