UNCHOSEN PRESIDENTS: The Vice President and Other Frustrations of Presidential Succession by Allan P. Sindler

UNCHOSEN PRESIDENTS: The Vice President and Other Frustrations of Presidential Succession

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A keen, succinct study of the problems of Presidential succession. Unlike John Feerick, who argues in The Twenty-Fifth Amendment (see above) that present arrangements are admirable even though the law did not foresee a Presidential and Vice-Presidential vacancy, Sindler assumes that further change is needed, and lays out the alternatives. Either we return to what he interprets as the Founding Fathers' preference for special elections, or we upgrade the vice-presidency to select men of presidential caliber. Most of the book is devoted to showing that the ""disincentives"" to the second approach lie in our political system itself and are ""not amenable to change by exhortation or by institutional tinkering."" No President would be eager to have a prominent party rival in the #2 spot with policy-making responsibilities, and on the other hand few men of ""presidential caliber"" are willing to serve in the vice-presidential office as it now exists. Therefore, Sindler concludes, Americans who prefer the stability of an ordered succession to the more democratic method of special elections must be satisfied with only marginal reforms of the vice-presidency, which cannot produce an ""alternate president"" and may well continue the tradition of mediocrity. Sindler does not explore the special-election option at any length; the book is above all a closely reasoned critique of reforms which sound good on paper but might well run afoul of the overall structure of formal and informal institutions.

Pub Date: July 26th, 1976
Publisher: Univ. of California Press