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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And What Does a VP Do?

posted by on October 22 at 13:50 PM

This endlessness that is Palin:

The comments came in an interview with Colorado TV station KUSA in response to a third-grader’s question, “What does the Vice President do?”

“[T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom,” Palin said.

The comments have drawn criticism from Democrats and liberal blogs which note the actual role of the vice president when it comes to the Senate is simply to cast a tie-breaking vote in the event of a stalemate. According to Article I of the U.S. Constitution, the vice president is the “President” of the Senate, but has no executive position when it comes to presiding over the chamber.

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5th Grade Social Studies Fail.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 22, 2008 2:14 PM

Her views on the "flexibility" of the Vice Presidency are terrifying.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 22, 2008 2:20 PM

$150,000 = 500 rape test kits.

Posted by cochise. | October 22, 2008 2:20 PM

The VP is like Superman! Except I'm a girl. If I'm VP I will make everyone like me and make Katie Couric stand in the corner of the Oval Office and Grampa John and I can kick her!

Posted by Sarah Palin | October 22, 2008 2:24 PM

BORING! Old news...the current Palin fiasco is her lavish campaign expenditures. $150K for wardrobe, $13K for hair and makeup artist.

Posted by DanInSeattle | October 22, 2008 2:24 PM

Things like this are why I am so glad McCain chose her. She has destroyed any chance he had of winning. This campaign will also pretty but put an end to any serious future political career as well, although she may end up on Fox. The breadth of her ignorance about government and law never ceases to amaze.

Posted by inkweary | October 22, 2008 2:26 PM

At least she prays.

Posted by Bub | October 22, 2008 2:31 PM

sure, she won't attend a press conference but she'll take a question from a 3rd grader..and they all thought she didn't need cue cards..

Posted by 4f...sake | October 22, 2008 2:32 PM

That fuckin third grader is undoubtedly part of the gotcha journalism conspiracy. Kid's these day... no respect. Asking trick questions, like: "what's your job?". The nerve.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | October 22, 2008 2:42 PM

What's even more interesting is that while everyone's touting how Palin has more executive experience than Obama, the one responsibility of the VP she is able to (incorrectly) cite is legislative in nature.

Posted by w7ngman | October 22, 2008 2:44 PM

Not to be alarmist but unless I am mistaken we have not heard from Dick Cheney in months. This begs the question: Who is running the Govenrnment?

Posted by Zander | October 22, 2008 2:45 PM

What’s the difference between a Pit Bull and a Hockey Mom?

You can feed a pit-bull for 483 years with $150,000.

Posted by chet | October 22, 2008 2:49 PM

This is a dumb gotcha.

If the VP wants the VP can certainly stroll down to Capitol Hill and get in there and talk to senators and try to make things happen. Just like the president. Except for state of the union the pres. has no const. role in the senate either, but we certainly expect him/her to bend a few arms there. And when he says he'll do that we don't quibble that he's limited to vetoing and actually has no specific power to propose legislation.....
She's wrong but not so wrong really, why not focus on the ample chances she gives for attack when she's really, really wrong?

BTW another big news story is NRCC is pulling ads from MN for that congresswoman what 's her name, bachman or something, the one who said many in congress are unAmerican? Leading to her oponent getting nearly a million bucks in internet donations. That's powerful stuff and that's the way to fight back.

Instead of whining "they're calling us traitors" etc.

Yay. Us.

Unity --

Posted by PC | October 22, 2008 2:53 PM

"She's wrong but not so wrong really"

@13, no you are wrong. read those short few sentences from the constitution. and to insinuate that a 3rd grader is asking "gotcha" questions is lame.

Posted by cochise. | October 22, 2008 3:05 PM

@10 - Maybe they are "Touting" Palin's experience in crazytown but here on earth she is seen by the majority of people as a buffoon and the punch line of a joke.

Posted by WoW MoM | October 22, 2008 3:10 PM

I'm glad the kid asked the question. I've been wondering the same thing.

Posted by Bruce | October 22, 2008 3:11 PM


why not focus on the ample chances she gives for attack when she's really, really wrong?

