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Back to Politics August 12, 2020


Kamala Harris, official Senate photo
The official portrait of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)


The uniform silence out there surrounding the question of what I think about Joe Biden’s vice presidential selection proves to me that, although millions of Americanos desperately want to know my thoughts, they’re all too intimidated and too shy to ask.  So, out of kindness and an earnest desire to end the misery of anticipation, I will briefly share here some of my views.


It may not have escaped some of you that I’m not an especially enthusiastic fan of Mr. Donald J. Trump.  Several, though, have concluded from that fact that I’m intending to vote for Joe Biden on 3 November 2020.  But that is not true.  I have never voted for Joe Biden and I won’t vote for Mr. Biden this time, either.  I’m resigned to being melancholy on 4 November.  I can support neither of them, and, whoever wins, I’ll be discouraged.


Right now, I think it very likely that Joe Biden will win the presidency in November.  He will almost certainly interpret that as a mandate for leftward change — his vice presidential pick seems to suggest that he holds that view — but I believe that such an interpretation will be quite wrong.  If he wins, he will win because he’s not Trump, because many people in the country (myself very much included) yearn for a return to something approaching normalcy.  He will not win because the electorate dreams of a lurch to more regulations, more racial identity politics, greater and more centralized federal power, left-leaning judges, gender-neutral pronouns, an end to women’s athletic programs, removing the faces on Mount Rushmore, and forcing cake decorators and orders of nuns to celebrate progressive views of sexuality.


As it is, Joe Biden leads because he represents a generic challenger to our very ungeneric president.  To the extent that he individuates himself, he risks losing his lead.  If he’s seen as too leftish, for example, or too incoherent and mentally challenged, he could still lose.  Even against Mr. Trump.


And there are plenty of policy reasons why people should worry about Mr. Biden.  Here’s just one of them:


“Joe Biden’s tough road ahead on religious freedom: Joe Biden’s supporters believe he’ll protect people of faith. Why do many conservative voters disagree?”


In that light, this is interesting:


“Biden Plays the Catholic Card: His campaign’s ‘faith outreach’ effort falls short.”




It also strikes me as unlikely that Mr. Biden will serve more than a single term.  It’s not inconceivable that he won’t even finish his first term.


Mr. Donald J. Trump was the oldest American president on his first Inauguration Day, taking office at 70 years of age.  Joe Biden will be 78 years old on Inauguration Day 2021.  And there are grounds for being concerned about his mental fitness.


So his choice of a vice presidential running mate may prove unusually important.  In choosing Kamala Harris, he may well have chosen the next president of the United States.  He has almost certainly selected the next Democratic presidential nominee — and probably already for 2024, not just for 2028.


I was very disappointed, in that light, when it became apparent that Mr. Biden had limited his list of possible vice presidential running mates to black women.  Not because, as my more deranged critics will hasten to declare, I’m a misogynist who is also opposed to uppity black people daring to exit the plantation.  (For what it’s worth, I was a big Margaret Thatcher fan, I love the writing of Thomas Sowell, and I would happily support Condoleeza Rice for the presidency.  If, as seems likely, Senator Harris becomes our next vice president, I will regard her race and gender as indicating a step forward — in that regard). With this potentially very consequential selection, however, I wanted Mr. Biden to choose the best qualified person from the largest possible pool of candidates, regardless of gender or color.  The way he’ gone about it seems to me quite unserious.


But he’s done what he’s done.  And, truth be told, had I been Joe Biden, and had I been choosing from a candidate group artificially limited to (progressive) black women, Kamala Harris would have been my choice, as well.  I’m not even slightly surprised by his having picked her.


Electorally speaking, I would have had only one reservation.  But it’s a fairly big one:  When she was a candidate in her own right for the Democratic presidential nomination, she seemed a very, very serious prospect.  I thought she might take it.  Like Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), though, who also looked really good in theory, she absolutely fizzled.  Her campaign went basically nowhere.  And, if I were in Joe Biden’s position, I would be more than a little bit concerned about why that happened — and about whether it will happen again.




Finally, here are some other thoughts on Senator Harris that resonated (ominously) with me:


“Is Kamala Harris as Safe a VP Pick as She Seems?  Thinking through the California senator’s strengths and weaknesses.”


“On Kamala Harris”


“Kamala Harris’s Former Press Secretary Is Twitter’s Top Censor”


“Kamala Harris’s Relentless Pursuit of Power: There is no power Harris has held that she hasn’t abused.”


“Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry”


Posted from Seaside, Oregon



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