March 23, 2023

As a follow-up to the that ludicrous Times op-ed yesterday about an open primary for vice president, TPM Reader JS shares some thoughts …

I was never a Kamala partisan, I was for Loretta Sanchez in the primary (even after she came out dancing around at the state party convention, even after she lost the nomination there). There was just too much trying to bottle Obama’s lightning going on with how her ascent was handled in California politics and Loretta had my eternal thanks for ridding us of Bob Dornan. I thought Kamala was the inevitable and solid pick for VP. I agree that she’s less than ideal as a presidential candidate, that her performance was poor in the primary, and that performance was connected to her indelible traits as a leader.

But what all of these stupid articles miss, whether it’s NYT editorialists who’ve had too much box wine or a certain former-Slate podcaster or some other hot take, is that the perfect way to make her stronger is for her to, you know, actually be the President.

All of these takes imply that it’s some sort of faux pas for a President to die in office, so we should do [stupid fucking idea in my blog]. Except that’s what Vice Presidents are for and what they’ve always been for. The only other thing they are for is tiebreaking in the Senate, and Kamala’s done great with that.

Implicit in all of these takes is that (a) author’s underestimation of Biden is correct (b) Democrats are’t allowed to die in office, otherwise it would be irresponsible(???) (c) Kamala will never be any good.

I can dispute all of these, especially given how people continue to underestimate Biden. Why the media decided (b) I cannot say. It must be another one of those rules they make up to criticize Democrats for when they might not happen. (Not a word, even in retrospect, about just how bad Trump’s bout of Covid was.) The system is literally built for this. The Constitution, it’s Amendments, and the succession laws. (c) seems likely to me, but if I’m really a Democrat and a not concern troll trying to generate clicks, the best may to give her a boost is for her to be the incumbent. So, you know, how things are.

There’s really no serious argument not to just have Biden/Harris in 2024 as the ticket. And who knows?! Maybe it will be Harris by then. It’s not like there’s a law of physics that says Biden will survive until Election Day 2024 but after that he turns into a pumpkin and dies automatically or something.

Anyway, somehow I’m sure Joe Biden maybe dying is good for John McCain.

I should be clear on one point. I’d be totally fine with having Kamala Harris as President. To the extent I have an issue with her — and that’s only to a very minor degree — it’s purely political-electoral. She didn’t run a very good campaign in 2020. It struck me as clumsy. And a key attribute of politicians is being able to win elections. JS makes the very good point that being Vice President basically diminishes everyone who holds the office. On the other hand, Joe Biden did pretty well with it. So we don’t know what the future holds.

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