In 1988, George H.W. Bush became the first sitting vice president to get elected straight to the presidency since Martin Van Buren in 1836. Bush's victory, which was far from assured, rested on two pillars. First ,Ronald Reagan was very popular -- peace, prosperity and a victorious end to the Cold War will do that. Second, Bush ran against Michael Dukakis, a politician so boring he made Al Gore look like Shaft.