Back in July, Sarah Palin famous wondered what the vice president does all day.  In Dick Cheney’s case, of course, the answer involves ten-inch sewing needles, a ball-gag, and a bucket of still-warm goat hearts; for nearly everyone else, the duties have been considerably less interesting. But since no American vice president has ever been quite as much a maverick as Sarah Palin — who just yesterday expressed a wish to transform the spirit of modern political campaigning — it’s safe to say that the office of VP has been sorely wasted on the likes of Garret Hobart, “Cactus Jack” Garner, George Dallas, and that other guy*, none of whom fully utilized the powers Jesus the Constitution gave did not actually give them.

Here’s my dopey governor, doing her best to make sure that Brandon Garcia fails his next social studies test:

Q: Brandon Garcia wants to know, “What does the Vice President do?”

PALIN: That’s something that Piper would ask me! … [T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.

The last person to think the vice president needed to be mucking about in the Senate — as opposed to, say, harassing intelligence analysts, which is evidently much more productive — was Charles Dawes, Calvin Coolidge’s vice president, who spent his first few months in office caterwauling in a counterproductive, mavericky way about how the Senate needed to stop allowing filibusters. Nobody liked Charles Dawes.** But since Dawes didn’t wink make a bunch of middle-aged conservative men experience a sudden rush of blood to the groin, he couldn’t count on anyone to run interference for his stupid ideas about the vice presidency.

* You know — the guy with the shirt. The shirt? With that thing on it? Look, I can’t remember his fucking name. The point is, he had a fucking shirt, and he was the vice president.

** Which is sad.