The NYT’s Richard Stevenson reports that Republicans are considering actually vetting their VP candidate this time around. It’s sort of amazing how many duds they’ve had (I don’t know how you score Dick Cheney, but they surely picked duds in 1952, 1968, 1988, and 2008).

At any rate, in case they’re a little rusty from not having done this since 1996, I’m going to give them a quick hint: google your prospective candidate’s name with the word “ethics.” If what you get back seems to include the words “…charges” or “…violations” or “formal investigations,” you probably want to move on to the next pick. Sure, it’s possible that it’s all just a massive liberal media conspiracy against her, but perhaps, just perhaps, that’s not the fight you want to be having on the campaign trail.

This concludes a short lesson in Pro Tips for Vetting Veeps.

(Yeah, yeah, my real advice is as always just to pick someone that’s survived a national campaign with reputation intact — which in this case mostly narrows it down to The Huck. But it’s more fun to do a Palin post).

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

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Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.