Job description: Vice President of the United States

Updated
 

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  A vice president has a really great job because not only are they there to support the president’s agenda, they’re like the team member, the teammate to that president, but also they‘re in charge of the United States 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.

Chris Matthews, on Hardball Wednesday
excerpted from a conversation with Nancy Pfotenhauer

As Colin Powell said on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” the job of the vice president is to stand ready under the Constitution in the tragic circumstances to replace the president.  Now, that‘s one role.  The other role is to have only a tie-breaking role as presiding officer of the U.S. Senate. That’s it. The Constitution specifically prescribes that.  In fact, it says that‘s all that a person has the right to do.

Now, here‘s Sarah Palin with her definition of this role, which sounds strange to me.  And I‘ve been in this city a long time.  I have never heard anybody say—and by the way, it‘s very similar to what she said in her debate with Joe Biden— which made me wonder then, where does she get her civics? 

She said that she had been asked the question earlier in the day by a 2nd grader.  In this case, she‘s talking to a news reporter.  Either she’s right about the role of the vice presidency or I‘m wrong. I say the role of the vice presidency under the Constitution is limited to breaking ties in the U.S. Senate.  It has nothing to do with policy making, nothing to do with Senate leadership on either side of the aisle.  There is no policy role there whatever for the vice president.  If you‘d even watched “John Adams” on television a few months ago, you would know that was the case, going into the very beginning of our democracy.

The vice president has a formal role only.  She believes somehow that the vice president of the United States has a commanding policy development role…… and can lead the U.S. Senate.  Where‘d she get this from? You’ve got a candidate who doesn’t know the job description.

Job description: Vice President of the United States

Updated