Hello. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I am Lisa Lerer, your host.
When it comes to the vice presidency, Joe Biden has a perfect candidate in mind: himself.
Well, if he were Josephine R. Biden Jr., of course.
Commenting on his search for a running mate, Mr. Biden made it clear that he wanted someone with the qualities he believed to be the perfect choice for Barack Obama in 2008 – someone who is loyal is ready to “on first day ”. and, as Mr. Biden said, is "simpatico with me, both in terms of personality and in terms of substance."
Of course, self-perception is not always correct. Sure, Mr. Obama wanted someone to work with. And as his strategist David Axelrod later reported, early chemistry between the two men helped complete Mr. Biden's selection.
But initially, the Obama-Biden relationship was hardly the bromance that was immortalized in the democratic memes that followed. People close to Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign said they had real concerns about Mr. Biden, especially because of his ability to stay up to date and his tendency to be political gaffes.
When the race against John McCain intensified in August, people in Obama's orbit thought that they needed a white man on the ticket, preferably an "older man" who could reassure voters who were concerned, a risk for a young one Barrier to enter – breaking senator.
The people involved in the process, the New York Times reported immediately after the announcement, attributed Mr. Obama's decision to Mr. Biden's appeal among white working class voters and his compelling personal history. Another plus: At Mr. Biden's age, then 65, Obama advisors hadn't expected him to apply for the presidency (LOL).
"You are the choice of my heart, but Joe is the choice of my head," said Mr. Obama to Tim Kaine, the then governor of Virginia, after making his choice.
So Mr. Biden's idealized version of his own vice presidency process clearly contains a bit of revisionist history.
He has already made at least one politically strategic decision by restricting the candidates to women. Restricting the outlook by gender eliminates many of Mr. Biden's most loyal and presumably “simpatico” allies – a group made up largely of white men. An activist for racial justice put it politely: "I'm pretty sure that his relationships are aligned with his world too."
Choosing a woman is not about personal loyalty. It's about motivating female voters and recognizing the momentum that women – especially black women – gave the Democratic Party during the Trump era.
Given his age, Mr. Biden must also assure voters that there is someone who can take over if he can no longer serve as president – a reason why not many older women are on the list.
I suppose this is a very long way to take you, dear reader, through the blizzard of vice presidential speculation that overlaps the political conversation.
Mr. Biden said he will announce his election in early August, so this week's forecast is for more hot takes, rumors, and backbiting. Since it's exclusively women, there is likely to be a hint of sexism in the mix, as we've seen in reports that largely address anonymous concerns from donors who say Kamala Harris is "too ambitious" for the job. (I've never met an ambitious politician, but maybe that's a topic for a completely different column.)
Don't get too involved with the leaks and counter-leaks, the "close Biden allies" and the gossiping donors. Sure, choosing a runner is complicated. Sure, personal relationships and trust are important. But do you know who is not interested in chemistry? Presidential candidates lose.
In the end there is a strategic imperative that outweighs all others.
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Who is the "choice of your head"?
We asked for your opinion on the election of the Vice President. Here's some of what you had to say:
It should be Kamala Harris for several reasons: 1) Mike Pence will be before the V.P. Debate. 2) If she is attacked by the Republicans for her gaffes as California Attorney General, she will shame her as white nationalists trying to destroy another black woman. 3) She has a winning smile. Think of Reagan. Think W. Think Clinton. Think Obama. 4) Who else has an anagram of their name near "I Alarm Shark"?
– Tom Woodward
The first – and most important – question the candidate has to ask himself is: "Who would be the best president?" Susan Rice passes this test with all her experience, understanding, temperament and grace. And it can easily adapt to campaign mode.
– Tim Hulbert
Tammy Duckworth would be a strong vice presidential candidate for the following reasons: She has campaign experience. She has congress experience. It represents an apparently forgotten constituency: the men and women are actually waging a war that cannot be won and apparently will never end. Every day she juggles the responsibility of motherhood with that of her political career.
– Elisabeth Martensen
And there were at least some names that were not on Mr. Biden's list …
I suggest Condoleezza Rice. As a former foreign minister, she has a strong background in world affairs, speaks Russian, and could help repair the damage Trump has done worldwide. Although she wasn't running for office, I think she would be an articulated speaker and candidate. Having served a Republican president, she would appeal to the many Republicans like me who will vote for Joe Biden.
– Irene McAllister
Michelle Obama. She has more experience and skills than anyone else, including Biden.
– Jerry McCann
Compiled by Isabella Grullón Paz.
#teamleggings for life. The Washington Post quotes Alexa Muñoz, who says goodbye to jeans:
"I haven't worn a single pair of jeans since the pandemic started," said Muñoz, 46, a Manhattan translator. "You look at me sadly from the closet, but it's like," You know what? I don't wear them anymore. "Why did I punish myself?"
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