I thought it would be, although I didn’t think the announcement would happen this afternoon. Why not wait until morning?
Answer, I assume: Because he thought the news would leak. Once he’d decided, he had to come clean.
I think, as the reporting emerges, we’ll find that Susan Rice was the only other candidate seriously considered.
BREAKING: Joe Biden picks California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first Black woman on a major party presidential ticket. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is one of the party's most prominent figures. https://t.co/HAelD4v2ZH
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 11, 2020
Why Harris? Because she was the “safe” pick and Biden has played it safe at every turn of the campaign. If he’d chosen anyone else, he would have had to answer questions about the VP’s experience (Abrams, Demings, Whitmer) or radicalism (Warren, Bass). Harris is a senator and leftish but not scary-left like Warren. She’ll adopt whatever ideology she needs to in the name of getting elected. Rice, meanwhile, would have set righties barking about Benghazi, unmasking, the Iran nuclear deal, on and on. It would have given Trump a rare opportunity during this campaign to go on offense.
You know what they say: The VP nominee’s most important job is to do no harm. Harris does the least harm. Biden made the safe play.
More soon. Stand by for updates.
Update: The VP’s second-most important job is to be effective in the vice-presidential debate. I wonder if Harris’s attack on Biden in the first Democratic debate actually helped her in that regard. She can slash when she wants to. Biden’s going to have her slashing at Trump and Pence now.
Update: There it is:
Biden website has been updated pic.twitter.com/EcCDvDDpti
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) August 11, 2020
Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I'm proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
Update: Michael Brendan Dougherty’s right that this was no-win for Biden in one sense. A younger nominee in better health could pick virtually everyone and not have voters worry. Biden isn’t that nominee.
You can’t see a video of Biden these days without thinking: “His veep pick really matters!” One poll shows that more than half the public believes Biden will not serve the full length of his first term.
And I think this means it’s impossible to make a “correct” pick. Someone who has too large a profile will look too much like a president-in-waiting and overshadow Biden. Someone without a large profile, or too far to his left, will make Biden look like he’s taking the risk of marooning the country with a president who doesn’t have legitimacy.
Forced to choose between those options, he chose the one that won’t potentially cost him votes due to the VP being perceived as not ready for primetime. He’d rather get elected and then worry about being “overshadowed” than lose.
Update: The also-rans are gracious in defeat:
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) August 11, 2020
@KamalaHarris is a great choice for Vice President.
Her tenacious pursuit of justice and relentless advocacy for the people is what is needed right now. 1/ pic.twitter.com/Fnv9SgWxDc
— Karen Bass (@KarenBassTweets) August 11, 2020
California is better because of her work as Attorney General and stronger because of her work as Senator.
Now all Americans will benefit from her work as Vice President.
I will do everything I can to help her and @JoeBiden win in November. 3/3
— Karen Bass (@KarenBassTweets) August 11, 2020
Rice has a better than even chance of being Secretary of State if Democrats regain control of the Senate, I’d guess.
Update: Ah, this’ll be fun. Righties are digging up some the less kind things Harris had to say about Biden during the primaries. This one’s of note:
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she believes the women who have come forward alleging that former Vice President Joe Biden touched them without their consent.
“I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” Harris told reporters at a presidential campaign stop in Nevada on Tuesday…
Asked whether Biden should still run for president, Harris responded that it was up to him. “He’s going to have to make that decision for himself. I wouldn’t tell him what to do,” she said.
She’ll be his most ardent defender against Tara Reade and other accusers now. I’m curious to see how she walks back “I believe them,” though. If the progressive default is to trust women even in a pure he said/she said situation, where neither side can produce evidence of guilt or innocence, on what basis does she retreat from that belief now?
Update: I wonder if another factor in Harris’s favor was her law-enforcement pedigree. That was a liability for her in the primary, most famously when Tulsi Gabbard tore into her at a debate, but it’s less of a liability to Biden right now when rising murder rates, looting, and whatever the hell’s going on in Portland today are nudging the Law And Order President back into contention in some swing states. I thought Val Demings might be a dark-horse possibility because of her career as a cop, to give Biden a little extra crime-fighting cred. But Harris does that to some extent too — if the left will let her. She and Biden and stuck between wanting to show off her AG credentials to impress centrists and not wanting to show them off too much lest progressives get after her again for not doing more to advance criminal justice reform.
Update: Speaking of Gabbard, I wonder if she’ll be deputized now as some sort of attack dog for Trump. She’s always been chummy with the right’s nationalists and the Fox crowd despite her progressive beliefs. She’s leaving Congress in six months too so she’s no longer beholden to Democrats. Would she be willing to go back on offense against Harris for Trump’s benefit?
Update: Man, the Lincoln Project really has gone full Democrat.
Kamala. It’s time. Let’s go. pic.twitter.com/ZsZVrIiofY
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) August 11, 2020
NBC News: According to California state records, President Trump — while a private citizen — twice donated to Kamala Harris while she was a candidate for state AG.
A total of $6,000 in 2011 and 2013 combined.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) August 11, 2020
Update: Here’s Team Trump welcoming Harris to the race.
Trump campaign statement on Kamala Harris
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) August 11, 2020