I see that Vice President Pence is out, about, and on the campaign trail… despite being directly exposed to COVID-19 and nominally being subject to a 14-day quarantine period.
His team has said the ongoing campaign makes the vice president an “essential worker.” Aside from essential workers (think doctors, EMTs, etc.) not being exempt from quarantine or isolation procedures, let me explain why running for vice president wouldn’t qualify as “essential” even if such an exemption existed.
The following are quotes about the nature of the vice presidency, some from men who have occupied that high and illustrious office themselves:
A spare tire on the automobile of government. — John Nance Garner
The Vice-Presidency isn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit. — John Nance Garner
The vice presidency is the sand trap of American politics. It’s near the prize, and designed to be limiting. — Howard Fineman
There were once two brothers. One ran away to sea, the other was elected Vice President, and neither was ever heard of again. — Thomas R. Marshall
The man with the best job in the country is the Vice President. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, “How’s the president?” — Will Rogers
My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived. — John Adams
If you are very active as vice-president, everyone in America knows your name. But that is your only property. It is not the same as real power—more like being a movie star. — Norman Mailer
There cannot be a great vice president. A great man may occupy the office, but there is no way for him to become a great vice president because the office in itself is almost wholly unimportant. — John Nance Garner
I have serious doubts that any job described in such ringing terms could ever, really, be defined as anything approaching essential… especially not when there’s a significantly greater than zero percent chance the incumbent could be the administration’s very own Typhoid Mike, crisscrossing the country spewing contagion at every stop.