VICE PRESIDENTS – THE ULTIMATE SECOND BANANAS

John Adams

John Adams called the Vice Presidency “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived.” A very old joke went “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea and the other became Vice President. Neither was ever heard from again.”

In George S Kaufman’s and Morrie Ryskind’s classic stage work Of Thee I Sing one of the characters turns down an offer to be Vice President because he’s ashamed to have his mother know. He’s persuaded to accept the office when it’s pointed out that if he doesn’t tell her about it she’ll never find out.

The office has featured eminently forgettable figures as well as comic relief buffoons like Dan “The Global Village Idiot” Quayle and Joe “Koo Koo For Cocoa Puffs” Biden. In the light-hearted style of Balladeer’s Blog’s look at U.S. Presidents here’s a look at the men who got to hang around and see if the country’s Chief Executive wound up six feet under. I’m omitting VP’s who went on to actually become President, so no John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, etc. Happy Presidents Day Weekend! 

aaron-burrAARON BURR

Served Under: Jefferson 

Noted for: Shooting dead more Treasury Secretaries and hatching more plots to start his own country than any other Vice President. (So far, anyway.)

Best Burr Quote: “I’m still searching for the real killers of Alexander Hamilton.” 

GEORGE CLINTON

Served Under: Jefferson and Madison

Noted for: P-Funk and Funkadelic Leading American Rebel forces against the British troops of his loyalist cousin Sir Henry Clinton during the Revolutionary War.

Best Clinton Quote: “Do fries go with that shake?”

Elbridge GerryELBRIDGE GERRY

Served Under: Madison

Noted for: Pioneering the method of “Gerrymandering” political districts in a way that the modern day Democrats and Republicans have raised to a mainstay in the world of white collar crime which they inhabit.

Best Gerry Quote: “I’ll be immortalized as the man who invented Elbridge-mandering!”

DANIEL D TOMPKINS

Served Under: Monroe

Noted for: Being ruined by a scandal in which he was mistakenly accused of pocketing some of the funds he raised to conduct the War of 1812. Years later it was all revealed to be an accounting error.

Best Tompkins Quote: “I TOLD that bastard to carry the two!”

John C CalhounJOHN C CALHOUN

Served Under: JQ Adams and Jackson

Noted for: Siding with his state over his country during the Nullification Crisis and for becoming the first Vice President to resign. Also for looking like a drummer from a 1980s Hair Metal Band.

Best Calhoun Quote: “WHO said I was crazy? It was the dwarves, wasn’t it!”

RICHARD M JOHNSON

Served Under: Van Buren

Noted for: Supposedly killing the Native American leader Tecumseh during the War of 1812 and for being labeled the most vulgar man in the world by the doorman of the U.S. Senate!!! Plus you have to love one of the campaign songs that was used for the Van Buren/ Johnson ticket: “Rumpsy Dumpsy/ Rumpsy Dumpsy/ Colonel Johnson/ Killed Tecumsy.” I’m not kidding.  

Best Johnson Quote: “Hasta la vista … Tecumsy.”

GEORGE M DALLAS

Served Under: Polk

Noted for: Having the most famous city in Texas named in honor of him during the Mexican War. If the people involved had gone with the President instead of Vice President the Ewings would have been featured in a tv show called Polk.

Best Dallas Quote: “They DO know I’m not the President, right?”

William R D KingWILLIAM R D KING

Served Under: Pierce

Noted for: His alleged homosexual affairs with male slaves on his Alabama plantation and with future U.S. President James Buchanan. Also for dying just six weeks after taking office, most of which time he spent convalescing in Cuba. Yes, Cuba.

Best King Quote: “Let’s see Milo Yiannopoulos beat MY record!”

JOHN C BRECKENRIDGE

Served Under: Buchanan

Noted for: Being an inept Confederate General in the Civil War right after his term in office ended.  

Best Breckenridge Quote: “History will remember me for being as great a General as James Buchanan was a President.”

hannibal-hamlinHANNIBAL HAMLIN

Served Under: Lincoln

Noted for: Serving in the Maine Coast Guard while also serving as Vice President since the Civil War was raging at the time. He served as a PRIVATE (!) and cooked food for his unit.

Best Hamlin Quote: “Breaking that tie vote in the Senate will have to wait, dammit! I’ve got BEANS on the burner!” 

SCHUYLER “The Smiler” COLFAX

Served Under: Grant 

Noted for: Four words – the Credit Mobilier Scandal.

