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  Reagan '68: VP choices?
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Author Topic: Reagan '68: VP choices?  (Read 3554 times)
Cath
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« on: July 10, 2013, 12:53:39 pm »

I've been, in the back of my head, contemplating "Reaganland" (do not steal that name), a timeline with Ronald Reagan winning the presidency in '68 and how he--an inexperienced Governor whose campaign was run largely by handlers and activists--would handle the next four to eight years and what effect he'd have on the country. I'm wondering what good VP choices there'd be for the Governor. In Historico's timeline, John Volpe, a Catholic Governor form Massachusetts with national experience was chosen for VP by the Reagan camp. I'm wondering what others there might be that could balance the inexperienced Californian. Naturally, they couldn't be members of the Class of '66--Percy, Agnew, Baker, Brooke, etc.--due to the similar lack of experience. Nor would an anti-Vietnam Republican like Hatfield be considerable. So who is there that Reagan might choose were he to win the nomination in '68? I'm looking at Senator Hiram Fong of Hawaii as a possibility--minority, Hawaiian, moderate (I assume, not much said on him)--and it'd be fun to have him help RR open the door to China. As well, a not well known Vermont Senator, Winston L. Prouty, is being looked at. Declared by ourcampaigns.com as "hard to classify as liberal or conservative", Prouty supported Anti-Ballistic Missile Deployment and might help the administration engineer a guaranteed minimum income proposal to streamline welfare.

Looking for any suggestions.
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barfbag
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2013, 12:42:32 am »

Nixon and Agnew come to mind as VP's. He would've likely ended Vietnam too which would've been better for our country and everyone. Perhaps George Romney would've given Reagan more strength on the economy as he ran in 1968.
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Fuzzy Bear
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2013, 08:33:55 pm »

If Reagan had been the GOP nominee in 1968, he would have been looking toward doing well in the South and Border States (conceding much of the Deep South to Wallace).  He was inclusive; in 1976, Reagan was willing to pick a LIBERAL Republican (PA Senator Richard Schweiker), and in 1980, Reagan picked George H. W. Bush who was NOT a "movement conservative".  This was one of Reagan's strong points in politics; he was always identified as a movement conservative, but he never had the kind of resistance from moderate and liberal Republicans that, say, McGovern and Mondale had from conservative Southern Democrats. 

At the same time, Reagan was a party loyalist.  Reagan would have considered a moderate, or even a liberal Republican as his running mate in 1968, but that running mate would have had to be someone who, at a minimum, gave a tacit endorsement to Goldwater in 1964, even if it was only a matter of publicly announcing that they would vote for Goldwater.  This would have ruled out George Romney, Jacob Javits, and (probably) Nelson Rockefeller.  He would have been quite interested in a number of moderate candidates, however, such as Sen. Hugh Scott (R-PA), Gov. James Rhodes (R-OH) and the conservative Sen. John Tower (R-TX). 

My guess is that Reagan would have picked Rhodes.  I'm really kind of amazed that Nixon didn't pick him.  Rhodes was a moderate, from Ohio (a key swing state then, as now), a second term Governor who was not eligible for a third term, and a guy with a decent profile.  (Rhodes was frequently mentioned as a possible Commissioner of Baseball.)  He would not have picked a mere Congressman; that has never worked out well.  He would not have picked a Westerner; Nancy Reagan always believed that Ronnie needed Eastern support to go all the way to the White House.  He MAY have picked a Southern Democrat if, and only if, the dynamics of the race were such that Reagan could have carried the Deep South with Wallace in the race; that, however, was not Reagan's style, and would not have been received well in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest.  Scott would have been the second most likely pick, but Scott was 68 in 1968, and that was more of an issue back then.
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johnpressman
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 01:56:06 am »

Rhodes was an overweight and unphotogenic character.  Also, Reagan being a state governor with no foreign policy experience would have to pick a senator or representative with a certain amount of seniority.  The pickings are slim, in that the GOP in 1968 was recovering from years of decline, with its resurgence only beginning in 1966.

Maybe Sen. Phillip Griffin of Michigan or  even Regan/Ford in 1968?
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barfbag
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 02:42:57 am »

Nelson Rockefeller
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Cath
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 07:12:05 am »


Awful.
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barfbag
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 10:42:54 am »


how come
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Cath
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 10:54:02 am »


Ideological incoherence, Rockefeller likely wouldn't be willing to play second string to a one term Governor at this point on his career, Rockefeller himself was awful, the two would be uneasy allies at best & could only coalesce as a stop Nixon ticket--one which would likely result in Rocky having the top slot, and Rockefeller was a Governor. Reagan would be fishing for votes that A) he would never get or B) in such s way that would cripple him. If he won, his Vice President with his New York- and Rockefeller fortune-sized ego would be his own worst enemy. Rockefeller f#cked with Ford in real life.
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barfbag
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 10:56:45 am »


Ideological incoherence, Rockefeller likely wouldn't be willing to play second string to a one term Governor at this point on his career, Rockefeller himself was awful, the two would be uneasy allies at best & could only coalesce as a stop Nixon ticket--one which would likely result in Rocky having the top slot, and Rockefeller was a Governor. Reagan would be fishing for votes that A) he would never get or B) in such s way that would cripple him. If he won, his Vice President with his New York- and Rockefeller fortune-sized ego would be his own worst enemy. Rockefeller f#cked with Ford in real life.

