I'm afraid I awoke a couple of commuters, and maybe caused someone else to spill his coffee, on the train to New York City this morning when I burst out in laughter reading the conclusion of the column by ever-reliable Bill Kristol in The New York Times.
He had already mentioned Joe Lieberman as a possible running mate for John McCain, and then moved on to the expected Gen. Petraeus and somewhat less predictable Gen. Odierno, the "heroes" of the surge and the coming "victory" in Iraq. But he concluded with a name I'd never seen floated before: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Here's the passage: "He could persuade the most impressive conservative in American public life, Clarence Thomas, to join the ticket." This, presumably, would be a plus, even a coup, in Kristolworld.
Well, we had a "Silent Cal" (Coolidge) as president so why not a "Silence Clarence" as Veep?
As you may be aware, Thomas has shattered all high court records for lack of speaking or questioning as cases are brought before him. It's actually quite disturbing.
NPR reported two weeks ago, "It's been more than two years since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question during arguments. The other eight justices regularly pepper attorneys with questions." More than 140 cases had come and gone without Thomas speaking.
The AP completed a full survey of recent years on this matter, observing: "Leaning back in his leather chair, often looking up at the ceiling, Thomas takes it all in, but he never joins in....'One thing I've demonstrated often in 16 years is you can do this job without asking a single question,' he told an adoring crowd at the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group....'If I think a question will help me decide a case, then I'll ask that question,' he told C-SPAN's Brian Lamb in October. 'Otherwise, it's not worth asking because it detracts from my job.'"
So the idea of a vice presidential debate between Thomas and a Democrat can only make you guffaw -- and the networks worry about dead air. Imagine a Biden vs. Thomas debate! I would pay to watch that one.
Only a Kristol could conjure Thomas as a viable candidate for high office, or practically anything else. It's more like The Onion than The Times.
NOTE: My new book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq, has just been published. I am the editor of Editor & Publisher.
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