But first before examining the actual job responsibilities, let's juxtapose Governor Palin's readiness-to-be Vice President answer to Senator Joe Biden's recent statement on his Vice Presidential preparedness, as a possible indicator of who is... or is not set to serve:
"I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate". Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin; Sept. 11, 2008
"Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice-president of the United States of America. Let's get that straight. She's a truly close personal friend...quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me." Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden; Sept. 10, 2008
Quite a contrast to say the least.
So, what does a Vice President do? Traditionally, the duties of the Vice President have been mostly 'ceremonial': attending funerals for world leaders, presiding over the House and Senate, and providing the tie-breaking vote if needed. But also to support the well-being, and the policies and ideas of the President of the U.S.A. Indeed, Dick Cheney has been the most hands on, powerful Vice President in the history of this nation. But his role for the past 8-years is more the exception... not the 'rule'.
Fellow country men who have served in the position of V.P. included Charles W. Fairbanks (Roosevelt); Alben W. Barkley (Truman); Albert Gore, Jr. (Clinton). And none of them had the responsibility or the expectation of overtly running anything in their V.P. capacity. And voters can rest assured, and sleep comfortably at night, knowing that Sarah Palin won't either.
The Veep job is the equivalent of being the second-string quarterback... the back-up... the "stand-by-just-in-case"! Although many are treating Palin as such, but, let's be clear: Sarah Palin is NOT running for President! She will only be the #2. And... quiet as it's kept, the odds of her ever having to step in and assume the role of President will not be any higher than has been in the past.
Yes, being a heartbeat away from President is important... but not nearly as crucial as many in they media purport it to be. With a cadre of advisors, Cabinet Secretaries, military consultants and other appointees, IF Palin should elevate to the role of President, she would not have absolute authority nor be able to override the will of the people.
Historic as her being elected Vice President would be for this country, she will basically be the proto-type... to help the American people wrap their minds around the prospect of a woman "one-day" being the Commander-in-chief. Now... while change sounds good, Americans won't be pushed into changing "too fast", too soon.
So... Sarah Palin, as V.P., will be in check, and a highly regarded figure-head, whose only claim-to-fame is access to the man with the power and the bully pulpit. No more, no less!
50+ days and counting...