What Joe Biden’s Got To Do About VP

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/04/29/what-joe-bidens-got-to-do-about-vp/

Political pundits are increasingly speculating about potential vice presidential running mates for presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden. Near the top of every list are the names Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar. They are the two most likely picks, but not necessarily for reasons the liberal media advertises.

Biden, himself, has already narrowed the field considerably by excluding all male Democrats from consideration. Done in the heat of the early primary season when his campaign was collapsing, Biden scrambled to make concessions. He first surrendered to the extremists demanding he support taxpayer funding of abortion. Then, further currying favor with feminists, Biden guaranteed a woman running mate.

In the Democrat Party, such a blatant example of identity politics barely caused a ripple. No one dared mention that Biden was eliminating from contention 18 Democrat governors and 30 Democrat senators, from whose ranks vice presidential nominees almost always spring. Thirty is the number of excluded current male Democrat senators, including a pseudo-independent who always votes Democrat and a socialist whose policies line up closely with Democrats. Instead of choosing among all 47 Democrat members of the dreadfully misnamed “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body,” Biden decided to cramp his options, not broaden them. 

Because of this pandering, Biden has locked out the hottest current Democrat, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is the latest darling of the liberal media, who hail the Empire State governor as a left-leaning, science-driven, and aggressively articulate alternative to President Donald Trump.

Filling the running mate slot is undoubtedly the most important decision every presidential candidate makes, let alone one of Joe Biden’s advanced years. Yet, no one seems to notice the irony of the former vice president truckling to pro-abortion feminists, even as he drastically limits his own choices. 

One wonders if Biden and his advisors regret his rash commitments, after his massive primary victories beginning in South Carolina. Clearly, the former vice president surrendered prematurely and unnecessarily, locking himself into the leftist straitjacket. One might assume that the Communist Chinese, Vladimir Putin, and assorted radical Islamic leaders are taking the measure of the man, and giddily observing a politician who folds quickly under minimal pressure.

Still, Biden’s team can take some running mate lessons from previous presidential campaigns. In the post-World War II epic, every winning Democrat vice president previously served in the U.S. Senate. Obviously enough, every successful presidential nominee chose a U.S. senator as his running mate.

Therefore, Biden would be well advised to choose a senator as his vice presidential selection. His self-imposed exclusionary rule narrows his choices to a field of 17 female senators.

Upon closer examination, Biden’s selection committee might also note a salient point about every successful two-term Democrat presidency:  Each vice presidential running mate had previously sought the presidential nomination on his own.

John F. Kennedy selected Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson as running mate, after the Texas senator had run for and lost the 1960 nomination. Yet the pragmatic Catholic Cold Warrior believed he needed the geographical and religious balance Johnson brought to the ticket, much to the chagrin of brother Bobby Kennedy and northern liberals who dismissed LBJ as an outdated, log rolling, bring-home-the-bacon wheeler-deal, whose image conflicted with the idealistic New Frontier. 

Because of the tragic Kennedy assassination, Johnson ran to continue the Democrat presidency in 1964. Johnson designated Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey as his choice. An ebullient chatterbox liberal, Humphrey had also run for president in 1960, contesting LBJ and JFK. The Johnson-Humphrey campaign rolled to a historic victory in the November election, giving Democrats eight years of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

The Democrat Party did not win two consecutive presidential terms again until 1992, when Bill Clinton emerged from Arkansas, armed with bimbos and his non-cookie-cookin’ spouse Hillary, who promised two for the price of one. Boy, did the American voters get taken in by that hucksterism.

In that election, the Clintons found another former presidential contender to add to the ticket. From neighboring Tennessee, Senator Al Gore had sought the party nomination in 1988, when he introduced Massachusetts prisoner furloughs to the American public in an effort to torpedo frontrunner Mike Dukakis, longtime Bay State governor. Soon enough a household name, Willie Horton was the convicted murderer furloughed by Dukakis’s progressive penal policies, only to see this ideal prisoner commit unspeakably heinous crimes in Maryland.

Gore’s willingness to go for the political jugular likely recommended him to the Clintons, as an equally ruthless and ambitious player.

The Clinton-Gore ticket won two consecutive terms, defeating two World War II heroes George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. Those elections put to rest the old-fashioned notion that having “veteran” next to your name was a requirement or even desirable for political success.

Despite his inscrutable memory lapses and unprovoked verbal gaffes, Joe Biden will certainly recall the last two-term Democrat presidency. After all, he served in it.

In 2008, Barack Obama selected Senator Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate. Biden had twice failed in prior presidential bids. Most recently, he had lost to Obama in that year’s contest. Two decades before, Biden had been part of the Dukakis-Gore 1988 rumble. That campaign must be seared into Biden’s memory bank. In that year, Biden was knee-capped by Dukakis’s top hatchet man John Sasso, who secretly released Biden-Kinnock tapes to the media.

No, not the kind of salacious video tapes in which celebrities routinely revel today. These tapes captured candidate Biden delivering his autobiographical memories to supportive audiences with incredibly moving and effective words. Biden was reputedly giving the best stump speech on the presidential campaign circuit. Dukakis’s organization uncovered one problem — the “autobiographical” parts of Biden’s story were filched word-for-word from a British politician named Neil Kinnock. Even an empty-barrel rhetorician like Biden found it impossible to talk his way out of that one. He was forced to quit the Democrat field ignominiously. 

Two decades later, the liberal media ignored the Biden-Kinnock embarrassment, and the Obama-Biden ticket defeated yet another Republican military hero, John McCain.

Obama and Biden won reelection in 2012, securing the third time since the end of World War II that the Democrat Party held the presidency for two consecutive terms.

This leads to the most pertinent point for the Biden team. Should the rapidly aging Biden desire not one, but two presidential terms, he would be wise following suit and choosing a running mate who previously sought the Democrat nomination. Having already endured a certain degree of vetting, a former candidate is likely to pass the initial test for vice presidential candidates:  First, do no harm. 

Thus, Biden should consider only senators who also ran for the Democrat nomination. Second place finisher Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is excluded on the basis of the principle of “do no harm.” Sanders calls himself a socialist, a descriptive other Democrats shun, knowing its negative implications for swing voters.

Another 2020 aspirant and former big city mayor, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, seems an appealing running mate based on his resume and rhetoric. Under normal circumstances, Booker would be on everyone’s shortlist, had Biden not excluded him and Sanders as anatomically incorrect.

After ignoring Booker, who actually is a minority, Biden is considering Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is not a minority despite her persistent claims to the contrary. Yet one more failed 2020 candidate, Warren displayed remarkable weakness everywhere, especially in home state Massachusetts where she fell to a crushing third place finish. 

Realistically speaking, Biden — even in the midst of his out-of-touch reveries — cannot possibly think of Warren as an electable running mate … Can he?

All of which leads directly back to a pair of 2020 presidential aspirants who meet the critical essentials for Biden:  Women. Pro-abortion. United States senators who campaigned for the Democrat nomination.

Should Biden decide to try winning back blue collar voters and Midwestern states, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will be his choice. If he doubles down on identity politics and pandering to the liberal coastal elites, California Senator Kamala Harris will fill the slot.

Considering Biden’s recent efforts to ingratiate himself with progressive Democrats, look for the latter.


Joseph Tortelli is a freelance writer. Read other columns by Mr. Tortelli here.