Because, for the people I know who are mostly in the bag for McCain, “She doesn’t even know what the VP does” is a pretty successful argument, while trying to get them to change their views on policy (the areas like abortion, tax policy, etc. where we think the ticket really, really wrong) is not.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 22, 2008 3:11 PM

What disturbs me most about this is not her lack of understanding of the role of VP and not her obvious thirst for power - these things have been clear from the beginning - but that she is only repeating what she has been told by her handlers. It is one thing for Sarah Palin to think that the VP is in charge of the Senate because she is uneducated and has only recently developed an interest in politics outside of her tiny Alaskan sphere. It is quite another to see clear evidence that McCain intends his VP to continue Cheney's practice of worming his way into Congressional affairs where his office does not belong.

Posted by meg | October 22, 2008 3:28 PM

#15, by "everyone" I mean the Republican spinmeisters. Palin does have more executive experience than Obama, though, technically.

Posted by w7ngman | October 22, 2008 3:29 PM

That inflates the role of the VP quite a bit, but to be fair it's not a terrible way to describe the job to a third grader. For that audience I really wouldn't expect her to get in to the difference between being "in charge" of the Senate and being its ceremonial figurehead.

Look, Palin frightens me: she's nothing more than a female, perky version of Bush, with the ingrained resentment of "elites," and the proud ignorance and the wacky Christianism. But I don't think she's stupid. I'm sure she knows what the Constitution says about the VP, and by now has a good idea of what VPs have done in the past. And she is flat out telling us here (as she did in the debate) that Constitution and historical precedence be damned, when she's in the White House she's gonna roll up her sleeves and do some damage. And since a McCain administration would owe her for bringing out the base, they'd have to give her some latitude. Not to mention what would happen if and when McCain's mind starts to go.

Posted by MplsKid | October 22, 2008 3:40 PM

PC @13,


She wasn't merely talking about having an occasional chat with a congresscritter. She said the VP is "in charge of the US Senate". If you actually watch video of the interview (rather than reading a transcript), it is clear she thinks she'd be in charge, controlling the senate.

Maybe she's just trying to talk up the importance of her job to a 3rd grader, but what she is talking about is clearly far beyond the constitutionally mandated role of the vice president.

Being that colossally ignorant of some of the most basic tenants of the constitution is far more than a minor gotcha for someone who aspires to be the vice president. She is utterly unqualified to be anywhere near the White House.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | October 22, 2008 3:41 PM

I pray for our nation if she gets anywhere near the US Senate.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 22, 2008 4:00 PM

The President and Vice-President do not "stroll down to Capitol Hill". That's not how it works. They might in extraordinary circumstances call people in for face-to-face meetings, but normally it's staffers talking to staffers, and more usually by telephone.

Posted by Fnarf | October 22, 2008 6:05 PM

Oh, you guys mean the CONSTITUTIONAL job description of the VP.

We threw that out in 2001. I'm pretty sure Cheney gave me the memo with the new one.

Posted by Sarah P. | October 22, 2008 6:08 PM

Well the other word for those to try to influence Congress with no actual power is "lobbyist."

Sarah Palin thinks she is going to be #1 Lobbyist of America.

Posted by elenchos | October 22, 2008 9:24 PM

It would, perhaps, have been more direct to say, "Attend the funerals of foreign heads of state, break ties in Senate votes, and certify the results of Electoral College votes." However, YOU try saying that to a typical fifth-grader and then having them explain back to you what you just said.

@ 14; As PC pointed out, it's by no means unusual VP, or President, to be in contact with Senators and try to inform and influence them. The implication of the word "President" is 'someone who presides,' that is, 'knows what's going on;' not 'someone who does nothing,' or else the President of the US wouldn't be invested with so many responsiblities. The Consitution doesn't say that specifically; on the other hand, the Constitution doesn't say a lot of things specifically. It doesn't guarantee women the right to abortions, for example. Unless I missed those short few sentences which put that in there.

Posted by Seajay | October 23, 2008 6:56 AM

@26 unless you can point to a supreme court ruling on the Constitution's VP job "implications" (unlike their ruling on abortion), then your comment about Consitution specifics is lame as well.

Posted by cochise. | October 23, 2008 7:49 AM

@27; Sorry, obviously every Vice President since John Adams has misunderstood what's permitted on the job. We're glad you're here to instruct us. And we trust you'll be there to bar the Senate door to Mr Biden if he and Mr Obama are elected. Unless, of course, he's called to vote in a tie-breaker.

Posted by Seajay | October 23, 2008 12:45 PM

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