The Nation: In McCarthy's Tribe

Eugene McCarthy possesses a deeply cultivated sense of poetic political whimsy. Last week on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, he addressed himself to the much-debated question of how parties should select their vice-presidential candidates. After a flatly serious and closely reasoned discussion of the office itself, McCarthy proposed an intriguing new system: "Have the party convention choose the vice-presidential candidate and let him name the presidential candidate."

McCarthy reasoned that this method "would test the humility of the person who would accept the vice-presidential nomination knowing that by doing so he had eliminated himself from direct consideration for...