Best Colfax Quote: “I foresee a time when a female Secretary of State will be selected as a major party’s presidential candidate despite being 100 times more crooked than I am.”

Henry Wilson, Vice PresidentHENRY WILSON

Served Under: Grant

Noted for: Suffering as an indentured servant from age 10 to 21 and for having two strokes while serving as Vice President. The second stroke was fatal.

Best Wilson Quote: “That’s one damned difficult par fiiiiiii – “

WILLIAM A WHEELER

Served Under: Hayes

Noted for: Being too honest to be bought by the Credit Mobilier Corporation, making him about the only person in Washington to escape being tainted by the ensuing scandal.

Best Wheeler Quote: “And tell that Nigerian Prince I’m not interested, either.”

THOMAS A HENDRICKS

Served Under: Cleveland

Noted for: Publicly advocating that his own running mate should drop out of the race (over the scandal surrounding Cleveland fathering a child out of wedlock) because he hoped he would thus become his party’s de facto Presidential candidate.

Best Hendricks Quote: “I was KIDDING, Grover! Can’t you take a joke, for Christ’s sake?”

Levi P MortonLEVI P MORTON

Served Under: B Harrison

Noted for: Ticking off President Harrison and his administration so much with his favoritism to the opposition party that he was bumped from the ticket for Harrison’s failed campaign for reelection. The opposition party, which had played Morton like a piano when he would preside over the Senate, gave their pawn a farewell reception.

Best Morton Quote: “I’m titling my autobiography Levi Morton: The First RINO!”

ADLAI STEVENSON

Served Under: Cleveland, Round Two

Noted for: Being an ancestor of M*A*S*H’s MacLean Stevenson as well as the Adlai Stevenson who got crushed by Eisenhower in two presidential elections. 

Best Stevenson Quote: “Americans will never elect a man with a hole in his shoe as President.” (Hey, he was right!)

GARRETT A HOBART

Served Under: McKinley

Noted for: Using his Vice Presidential tie-breaking vote in the Senate to cast the deciding vote to make the Philippines a U.S. protectorate instead of granting them the independence the Filipinos had fought Spain for.

Best Hobart Quote: “I never did find out who that Philip Enos was, come to think of it.”

Charles W FairbanksCHARLES W FAIRBANKS

Served Under: T Roosevelt

Noted for: Working with Speaker of the House “Uncle” Joe Cannon in a futile attempt to undermine the legislative agenda of the extremely popular president he served under. House of Cards goes to the early 1900s! Also, Fairbanks, AK is named after him.

Best Fairbanks Quote: “Even I take a back seat to that treacherous bastard Paul Ryan.”

JAMES “Sunny Jim” SHERMAN

Served Under: Taft 

Noted for: Manipulation behind the scenes to increase the hostility between Taft and former president Theodore Roosevelt. The plan succeeded but did nothing to advance Sherman’s ambitions to become President himself some day. It’s The Rule of Two I guess – One to hold power and one to covet it.

Best Sherman Quote: “President Taft, did you hear what that bitch Teddy Roosevelt said about you last night?”

THOMAS R MARSHALL

Served Under: Wilson

Noted for: The old saying “What this country needs is a good five cent cigar” and for sending condolences to his successor as Vice President. Also for not forcing a Constitutional crisis when Woodrow Wilson was so debilitated by a stroke that many were urging Marshall to assume the presidency by claiming Wilson was no longer fit for office.   

Best Marshall Quote: “Hell, that lame League of Nations idea should have been our first clue that Woodrow had had a stroke.”

CHARLES “Hell ‘N’ Maria” DAWES

Served Under: Coolidge

Noted for: Winning a Nobel Peace Prize back when it meant something to win one and for speaking out against the Ku Klux Klan in an age when it was politically risky to do so. His nickname came early in his career from some of his famed testimony regarding military spending during World War One.

Best Dawes Quote: “At least my ancestor FINISHED his Midnight Ride, not like that pussy Paul Revere!”

CHARLES CURTIS

Served Under: Hoover

Noted for: Being one\eighth Kaw Indian via his great- grandmother, who probably would have done a better job managing the economy than either Hoover OR Curtis.  

Best Curtis Quote: “Yondah lies da castle of my faddah.” (Sorry, that’s the best TONY Curtis quote.)

