August 11, 2020

So, from the sounds of it “Slo’ Joe” Biden is down to what appears to be a small handful of choices for his VP – California senator Kamala Harris, former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice, California congresswoman Karen Bass, and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Personally, I don’t see the latter two as anything but fodder for the Washington chatter-heads, political pundits, and the cable news talking heads. Whitmer, after all, is white, and there is zero way Biden is not going to pick an African-American woman as his VP; most especially after the questionable (I would call them racist) comments he has made over the last couple of months regarding African-American voters. Not only does he need to check all the appropriate boxes when it comes to what I would argue is the Democrats’ most important voting constituency, but he needs to shore up that support in the Democratic Party. As for Bass, my opinion is that she was just window-dressing and a distraction from Harris and Rice.

As y’all know from prior posts, I was certain failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams was going to be Biden’s (or, had he been nominated, Bernie Sanders’) VP candidate. To me it made a lot of sense: (1) she’s a left-wing media darling; (2) Georgia has been increasingly moving “purple” over recent presidential elections, and (3) she would help Biden make a case for the necessity of mail-in voting in order to ensure that everyone is who is able to is allowed to vote – after all, in her view (rightly or wrongly) she was robbed in her run for governor by purged voting lists, voting irregularities, and the like. I still think she would have been Biden’s best choice, but I’m guessing her political shadow and/or personality (i.e., her aggressive posturing for the VP slot) might have been a bit much for the Biden team to contemplate as a personality match going forward.

So we’re down to Harris and Rice. As I have opined earlier, I think Harris was Biden’s most comfortable choice to make. First, her abrasive (in my view, obnoxious) personality – most especially when it comes to interrogating the poor unfortunate slobs who are called to her Senate hearings – has made her a darling of the mainstream media and Democrats. Second, both she and Biden have experience as senators, and there’s a mindset there I think Biden would have a certain sense of comaraderie with. And finally (and most importantly), she would naturally and instinctively play the role of attack dog for the Biden campaign (the kind of role Harris would excel at), thereby allowing Biden to take the high road and focus his message on what a Biden administration would look like. Sure, she attacked Biden’s record on race pretty good during one of those Democratic debates, but Biden – perhaps more than anyone else – knows the difference between political posturing and personal attack, and would be able to look past that. Were Biden smart – and folks have already written ad nauseum about how poor his political instincts are – Harris would be his choice.

Which brings me to Susan Rice. As I’ve written earlier, if Rice is added to the Biden ticket it would (in my view) illustrate a staggering show of weakness on Biden’s part. First of all, it would reveal without any doubt that Biden is nothing but a empty vessel carrying water for Barack Obama and the Washington elite, signalling a return to the Obama administration with its policies, priorities, and politics. In my view, it would be a terrible choice, allowing Trump to not just run on his own economic record and compare and contrast and compare with those of the Obama administration (not to mention the Washington “swamp”), it would also open up another front of attack by highlighting the Obama administration’s numerous failures in foreign policy and Rice’s role in those failures. Benghazi and Libya, and Rice’s role in blatantly lying about it on numerous occasions once again will come to the fore, and history will not be kind to her. Secondly, I am now of the belief that the Durham investigation will come out ahead of the November election, and you can bet Rice will be at the center of whatever the results of that investigation are, whether there are indictments or not.

More than anything else, the choice of Rice causes Biden’s campaign to be a “looking back” campaign as opposed to one that is forward-looking and inspirational. I believe when folks are going to the polls for a presidential election they are voting forward, not backward. True, voting forward requires a “more of the same” mentality, but it is really a “I want more of the current direction” kind of vote. Having Susan Rice on the ticket would make Biden’s slogan something akin to Warren Harding’s “return to normalcy” campaign, but what “return to normalcy” would that involve? Ferguson and Baltimore? We’re seeing the results of that in spades nowadays, and I don’t think it paints the Democrats and their lack of condemnation for the ongoing riots and looting going on in Democratic-led cities in a positive light. How does adding Susan Rice to the Biden ticket motivate new voters to pull a lever for Biden? Simple answer, it doesn’t.

Rice is a policy wonk – an experienced policy wonk, for sure – but one with no charisma and (I would argue) no reason or purpose for being on the Biden ticket other than allowing Biden to check off the appropriate boxes for an African-American female as his running mate. In my view, the baggage of the Obama administration that Rice would bring would diminish Biden’s already (shall we say) diminishing political and personal stature (Biden revealing his presidency to be nothing more than Obama III). Rice’s foreign policy legacy will be a dartboard for Trump TV ads, and her understated personality offers zero for a campaign that truly needs a dynamic personality to contrast what Biden would characterize as something akin to “his steady hand on the tiller”.

Choosing Susan Rice as his VP choice would be a disaster for Joe Biden, but given Biden’s notoriously poor political instincts and the fact that it has become increasingly clear that Biden is nothing more than a figurehead, an establishment-chosen candidate the Washington power-brokers can push and prod and manipulate to carry their water in what would be a third Obama administration, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Rice ends up being the choice.

And what a disaster that would be! Of course, Biden would have no one to blame but himself: after all, he was the one who declared that his choice for VP would be an African-American female (as opposed to, say, the most qualified candidate). But that, in a nutshell, would illustrate just how shallow and politically tone-deaf Joe Biden is, and always has been, as a politician.


UPDATED: And so it’s Harris after all. As I mention above, this just confirms in my view just how bad Biden’s political instincts are. Not only has he chosen someone whose personality is so abrasive and her political past so controversial (the Trump campaign should put this Tulsi Gabbard clip in regular rotation) that she dropped out of the Democratic race with something like a 2 favorability, but she offers nothing to Biden in terms of electoral support – California was never going to go red to begin with. While it is true that Harris can play the role of Biden’s attack dog, Harris has so many skeletons in her closet that her role will be muted as best.

The biggest problem for Biden now is that he really has nothing to make independents want to vote for him except for their dislike and/or disapproval of Trump. Which (in my view) is never enough to pull you over the finish line in November. Most folks want to vote for someone and/or something, which Trump’s base and many independents who see the riots and looting in Democratic cities with their Democratic mayors and governors refusing or unwilling to do anything about it will most certainly do. The folks who truly hate Trump will, of course, crawl over broken glass to do so, but a Biden / Harris ticket does not, and will not “move the needle”. The Biden campaign is on life support, and you’ll see his choice of Harris show that in the polls over the coming weeks.

If Biden truly wanted to infuse some excitement and an image of political competence into the race he would have chosen Gabbard. She’s attractive, likeable, politically moderate, and a fresh face that independents in key battleground states would be drawn to. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that with Gabbard on the ticket she might just have been able to drag “Slo’ Joe over the finish line. But as I mentioned above, the big mistake Biden made was to announce at the start that he was going to choose an African-American as his VP. So who does he choose? A woman who only African-American link is her skin color (she’s mixed race), and whose record in the black community is questionable at best. It’s a disastrous pick for Biden and the Democrats, but this is what you get when your candidate has been chosen by the Party Establishment instead of its most passionate and engaged voters.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 09:51 | Comments Off on Mulling Biden’s VP Choice [UPDATED]
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