The Invisible Veep

Exactly what Vice Presidents of the United States are supposed to do (and not do) always has been something of a political and constitutional mystery. As little as possible, is the recent election's hint. But even in more demanding times the sanitized quip attributed to Texas's John Nance ("Cactus Jack") Garner, FDR's first VP, that the office wasn't worth a bucket of warm spit, seemed the unvarnished truth of the matter. The surmise is that, besides presiding over the Senate and hoping for a tie vote so he can break it, the Vice President need only spend his time as he will and wait—in the event something dreadful befalls the President, something like death or impeachment.

Who would notice if the Vice President disappeared for awhile? Say, for six months?

These are the plausible questions premised in the most entertaining political novel of the past year. The Body Politic, written by veteran political journalist and PR man Victor Gold and novelist, editor, and chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities Lynne Cheney. The breezy clip of the narrative and language, the insouciance of the dialogue, and the outrageous audacity of the story gain their sure-handedness and verisimilitude from two expert White House insiders. After all, while an authority on life inside the beltway in her own right, Lynne Cheney is also the wife of Congressman Dick Cheney (Republican of Wyoming),...

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