Monday, May 25, 2009

in this corner...

In an unusual piece of theater, Vice President Cheney and President Obama squared in oddly scripted back to back foreign policy speeches this past Thursday. I've been thinking about the historical role of vice presidents after they leave office. Is Cheney tour de talk unusually? It's certainly in keeping with Al Gore's work critiquing the second Bush administration on environmental issues.

Excepting the 14 vice presidents who were elected president, here are some other ex-vice presidents who were particularly outspoken

Aaron Burr - As a former vice president, Burr fatally shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel and attempted to foment a revolution in the western territories of Louisiana and Texas.

John C Calhoun - After serving four years a John Quincy Adams' vice president and three plus for Andrew Jackson, Calhoun resigned to take a seat in the Senate from South Carolina. As a senator, Calhoun lead the southern campaign opposed to national efforts to limit the expansion of slavery.

John C. Breckinridge - Vice president under James Buchanan from 1857 until March 4, 1861, Bechinridge enlisted in the Confederate Army in late 1861. He was promptly expelled from a Kentucky senate seat he assumed after his term as vice president ended.

Adlai E. Stevenson - After serving as vice president with democratic president Grover Cleveland, Stevenson ran as vice president on the democratic ticket with Cleveland rival William Jennings Bryan in 1900.

Henry Wallace - Three years after ending his four year term as Franklin Roosevelt's vice president, Wallace ran for president as a progressive against Harry Truman, Thomas Dewey and Strom Thurmond. Wallace railed against Truman foreign policies, but later retreated from his critiques to support the Korean War effort.

And, Jon Stewart does a great job sending up this whole Cheney vs. Obama thing.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

White House technologies

Yesterday, Robert Gibbs got a bit irritated with reporters' cell phones.

Technology in the White House has a long history. Shaun Mullen at Kiko's Place blog has a very interesting post about Abraham Lincoln as the first technology president. Specifically he writes about Lincoln's use of the telegraph.

From the frontispiece of the 1907 book Lincoln in the Telegraph Office. This images is streamed from Mr. Lincoln's
High-Tech War
by Thomas B. Allen
Roger MacBride Allen
at and

Also Abraham Lincoln: A Technology Leader of His Time
Despite his image as a log-splitting bumpkin, technology fueled Lincoln's presidency
From US News By Henry J. Reske
Posted February 11, 2009

More from Lincoln in the Telegraph Office: Recollections of the United States Military Telegraph Corps during the Civil War: David Homer Bates at online at Google Books