Picking a vice president could be one of the biggest choices a Presidential nominee can make. Writer Lew Morton, tells Inside the Issues he learned a lot about the role of the vice president after working on three seasons of the HBO show, Veep. The story follows Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as she navigates her role as VP and eventually a run for president.
“Selina said, about the Vice President of the United States in the last episode, ‘Being Vice President is like being declawed, defanged, neutered, ball gagged and sealed in an abandoned coal mine beneath two miles of human s--t,” Morton recited.
When it comes time for a presidential nominee to pick their running mate, Morton said the VP’s typically stand in when needed, but otherwise there isn’t much in the way of responsibilities, but there is such a ceremony around choosing a pick.
“In the Constitution, the vice president really does nothing but their only job to break ties in the Senate,” he explained. “But, when you're running for president, you don't have that many chances to do something that's big that makes news and picking a vice president is pretty much one of the big ones.”
In creating the scripts, writers of the show read a lot of books and consulted with Washington and Hollywood insiders.
“The running joke on the show was, you would woo someone to be vice president by telling them they would essentially be co-presidents and then once they have the role, you never talk to them again,” said Morton. “You come into it with big dreams and then you end up just stuck in the executive office building in an office with no one taking your calls.”
The insiders told the writers that despite what you might hear—everyone wants their chance in the Oval Office.
“Everyone in Washington thinks they should be President and almost all of them think they will be President,” he explained. “Like, ordinary Congressman. Like, almost all of them are in the back of their head planning their presidential campaign. So, I guarantee you everyone who's been mentioned for vice president is planning their second inaugural address, in their head, somewhere.”
Morton continues to be surprised at how the show’s scripts ended up parallel to actual current events at the time.
“It’s really creepy and it’s still happening all the time,” he said. “We would write the show long before it would air and we would generally be writing about LBJ or the Nixon administration would be references we were trying to pull, but we consistently were predicting things that would actually happen.”
Morton’s advice for the winner?
“You’re going to do nothing and you’re going to like it,” he said. “But, in a few years you’ll get to run for president, and that’s all that anybody in Washington wants.”
Let Inside the Issues know your thoughts and watch Monday through Friday at 8 and 11 p.m. on Spectrum News 1.