Donald Trump has announced that Ben Carson will be part of the team entrusted with the task of vetting his potential running mates. Carson has himself said that he is open to being Trump’s vice-presidential choice so this brings up an interesting historical episode.
Recall how in 2000 Dick Cheney was tapped by George W. Bush to head his vice-presidential search. After supposedly rigorously screening eleven candidates with an exhaustive 83-question form, Cheney ended up suggesting himself as the best person for the job. It later transpired that Cheney had likely meant to do so from the get-go and that the interview process was a charade.
Reporter Barton Gellman describes what happened
Well, there’ve been a lot of jokes over the years about Cheney selecting himself. I wouldn’t say exactly that. Bush selected him, but Cheney did maneuver the process. And what’s specially interesting to me is that he collected this extraordinarily intrusive vetting material on many candidates and he told several of them, `We’ll be back to you later in the week, or later in the month we’ll talk.’ And they didn’t. There were no interviews with Bush. There were no interviews with Cheney before Bush chose Cheney, and then they scheduled interviews afterward in order to conceal that.
So maybe Carson accepted the slot thinking that he too could recommend himself for the job. Trump’s statement today that he would likely select someone with “political experience who can work well with Congress” would suggest that he would not choose Carson but Carson probably thinks he can play that role too, he is that delusional. Take these comments today where he suggests that a president Trump could first appoint Ted Cruz as Attorney General, then Cruz would quickly prosecute Hillary Clinton, and then Cruz could be placed on the Supreme Court.
That is just the kind of deep strategic thinking this country has been sorely lacking.