I thought Rockefeller was such a nice guy. What was he like?
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Cath
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 11:03:12 am »
« Edited: September 30, 2013, 01:37:42 pm by Cathcollegecon »

Egotistical. He tried to use his spot as Vice President to do his own legislating, often betraying the White House's own plans in favor if more ambitious  ones, and opposing the Ford administration's movement away from detente. Imagine him and Reagan having to work together.
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Cath
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 11:05:20 am »

NOTICE: Holy Hell, I didn't realize I'd been commenting on my own thread.
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Endy
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 07:27:42 pm »

If Prescott Bush was born about seven years after he was, and still continued his political carrier anyways, he's the man you're looking for that can balance the inexperience and have a Californian with a Connecticut Yankee.... (Sorry, but I couldn't think of the name of people from Connecticut so I went with the second and third letters of the title of the book: "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"....
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johnpressman
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 11:29:04 am »

Former Acting Governor, you are right on.  Nixon begged Rocky to take second place on the ticket in 1960 to no avail.  Rocky ONLY wanted the top spot, but his 1962 divorce and remarriage pretty much ended his Presidential aspirations, but you couldn't tell him that.

The Vice Presidency that Ford handed him in 1974 was sort of a parting gift.  His  thought that he would stay on the ticket in 1976 was insanity.  He was very unpopular among rank and file Republicans even with his support for the Vietnam war and his tough anti-drug policies in his home state if NY.
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President Johnson
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2013, 01:56:29 am »

Governor Paul Laxalt of Nevada, as both were friends.

Maybe Jerry Ford.
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Fuzzy Bear
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 09:43:26 pm »

Former Acting Governor, you are right on.  Nixon begged Rocky to take second place on the ticket in 1960 to no avail.  Rocky ONLY wanted the top spot, but his 1962 divorce and remarriage pretty much ended his Presidential aspirations, but you couldn't tell him that.

The Vice Presidency that Ford handed him in 1974 was sort of a parting gift.  His  thought that he would stay on the ticket in 1976 was insanity.  He was very unpopular among rank and file Republicans even with his support for the Vietnam war and his tough anti-drug policies in his home state if NY.

People have forgotten the utter hatred the Movement Conservatives had for Nelson Rockefeller in the 1960s.  John Stennis would have received a warmer welcome from liberals had he been McGovern's running mate in 1972 than Rockefeller would receive at any time from the Republican Right.  I am not sure that Reagan would have challenged Ford in 1976 had Ford picked a conservative Republican as his VP, and, certainly, not Rockefeller.  And it was personal.  Jacob Javits and Clifford Case were more liberal than Rockefeller in many ways, but Rockefeller was truly hated by the GOP Right.
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johnpressman
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2013, 12:16:41 am »

Once again, you are right, Fuzzy Bear.  I grew up in NY knowing only one governor; Nelson Rockefeller.  Every election he was behind, looking like a loser, then the Democrats would shoot themselves in the foot and he would get reelected.

Back to Reagan's VP choice, should he have won the nomination in 1968.  He would have to pick someone who was NOT part of the GOP resurgence in 1966 as they, like Reagan, would have had less than two years experience in government.  He would also have to pick someone with foreign policy experience, possibly Sen. John Tower of Texas or Everett Dirksen of Illinois (who might have made a difference in 1960 as Nixon's running mate), Rep. Gerald Ford or Sen. Robert Griffin of Michigan as a sop to the moderate or liberal wings of the GOP.
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whanztastic
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2013, 03:24:37 pm »

I don't think "experience" was all that considered in the era, connections and how a man handled himself would be a bigger issue. I think with that in mind Percy would be a good VP choice for Reagan - doesn't outshine the candidate and placates the correct people within the GOP.
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johnpressman
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« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2013, 05:08:38 pm »

I cannot envision Reagan picking Sen. Charles Percy of ILL as his running mate had he won the GOP nomination for president in 1968. A former actor with less than two years in government would have too pick a more seasoned VP and either a moderate or conservative so as not to alienate his political braintrust and electoral base. Percy was too inexperienced and too liberal to share the ticket with Reagan in that year.

A candidate with more experience in foreign policy would offset Reagan lack of same, maybe Gerald Ford or Sen. Griifin from Michigan or Sen. John Tower of Texas. The aforementioned also have the advantage of coming from large states that would be valuable in the November election.
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Trump-Yang '20
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« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2013, 11:44:33 pm »

I too am working on a Reagan in '68 timeline that I wrote four years ago (it was so awful and unrealistic that I gutted it completely. The United States invaded Turkey in 1977 at one point Tongue and Alan Keyes was elected in a landslide with Newt Gingrich in 1996) but John Tower was the runningmate for Reagan and I kept him on the ticket.
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MATTROSE94
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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2013, 09:28:45 am »

Maybe Ronald Reagan would have picked Richard Nixon as his running-mate in 1968, although Nixon might not be eligible to serve as Vice-President for another term. If not, either Gerald Ford, John Tower or Winthrop Rockefeller would have made decent choices as well.
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WalterMitty
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2013, 02:02:34 pm »

mark hatfield.
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« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2014, 01:30:39 pm »


Not sure Hatfield would be picked by Reagan for a running mate (Hatfield was probably one of the more liberal Republicans in the last 50 years; and even the fact he and Richard Nixon shared a mutual friend in Billy Graham wasn't enough to ensure he'd get the #2 slot in real life).

