I’m going to take issue with Ramesh’s premise — with trepidation, since there’s a lot of sense to what he’s saying and I’ve been wrong on just about everything (though I did pick the Giants to beat the Pats).
I’m not sure the job of Veep has changed as an institution. I think, instead, that Gore and Cheney are historical oddities that owe to the perceived weaknesses of Clinton and Bush-43, who really had no foreign policy or Washington experience at the time they were elected. McCain is a much more well-known, finished product. As a candidate, he’s more like Nixon, Bush-41 and Kerry. We know who he is at this point. No one is necessary to make him whole, so to speak — his presidency, I believe, would be more in the traditional model, with the president really towering over the Veep. Edwards didn’t help Kerry at all in the South, and I think we would see the same sort of dynamic with McCain. I don’t mean that as a commentary on the South or any other section of the country; I just mean I think people will be voting for (or against) the top of the ticket without much concern about the second slot. I think the same would also be true of Hillary … but not Obama.