Vice Presidents And Precedents
In today’s installment of “The Daily Politics” on the New York Daily News‘ blog, columnist Elizabeth Benjamin quotes a conversation with Ed Cox concerning Governor Palin’s selection for the veep slot on the McCain ticket.
Ed, of course, was RN’s son-in-law. He is now a lawyer in Manhattan and serving as Senator McCain’s New York State Chairman.
“A vice presidential candidate can learn those things, once they’re vice president, can learn them very quickly,” said Cox, who married Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, in the White House Rose Garden 1971 (his father-in-law called him “Eddie”) and later traveled with Nixon during his post-presidential trips abroad as an elder statesman.
“As vice president, Nixon, after he was elected vice president, he was sent on an around the world trip by Eisenhower,” Cox continued. “By the time that was over, he understood the way the world worked.”
When it was pointed out that this pro-Palin argument seems to undercut the GOP’s criticism of Barack Obama as too inexperienced for a job that is too important to allow for any on-the-job training, Cox replied that a straight comparison of Obama to McCain leaves “no doubt who has the best experience on the international stage,” adding: “The important thing is the presidential candidate because we’re electing a president of the United States.”
RN and PN had honeymooned in Mexico and they visited Cuba during a Caribbean cruise before he served in the South Pacific during World War Two. His first trip to Europe was with the Herter Commission in 1947 — and those few weeks made an impression on him that lasted a lifetime.
But the ’53 trip was his real baptism by fire. Hitherto he had shown an interest and demonstrated an aptitude. It was this marathon trip during his first year as Vice President that was the real beginning of his mastery of the field. Its importance is underscored by the seventeen pages he devotes to it in RN – by far the longest such narration in a book that his whole life up to 1974. As he concluded:
The 1953 trip had two lasting results. During those sixty-nine days I was able to meet not only those in power, but many of the younger up-and-coming generation whose areas developed over the next two decades as did my own. Each time I returned to these counties —as Vice President, as a private citizen, and then as President— I found that I was often dealing with people I had met on this first trip. The relationships that even those few early meetings had established and what learned through these contacts were tremendously important to the development of my thinking about foreign affairs. It was as a result of this trip, too, that I knew that foreign policy was a field in which I had great interest and at least some ability.