Maybe Ronald Reagan would have picked Richard Nixon as his running-mate in 1968, although Nixon might not be eligible to serve as Vice-President for another term. If not, either Gerald Ford, John Tower or Winthrop Rockefeller would have made decent choices as well.

Think I've seen an similar expression made elsewhere; but there's no question by 1968 Nixon wanted to be "the man". Can't picture him settling for the VP slot again (if he could at all).

As for the others: John Tower wouldn't be much more experienced nationally than Reagan was (being elected to the Senate in 1964). Gerald Ford's criticism of the Vietnam War as handled by LBJ -- not sure whether that would help or hurt his chances, and as for Winthrop Rockefeller; he became Arkansas governor the same year Reagan did (1966) and I'm not sure whether he was know for much beside being Nelson's brother.
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MATTROSE94
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2014, 01:38:20 pm »


Not sure Hatfield would be picked by Reagan for a running mate (Hatfield was probably one of the more liberal Republicans in the last 50 years; and even the fact he and Richard Nixon shared a mutual friend in Billy Graham wasn't enough to ensure he'd get the #2 slot in real life).

Maybe Ronald Reagan would have picked Richard Nixon as his running-mate in 1968, although Nixon might not be eligible to serve as Vice-President for another term. If not, either Gerald Ford, John Tower or Winthrop Rockefeller would have made decent choices as well.

Think I've seen an similar expression made elsewhere; but there's no question by 1968 Nixon wanted to be "the man". Can't picture him settling for the VP slot again (if he could at all).

As for the others: John Tower wouldn't be much more experienced nationally than Reagan was (being elected to the Senate in 1964). Gerald Ford's criticism of the Vietnam War as handled by LBJ -- not sure whether that would help or hurt his chances, and as for Winthrop Rockefeller; he became Arkansas governor the same year Reagan did (1966) and I'm not sure whether he was know for much beside being Nelson's brother.
You brought up some good points about Ronald Reagan's choices for Vice-President in 1968. I am also thinking that either Senators Hugh Scott, John Sherman Cooper, Thurston Morton or Hiram Fong might have made good choices for Reagan, as all were very expreienced in politics and had served in the Senate since the 1950s.
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2014, 01:52:53 pm »


Not sure Hatfield would be picked by Reagan for a running mate (Hatfield was probably one of the more liberal Republicans in the last 50 years; and even the fact he and Richard Nixon shared a mutual friend in Billy Graham wasn't enough to ensure he'd get the #2 slot in real life).

Maybe Ronald Reagan would have picked Richard Nixon as his running-mate in 1968, although Nixon might not be eligible to serve as Vice-President for another term. If not, either Gerald Ford, John Tower or Winthrop Rockefeller would have made decent choices as well.

Think I've seen an similar expression made elsewhere; but there's no question by 1968 Nixon wanted to be "the man". Can't picture him settling for the VP slot again (if he could at all).

As for the others: John Tower wouldn't be much more experienced nationally than Reagan was (being elected to the Senate in 1964). Gerald Ford's criticism of the Vietnam War as handled by LBJ -- not sure whether that would help or hurt his chances, and as for Winthrop Rockefeller; he became Arkansas governor the same year Reagan did (1966) and I'm not sure whether he was know for much beside being Nelson's brother.
You brought up some good points about Ronald Reagan's choices for Vice-President in 1968. I am also thinking that either Senators Hugh Scott, John Sherman Cooper, Thurston Morton or Hiram Fong might have made good choices for Reagan, as all were very expreienced in politics and had served in the Senate since the 1950s.

Thanks. I saw Hugh Scott mentioned as a possibility elsewhere but hadn't thought of the others (other than Fong; none of them rang a bell).
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johnpressman
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« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2014, 01:04:29 pm »

John Tower was elevated to the Senate in 1961 by a special election to fill LBJ's Senate seat after he became VP (LBJ had an exception passed through the Texas Legislature that enabled him to run for VP and the U.S. Senate simultaneously).

Tower and Reagan had their differences in 1976 as Tower supported President Ford for the GOP l nomination even after Texas granted Reagan all their delegates due to his victory in their primary election.

Still, Reagan's VP choices in 1968 would be very limited due to his lack of political experience and the dearth of suitable GOP candidates after the disastrous elections of 1958 and 1964.  The GOP resurgence of 1966 produced many fresh faces for Nixon to chose from (Agnew, Percy, etc.), but only because Nixon's lengthy experience granted him the luxury of choosing a fresh face.  Reagan, having only served less than two years as Governor of California, would be forced  to chose a more experienced Republican with some foreign policy background to make his candidacy viable.
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