March 6, 2020


The Biden veepstakes  (Damon Linker, March 6, 2020, The Week)

That leaves the person who might be the best choice of all -- and a true dark horse in the competition to become second in line to the most powerful job on the planet: Sixty-year-old Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico. A lawyer and former member of the House of Representatives, where she served as chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Lujan Grisham became the first Democratic Latina governor in the country in 2018. Along the way, she's also served as New Mexico's secretary of health. On the personal side, she shares with Biden a family history marked by tragedy: Her sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor as a child and died at age 21, while her husband (with whom she had two children) died of a brain aneurysm in 2004.

Solid experience as a legislator and chief executive, the potential to woo Hispanic voters to the polls, a compelling and relatable biography -- in all of these ways, Lujan Grisham could well prove to be the perfect choice to serve as Joe Biden's running mate and potential VP.

No one has ever assembled a better team than W, who chose a former Chief of Staff for VP and Defense, a former Deputy Chief of Staff for Chief of Staff, a Chair of the Joint Chiefs/NSC head for State, governors for AG, HHS, EPA, etc, and Senate Chief of Staff for OMB.  He essentially had a senior team where 10 people were qualified to be president.  Of course, he was able to do so because of his confidence in his own qualification.

Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama and Donald Trump, in stark contrast, demonstrated their insecurities by choosing VPs and senior staff for political reasons and for their conspicuous lack of heft.  Uncertain about their own ability to govern they did not want to surround themselves with the better qualified.

Given Uncle Joe's age and the institutional damage done by his predecessor, it would seem a moral duty and patriotic obligation to choose--in particular--a VP, Chief of Staff and Treasury/Defense/State/AG/HHS heads who have actually governed or run governments.  The problem is that the Democratic bench is so shallow.  The best recent governor is Jerry Brown, who is 81.  Pretty nearly none of the sitting governors are popular--the ten most popular are all Republicans and most of the least popular are Democrats--even in overwhelmingly Blue states.  He could, of course, demonstrate bipartisanship by picking a few of the moderate Republicans who are beloved in Blue states--Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker & Phil Scott--but he'd have to be willing to face down the grousing from his own party and likely could not get away with taking one as VP.  He could prevail on his old boss to take State.  He could recycle Kathy Sibelius and Austin Goolsbee from the Obama Administration.  Howard Dean might be plausible at HHS?  But you're really scrambling to assemble a qualified team here.

Posted by at March 6, 2020 8:27 AM