My vote for Biden hinges on his veep pick
The job of the vice president hasn’t gotten much respect over the years.
Benjamin Franklin is rumored to have suggested that the title be renamed “His Superfluous Excellency.” Vice President John Nance Garner — aka, “who?” — said the role “is not worth a bucket of warm spit!” Even “Hamilton,” the blockbuster musical, got in on the veep-dissing. In one scene, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, urging him to take a break, says of the then vice president, “John Adams spends the summer with his family.” Hamilton retorts, “John Adams doesn’t have a real job anyway.”
But this year is very, very different.
The hyperventilating around the presumptive Democratic nominee’s running mate has been swirling for months. Who will Joe Biden pick? According to sources who spoke with Axios, he’s narrowed it down to Sen. Kamala Harris and former national security adviser Susan Rice.
Biden initially told reporters his answer would come by the first week in August, but as the week comes to a close, that seems less likely. Surely he wouldn’t waste that big of an announcement on a Friday news dump.
Biden, seeming to sense the gnawing frustration of his supporters, election watchers, an anxious media and late-night talk show writers, tweeted Wednesday: “Folks, a lot of you have been asking when I’m announcing my running mate, and I promise I’ll let you know soon.”
To be clear, Biden isn’t late, as some are suggesting. While President Trump announced Mike Pence in July, Mitt Romney didn’t announce Paul Ryan as his veep selection until Aug. 11, 2012. Obama waited until Aug. 23, 2008, to announce Biden would be his.
But the urgency is fraught this year. With everything going on — an uncontained viral pandemic, millions out of work, a sinking economy and an incompetent lunatic presiding over it all — Biden’s running mate takes on considerably more significance.
Add to that the fact that Biden is getting up in years — he’ll be 78 when and if he is sworn in — and we’d be remiss not to consider that whomever he chooses could be running the country without being elected to do so.
Biden’s also got politics to consider. As an aging white man, it seems a younger woman of color would be a natural complement. Others think experience should be the guiding factor. Others still see a need for Biden to add an ideological counterweight — someone further to the left to help bring in the Bernie Sanders voters.