Joe Biden was seen earlier this week clutching a cheat-sheet full of praise for California’s junior Democratic senator (and veep hopeful), Kamala Harris.
Taking questions from the press on Tuesday, an Associated Press photographer captured Harris’ name “scrawled across the top” of Biden’s note, according to the AP report, along with these five talking points:
• Do not hold grudges
• Campaigned with me & Jill
• Great help to campaign
• Great respect for her
A couple of things worth noting about those talking points before we get to the broader veepstakes issue.
Four out of the five of these need reminding? Everything but the first item — which we’ll get to momentarily — is pure boilerplate. Those talking points aren’t anything more than the slick praise that slides out of a politician’s mouth as easily as lies do.
Furthermore, as the AP story noted, they’re things the former veep has already said about his potential veep on more than one occasion.
That said, as a belt-and-suspenders guy myself, maybe I shouldn’t give much thought to even seasoned politicians who bring cheat-sheets to the lectern with them.
Now, let’s get back to that first item, which is worthy of a thought or two.
The tense of “do not hold grudges” is curious.
If it said “does not hold grudges,” it would be clear that Biden was supposed to say, perhaps in his aw-shucks way, that Harris holds no grudge against him for beating her so thoroughly for the nomination.
Harris’ campaign proved to be such a non-starter, though — she dropped out before the Iowa caucuses — that it’s hard to imagine Biden holding a grudge against her.
If there are any grudges to be held by the Delaware Democrat, it ought to be against rival Bernie Sanders. Sanders helped pull the party — and Biden — so far to the left that it imperils what Biden hoped would be a gimme race against President Donald Trump.
But written as-is, it seems to be a reminder to Biden not to hold any grudges against Harris.
Why? Maybe for her race-based attack on Biden’s record during one of last year’s Democratic presidential debates.
It was a brutal verbal assault we witnessed last June:
If Biden — his memory being what it is these days — needs to be reminded not to hold a grudge against Harris, maybe we shouldn’t judge him on that score, either.
But we’re going to have to judge him — probably harshly — on whomever he chooses for veep.
Maybe the important takeaway is that as Biden gets excruciatingly close to announcing his veep pick, it’s Harris’ name that seems to be coming up most often.
Stephen Kruiser, Bryan Preston, and Yours Truly tossed around Biden’s veep choices on Wednesday’s VIP Gold live chat [replay available!], and Bryan and Kruiser both lean toward Biden picking Barack Obama’s former liar-in-chief — er, national security advisor — Susan Rice.
Rice brings a lot of baggage, but as my video chat compadres noted, Obama would campaign his bottom off for Slow Joe if Rice were his veep, in order to maintain a direct line of control into a Biden administration.
But the baggage Rice would have to get through to Election Day is huge, like my pint-sized younger son trying to carry my overstuffed three-suit hanging bag all the way to the airport.
Michael Hersh warned in Foreign Policy on Wednesday that Rice’s baggage includes “her role in the 2012 Benghazi tragedy to a personality described by many as abrasive, a lack of political experience, and a shaky track record while helming the National Security Council.”
“Shaky” must be a euphemism for “the worst foreign policy advisor since that time Leonid Brezhnev disguised himself as Zeb Brzezinski and snuck inside the Carter White House Situation Room.”
Between all that and Biden’s cheat sheet, I’m still thinking it’s going to be Harris.
As I wrote back in May when I last looked at Biden’s veepstakes, Harris might bring much to the ticket:
My RedState colleague Joe Cunningham wrote earlier today that it looks like “someone out there thinks that Kamala Harris should be or is going to be Joe Biden’s choice for Vice President,” and I’m inclined to agree. Cunningham notes that Harris has “won local and state elections and was a major contender in the primary,” and perhaps most importantly, she enjoys national name recognition, “and word is that she has been working on some of her weaknesses from the primary.”
I’ll end with a reminder from that same column about how important this veep pick is, and what a menace her or she could prove to be if — God forbid — Joe wins in November:
Not since a dying FDR allowed his party to remove crypto-Communist Henry A. Wallace from the ticket and replace him with Harry S. Truman has a Democratic vice-presidential pick mattered as much as it does right now. Alleged Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appears to be fading so fast, that not even campaigning from his own basement under the gentlest possible conditions and using cheat-sheets during powder-puff interviews have been enough to hide his mental decline.
If Harris is the next vice president of this country, we’ll find ourselves longing for the days of Jimmy Carter playing nice with Brezhnev.