In honor of the immediately imminent Vice Presidential debate, it’s time to examine a criminally underappreciated element of what it takes to be the nation’s second-in-command — taste in music.

To illustrate this, consider the fact that when Hillary Clinton announced that her running mate in this fall’s election would be Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, many derided Kaine as a “boring” choice. One can only assume that these detractors are unaware that Kaine once professed in a radio interview to be a huge fan of the Replacements, the legendary, irreverent ‘80s Minneapolis alt-rock band that boasts one of the most fanatically devotional fanbases in rock history. Otherwise, it would be impossible to deny that that, if the Clinton/Kaine ticket is elected, Kaine would become by far the coolest VP in the history of the republic. Indeed, in terms of useful Vice Presidential credentials, Kaine’s fluency in Spanish and popularity in his purple home state pale in comparison to the fact that he could probably sing “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” for you if you asked him to.

To emphasize just how groundbreaking it would be to put a ‘Mats fan in the White House, let’s examine the musical tastes of each vice president to have served since the band released their first album in 1981 and give them each a musical hipness rating from 1 to 10 (10 being Kaine and 1 being Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate, Paul Ryan, who claims he gets “pumped up” to Creed. Ugh).


Joe Biden

In 2012, Biden revealed to People that he jams out to an eclectic and surprisingly non-dorky mix of artists ranging from the obvious (Bruce Springsteen) to the decidedly not (long-running Irish folk band the Chieftains). Rating: 8.


Dick Cheney

A 2005 ABC News report on the Bush/Cheney White House’s iPod contents suggested that Cheney listens to “oldies but goodies” from the ‘40s and ‘50s and “is fond of Johnny Cash.” Maybe that’s what Cheney was keeping in the man-sized safe he allegedly used to have in his office – where else was he going to store his collection of The Man In Black’s nearly 100 studio albums? Rating: Classified.


Al Gore

In a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, Gore claimed, “I listen to all kinds of music.” Whatever you say, Al. It’s a good bet Tipper never let you bring home any Judas Priest albums. Rating: 5-4 Supreme Court decision along party lines decreeing Gore’s taste in music to be really boring.


Dan Quayle

There’s not much out there about what Quayle likes to jam out to, but he’s definitely not into gangsta rap. On the campaign trail in 1992, he criticized songs by Ice-T and Tupac for supposedly inspiring violence against cops, claiming that such music “has no place in our society.” Rating: No Jack Kennedy.


George H.W. Bush

Bush once claimed: “When I need a little advice about Saddam Hussein, I turn to country music.” If his son did the same thing when he was president, the Iraq War would sure make a lot more sense in light of Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White And Blue.” Rating: Yee-haw!