Mr. Biden: Door 1, 2, or 3? Part I

[While our current national struggle against the novel Coronavirus obviously dwarfs political issues, former Vice President Biden’s announcement on Sunday regarding his intent to select a woman running mate made this seem the appropriate time to post a note (slightly edited to remove references to those no longer in the running 😉 ) prepared some time ago.]

It now appears almost certain that former Vice President Joe Biden will secure the Democrats’ presidential nomination. As almost all who care are aware, Mr. Biden indicated his intent to select a woman as his running mate in his most recent debate with U.S. VT Sen. Bernie Sanders. Since that time, a number of articles have speculated on whom he might pick.

In the past, Mr. Biden specifically stated that would consider U.S. MA Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In a post earlier this year that found favor with several readers of these pages, I ventured that a Biden-Warren ticket might form a transitional administration that would let our people catch their breath and afford us the opportunity in 2024 to determine which way we wanted to proceed as a nation. That was before Ms. Warren so vehemently embraced Medicare-for-All, which clearly deflated her support and was an early indicator that the majority of Democratic voters perceive moderation rather than radical change as the path to victory in 2020.

We have traditionally hired our presidents in part with the expectation – notwithstanding the current White House occupant – that they have the capacity to think ahead. While all presidential candidates claim that they select the running mate most qualified to be President if they can no longer serve, in fact, most pick a running mate to address a vulnerability in their own general election resumes. Moderates Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford respectively selected Richard Nixon and Bob Dole to encourage Republican conservatives; New England Liberal John Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson to win Texas’ Electoral College votes; Conservative Ronald Reagan selected George H.W. Bush to hearten Republican moderates; competent but lusterless John McCain selected the electric Sarah Palin in an attempt to counteract the excitement generated by Barack Obama; and Outsiders Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Mr. Obama, and Donald Trump respectively selected Insiders Walter Mondale, Dick Cheney, Mr. Biden, and Mike Pence to reassure their parties’ traditionalists. Mr. Biden and a couple of his trusted aides are clearly already considering which of a number of capable female Vice Presidential nominee candidates might best enable him to secure the White House. Assuming that Mr. Biden wishes to balance his ticket, whom might he select?

I see three doors Mr. Biden might open; but in an effort to keep this post to a somewhat manageable length, what remains of this note will appear in Part II.

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