Chester Alan Arthur

Why we should care about the next veep

Why we should care about the next veep

When President Barack Obama wakes up tomorrow , the U.S. will have gone 18,968 days without a president dying in office, surpassing the previous record that began when George Washington was inaugurated in 1789 and ended when William Henry Harrison died in 1841.

This should give us pause. The American political parties are beginning the slow process of determining who their presidential candidates should be. But the choice of vice-presidential candidates will be rushed through next summer in a flurry of political calculations. Our nation's history suggests that we should be more cautious.

Eight presidents have died in office, four from natural causes. Most of these presidential...