When Ronnie offered me the vice president's job on the Republican ticket a few weeks ago I was sorely tempted to take it. But at the last minute I told him, "I could do it, Ronnie, but it would be wrong."
I knew he was disappointed. "But you're the only one in the party who thinks the way I do, except of course for Nancy. We could make a great team," he pleaded.
"It's true," I said, "that we both believe in the same things and a strong dollar and a weak Soviet Union, but I think you have to balance the ticket with someone more liberal than either one of us, if we hope to get back the worldwide respect America has lost in the last four years."
"Do you have any suggestions?" he wanted to know.
"I do. But I don't know if you'll go for it."
"Try me," he said.
"I believe you should have a Japanese person for vice president."
"Do you mean a Japanese-American?"
"No," I told him, "I mean a Japanese-Japanese. You see, the Japanese are taking over anyway, and they might as well have a say in our government. You just read where the Ford Co. was going to become partners with Toyota. The Chrysler people are in bed with Mitsubishi and Hitachi has announced they soon will start building computers in the United States. It would be very heopful to the American economy to have a Japanese businessman as our vice president."
"I don't know if it's such a great idea. There are still some people who remember Pearl Harbor," he said.
"There are a lot more people riding around in Hondas, Ronnie," I said. "Look, the Japanese have the image of efficiency, productivity and discipline. That's what this country needs more than anything else right now. dA Japanese vice president of the United States would serve notice on the world that you intend to make America No. 1 again even if it means dumping Sony TV sets all over the globe."
"But I don't know any Japanese businessmen. How would I be sure that I could work with one in the White House?"
"That's the beauty of it. You never would know. They are very polite and very quiet and would kill themselves rather than complain about not being anything as vice president. But there's no one like them when it comes to making a single reflex camera. The Japanese are going to bail out every U.S. business in the next 10 years, so why not select one of them who can help us now?"
Ronnie said he needed time to think about it.
Well, it's obvious he didn't take my suggestion, because not one Japanese-Japanese name ever came up in the vice presidential selection process. Some say the conservatives balked at the idea, while others maintained that the only way they could get a Japanese businessman to run on the Reagan ticket was to get the White House to buy 1,500 Datsun cars.