Sidekicks: The Case for Choosing Wisely

The hero can't do all the work.

Sometimes it's just good politics to have someone else along for the ride to help out with the details.

But don't kid yourself.

Picking who you want to ride shotgun may, in all likelihood, be the most important decision you make.

It doesn't matter how many bad hombres you bring to justice or how many damsels in distress that you rescue. Ultimately, you'll be judged by the company you keep.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto: Good Choice
Ex-Texas lawman, John Reid, better known as the Lone Ranger, knew the value of a good sidekick.

Tonto was about as faithful an Indian companion as you could ever find. No one could ever say that Tonto and Kemo-Sabe didn't have each other's backs.

Ike and Nixon: Bad Choice
Dwight Eisenhower was a genuine war hero back in the day that to be one really meant something.

He wasn't afraid to use force as needed, such as during the D-Day invasion. But he was one of the first -- and one of the few -- to speak out against the brutal execeses of a Military-Industrial Complex which gradually assumed the role of governor of Foreign Policy and silent partner as Chief of State.

But when he first emerged as a politician and it came time to pick a running mate for his bid for the Presidency, he chose Richard Nixon.

Back in 1950, Nixon ran against, Helen Douglas for a California seat in the US Senate. Few people today are aware that Nixon claimed Douglas was "pink right down to her underwear" because of her alleged ties to the Communist Party, at least in Nixon's mind.

But many people are aware of the snap Douglas put on Nixon in response. She was the first to call him "Tricky Dick."

Ike got a glimpse of Nixon tricky-dickedness himself when a scandal erupted concerning campaign finances right before the 1952 election.

That should have been a clue but Ike picked Nixon anyway.

That choice was probably good for Ike for the short term -- he won election and re-election with Nixon on the ticket. But the price to be paid came further down the road when Tricky Dick, himself, made it to the Big Chair.

Batman and Robin: Good Choice
Batman started as a solo act -- a lonely, dark and solitary figure guarding Gotham's ramparts under the cloak of night.

When Robin came along the dynamic changed. Now there was someone to bounce ideas off of, someone one to chat with on those long patrols in the Batmobile. Robin was younger, hipper and always the wiseacre with a quip for the bad guys.

If Batman had picked Spider-Man as his sidekick, things wouldn't have gone well.

All that bickering for top-billing. All that wrangling over whether to use to Bat-Signal or to trust Spidey-Sense.

Robin was happy just to go along with the established program. Robin was a good choice.

Reagan and Bush: Bad Choice
Calling Reagan's trickle-down economics approach Voodoo Economics made for a rough start for eventual running mate George HW Bush.

But like Ike's choice of Nixon, the worst problem with picking Bush didn't show itself until 20 years later when name recognition of George HW helped George W win the controversial 2000 Presidential squeaker.

And we all know how well that turned out for us.

Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs: Good Choice
It's hard to even look at Tubbs as Sonny's sidekick. These guys were truly a team, more like brothers.

Kennedy and Johnson: Bad Choice
The word "team" probably wasn't ever used to describe the relationship between John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson and we doubt that JFK ever considered LBJ a brother.

By all accounts, they were bitter rivals for the Presidency in 1960 and the fact that they both landed on the same ticket, with JFK as alpha-dog, never sat well with LBJ.

In the aftermath of the controversy and confusion concerning JFK's assassination in LBJ's home state of Texas, President Johnson reversed the Kennedy Administration's direction on Viet Nam.

The new strategy helped give rise to the quagmire of war that was the overwhelming obstacle that prevented LBJ's presidential run for re-election despite his landslide win in 1964.

And as if that bad wasn’t enough, there was always that haze of doubt about what really happened in Dealey Plaza.