John Nance GarnerJOHN NANCE “Cactus Jack” GARNER

Served Under: FD Roosevelt

Noted for: Helping to smooth the congressional path for much of FDR’s New Deal legislation and for opposing FDR’s court-packing scheme. Also for drinking bourbon and branch water with various Congressmen back when he was Speaker of the House.

Best Garner Quote: “They called me Cactus Jack … just like the Official Mixed Drink of Frontierado!”

HENRY A WALLACE

Served Under: Roosevelt

Noted for: Being the flaky, air-headed Jerry Brown of his political era. If Wallace was alive today he’d be calling Psychic hotlines and probably be a practicing Wiccan.

Best Wallace Quote: “They will bury us.” (Well, I’m sure he would have said it if he had the chance.)

ALBEN W BARKLEY

Served Under: Truman

Noted for: His grandson coining the still-used nickname “veep” for Vice Presidents. Hey, it’s more of a cultural contribution than most other Vice Presidents make.

Best Barkley Quote: “Alben Barkley … I’m the head of the (boom, boom) Barkley house.” 

SPIRO “Old Nolo Contendere” AGNEW

Served Under: Nixon

Noted for: Resigning and striking a deal for a “no contest” plea to avoid going to jail for bribery and tax evasion. Also for the way the letters in the name Spiro Agnew can be rearranged to spell out “grow a penis”. Try it yourself and see!

Best Agnew Quote: “You can tell I’m from a ‘law and order’ administration by the eagerness with which I copped a plea deal.”

Nelson RockefellerNELSON A ROCKEFELLER

Served Under: Ford  

Noted for: Having billions of dollars and for having Ford bump him from the ticket in favor of Bob Dole. How would you like to have gotten to overhear THAT little conversation?

Best Rockefeller Quote: “At least that Balladeer prick didn’t mention that I died having sex with my 23-year old blonde ‘assistant.'”

WALTER F MONDALE

Served Under: Carter

Noted for: Saying “Where’s the beef” to Gary Hart. Also for the way his association with the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter led to him only getting 17 electoral votes in the 1984 presidential election.

Best Mondale Quote: “I made history by having Flip Wilson as my running mate when I ran for President!”

DAN QUAYLE

Served Under: Bush

Noted for: Redefining the expression “political lightweight” and for spouting some of the dumbest remarks ever heard outside of a sitcom.

Best Quayle Quote: “Things are getting better! These days people just tell me I’m no TED Kennedy!”

Al Gore JrAL GORE

Served Under: Clinton

Noted for: His ridiculous claim that he invented the internet and for hypocritically selling his “green” television network to oil-rich (aka major fossil-fuel burning) Middle East money for so much cash it made him even more of a bloated rich pig than Mitt Romney.

Best Gore Quote: “We’re all gonna melt!”

DICK CHENEY

Served Under: Bush

Noted for: Multiple conflicts of interest regarding defense contracts and for being the worst hunting partner in history.

Best Cheney Quote: “I’m serving under THAT fool? No wonder they call me Dick.”

JOE BIDEN

Served Under: Obama

Noted for: Accusations of plagiarism in the 1980s and for lowering the intelligence level of an already repulsive 2012 campaign season by acting like a high school freshman during the Vice Presidential debate. 

Best Biden Quote: “The Vice Presidency is the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived.” (See what I did there?)

MIKE PENCE

Served Under: Trump

Noted for: Serving under America’s very first de facto Third Party President and for heading a long-overdue investigation into vote fraud, the Democrats’ best strategy.    

Best Pence Quote: “There goes that ten grand I bet on Hillary.”

FOR MY IRREVERENT LOOK AT U.S. PRESIDENTS CLICK HERE:  https://glitternight.com/2012/02/19/balladeers-blogs-presidential-pros-and-cons/

AND FOR MORE OF MY TAKES ON MINDLESS LIBERALS AND MINDLESS CONSERVATIVES CLICK HERE:   https://glitternight.com/category/liberals-and-conservatives/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

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8 Comments

Filed under Neglected History

8 responses to “VICE PRESIDENTS – THE ULTIMATE SECOND BANANAS

  1. Lab Guy

    Other than Aaron Burr and the more modern ones, I can’t say I had ever heard about most of those listed here throughout most of American history.

  2. This is so funny! Love what you said these guys said and the Joe Biden thing!

  3. Did that one vp really have gay affairs?

  4. John Adams was such a grouchy guy.

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