Given how he answered Peter Doocy’s follow-up question here, this looks like a case of him being flip, not seriously confirming that he’s made a choice. It’d be odd, to put it mildly, if the first news outlet to confirm that the Democratic VP race is over was Fox News, as Biden was zipping by on a bike. Even odder, in fact, considering that there’s some history between Biden and Doocy.
On the other hand, he’s supposed to announce his pick this week. If he hasn’t decided on someone already, he must be close.
The newsiest part here may be the fact that a 77-year-old can ride a bike with a mask on and have no difficulty breathing. Masks are safe!
— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) August 8, 2020
His spokesman said afterward that he was joking:
Folks, this is clearly a joke. When Vice President Biden has made a decision on who his running mate will be, he will let the American people know. And can confirm, it's not @pdoocy of @FoxNews. https://t.co/iMfqMGepTE
— TJ Ducklo (@TDucklo) August 8, 2020
People sat up and paid attention to the clip anyway since it jibes with the rumors yesterday that he’d made his selection, which happened to coincide with news of Susan Rice offloading stock. Rice did an interview with The Atlantic yesterday afternoon and was asked if she’s worried about Republicans revisiting the misinformation she famously gave to the Sunday shows about the Benghazi attack back in 2012, should she be chosen as VP. She’s talking tough:
Frankly, for the Republicans to be harping on Benghazi in 2020, when under Donald Trump’s watch, three Americans were killed on a U.S. military base in Pensacola, Florida, last year in a terrorist attack inspired by al-Qaeda—what appears to be the first foreign-directed terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11—because the Defense Department failed to adequately vet the Saudi military personnel who are being trained on that base. But no investigation, no outrage, not a boo out of congressional Republicans. Four American servicemen were killed in a terrorist attack in Niger in West Africa on Donald Trump’s watch, and not a boo, not an investigation. Not an expression of concern. So this is all political distraction. And in a year when over 160,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 because of this president’s ineptitude and incompetence and disregard for human life, putting his own political interests above the health and well-being and the economy of the United States and the ability to educate our kids … they’re going to talk about Benghazi? I say fine, let them.
Not all Republicans are sharpening their knives for her. To the contrary:
I’ve been severe Susan Rice critic. I far prefer her to Harris. I don’t expect to agree with a Biden admin. And I deeply disagree with Rice on Obama agenda. But she’s a serious person, and I think she’ll be more open to traditional GOP thinking on protecting America.
— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) August 7, 2020
Karen has a post coming up about the fact that Gretchen Whitmer was interviewed by Biden for the VP slot last weekend, a minor surprise considering that his shortlist was thought to consist exclusively of black women. I don’t think he’s seriously considering Whitmer, but…
In other words, if Harris allies would not be very happy with the choice of Rice or Bass, and vice versa … well then, maybe you aren't sure you can make a choice that unites Black Democrats behind you anyway. And then you start considering Whitmer.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) August 8, 2020
Right, neither Harris nor Rice nor Bass will unite black Democrats, but I think bypassing half a dozen black women to settle on a white one in the end would *alienate* some Democratic voters, whether black, progressive, or both. Lefties are already writing pieces like this punishing Biden for his pledge early on that he’d choose a woman as his running mate. If they’re willing to smack him for a gesture he made to promote women within the party, imagine what they’d write if he snubbed multiple black candidates after endless reports about Harris, Rice, and Bass as the final three.
There is certainly representational value in electing more women in a country that has been disgracefully underrepresented by anyone other than white men, and that’s what Biden’s pledge was trying to address. But the months that have passed, with no player yet named, have left only the hollowness of that value and … nothing else.
Biden may have intended this to be about an imagined expansion of possibility for women but wound up creating a pre-narrowed field, from which he, the benevolent corrector of representational deficiency (who had just aggressively run against six women), would eventually pluck some lucky contestant. He also ensured that no man could feel that he had been passed over for a woman and no woman could feel that she’d been selected as the right person for the job, merely as the right woman.
And oh, how the conversation about what it means to be the right kind of woman, unfolding in the void created by the absence of a real live choice, has soured.
Whitmer got the courtesy of an interview because the state she governs is crucially important this fall. Team Joe probably leaked the news themselves just to flatter Michigan voters. It won’t be Whitmer.
Exit quotation from WaPo reporter Jose Del Real, making an astute point: “This video is [a] sort of bizarre gift from Fox to the Biden campaign. Looped video of Biden exercising outdoors, ably turning corners on his bike, is the exact opposite image the Trump campaign has tried to paint of an enfeebled elderly man locked in his basement.”