In the last few weeks, Karen Bass has gotten attention as a serious contender for Vice President. Bass has suggested that she would not be interested in running for President later, which would allow a Biden presidency to be transitional, all about paving the way for a new generation, allowing primary voters to choose who the next candidate is, without setting a Vice President as a clear favorite for the next race.
Some supporters of Kamala Harris see this as sexist, a view of ambition as a negative in women in a way that doesn’t apply to men. It is worth noting that when John Kerry selected John Edwards as a running mate, he wanted a promise that Edwards wouldn’t run against him in 2008.
Josh Barro sees the ambition criticism as nonsense, something that people will stop arguing about once the Democratic ticket is established.
This is such a nonsense take. Suppose Biden picks Susan Rice. And then people say “You passed over Kamala for being ‘too ambitious’!” Is the implication that Susan Rice is not ambitious? Whoever gets put on the ticket will be an ambitious woman.
Nobody will remember this controversy in a month.
It’s a lot easier for Harris’ camp to take umbrage at Kamala Harris being passed over for Woman To Be Named Later than to explain why the specific woman named as the VP candidate is a worse exemplar of women’s empowerment (and very likely first woman president) than Harris is.
and that’s why nobody will remember the controversy in a month — either Harris will be on the ticket, or another woman liked by Democrats will be, and the focus will be on who is the candidate, not who isn’t the candidate.
Jamelle Bouie thinks ambitious people will govern better.
i continue to think this is total beltway politics brain, divorced completely from the question of governing. whoever biden chooses should a) be prepared to be president and b) should want to be president
reversing the ship of state after trump will be an all hands task and the vice president should be chosen with that in mind, especially since the choice will have almost no weight on voting in november.
if biden wins and keels over a month later the vice president should not only be able to quickly take over the job but should have a vision of what she wants to do with the office.
It seems to be a bit of a moot point, as we’ve since learned all sorts of weird stuff about her once her profile increased. When Fidel Castro died, she said ” “The passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba.” She gave a speech at a Scientology center.
Jonathan Chait notes that the scientology flap reveals a downside to picking politicians who aren’t all that ambitious.
One reason you want an ambitious VP is that they’ll organize their career to avoid things like this that would look bad on the national stage
ie Harris has been looking to move up all along, and has avoided these land mines. Bass hasn’t.
She also made sure to add a eulogy to Oneil Marion Cannon, former USA Communist Party leader, to the congressional record.
There’s other stuff in their background.
Tablet Magazine last week revealed that Bass belonged to an organization called the Venceremos Brigade, founded in the 1970s by pro-Cuba leftists. She was described as a leader of the group in a 1975 communist publication, but her office denied she had that role. An anti-communist writer in the conservative Epoch Times on Sunday dug into her past — including comments she once made about how “I grew up with a lot of red diaper babies” — and asked in a headline “Karen Bass: Will Joe Biden Choose a Pro-Communist Running Mate?”
I wonder how much of this is the shortcomings of one notable politician (former leader of a California state legislative body, current chairwoman of a prominent Congressional group) and how much of it is just the lack of scrutiny people get when they’re not seen as contenders for national office. Clearly, the media has failed to give a prominent Democrat the kind of scrutiny given to prominent Republicans.