IF we are to assume Mrs. Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee for President of the United States (something that is still in doubt as I write this), has anyone given any thought about who she might choose as her running mate?
Many have suggested that a good choice might be Mr. Obama or Mr. Edwards. However, given the hatred and vitriol that has been spewed in Mr. Obama’s direction from the Clinton camp over the past week in South Carolina, I should think a FAR more attractive running mate for Mrs. Clinton might simply be her husband, Bill.
After all, if it were not for Bill Clinton, would we even be HAVING a conversation about his wife, Hillary becoming President?
The thought of Bill running as Hillary’s running mate for Vice President certainly begs the obvious questions: Given the fact that he has already served two terms as President, could she, constitutionally, even have Bill Clinton on the ticket as her Vice Presidential running mate? And, furthermore, what would happen if she (and he) are subsequently elected and she can no longer serve?
Now, there are those who will categorically state such a nomination for Vice President absolutely can’t happen because Mr. Clinton is constitutionally ineligible from becoming the President again.
However, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution (the one that prohibits a President from serving more than two terms) is actually quite silent on the eligibility criteria (or the number of terms) a VICE President may serve. To wit:
“SECTION 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
The operative word here is “elected”. The Amendment is silent whether someone who has been twice elected to the Presidency can subsequently be elected to the Vice Presidency.
That is, the 22nd Amendment only states that a person may not be ELECTED to the Presidency more than twice. It does NOT rule out such a person subsequently becoming President by other means (for example through the line of succession). What’s more, there are also no restrictions anywhere in the Constitution on the number of terms a person can serve as Vice President – the two term limit only applies to the Presidency.
One possible fly in the ointment to such a scheme might be the 12th Amendment to the Constitution. It lays out the eligibility criteria for the President and Vice President by stating that, “No person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”
But, here again, the term “constitutionally ineligible” is thought to only be referring to other Presidential eligibility criteria..such as being at least 35 years of age, having been born a citizen of the United States, and having been a resident of the U.S. for at least the 14 years preceding election.
The bottom line here is that it appears NEITHER the 12th NOR the 22nd Amendments to our Constitution specifically prohibit a former two-term President from serving as Vice President.
On the other hand, up until now, as no two-term President has subsequently sought (or been thinking about seeking) the Vice-Presidency the question has never arisen. And, while it IS a bit of a circular argument, when have such issues gotten in the way of the (“it-all-depends-on-what-the-definition-of-the-word-“is”-is”) Clintons?
However, regardless of what our Constitution says, in all probability, IF Mrs. Clinton WERE to win the Presidency, (and based on Bill’s antics to date) a “co-Presidency” (official or otherwise) with husband Bill is clearly in the offing for our nation.
“May you live in interesting times” is an English translation of an old Chinese blessing (or curse as the case may be). It would now appear we are certainly living in such times. However, it is yet to be decided if those times will ultimately prove to be a blessing…or a curse.