Kamala Harris or Susan Rice? The Veepstakes Appears To Have Kicked Out Two Truly Terrible Choices

Yves here. If you aren’t keen about Kamala Harris or Susan Rice, there’s always Condi Rice. Remember Biden said he might consider a Republican and Team Biden seems fixated on wooing suburban Republican women voters.

In all seriousness, as a woman, I don’t see how picking a vile female candidate helps women. And I cannot fathom why Biden tied his hands by limiting himself to candidates that had to be both female and black. Tactically, he would have been better served by pcking, say, Julian Castro, since Biden isn’t doing as well with Hispanics as his team would like. But Biden may be so convinced that he has the election in the bag that he doesn’t care much. He is likely right right, but Dukakis had a 17 point lead over Bush at this time in 1988. And our greybeard, political scientist Tom Ferguson, similarly thinks it’s too early for Team Biden to be pulling out the champagne corks.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, reportedly one of the last of Joe Biden’s finalists for Vice President

Events on the VP selection front are moving quickly, and so far, it appears from all I can gather (private conversations, news stories, tea leaves left in news stories), that the choice is between Kamala Harris and Susan Rice.

These are two terrible choices, to be clear, neither of them like the Elizabeth Warren of some people’s dreams or the Tammy Baldwin of some others. But if we must have a terrible VP choice, these are among the very worst pick from. Both are women and people of color, so each checks those high priority boxes. Beyond that, though, each brings a different set of highly undesirable qualities to the table. Let’s take a brief look.

Two Bad Choices

Kamala Harris, former San Francisco District Attorney and CA Attorney General, was by the account of a number of lawyers in my acquaintance, one of the worst DAs in the country.

In addition to all the bad deeds that have been made public recently — prosecuting parents for their children’s school truancies; jailing marijuana users, then laughing about using the drug herself when it became to her advantage to do so; and the fact that she “repeatedly and openly defied U.S. Supreme Court orders to reduce overcrowding in California prisons while serving as the state’s attorney general” — there’s the little-known 2010 evidence-tampering scandal that resulted in the dismissal of over 1,000 of her DA office’s prior court cases due to tainted chain of evidence, and the fact that Harris and her office failed to reveal this problem until the story came out.

Because of this case mismanagement, was forced to dismiss a great many cases “in which convictions had been obtained and sentences were being served.” In what was called a “scathing decision,” Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo wrote in May 2010 that Harris “failed to disclose information that clearly should have been disclosed.”

Lawyers will say it’s a lawyer’s job to know the validity of her chain of evidence and also to disclose any problems with with that evidence to defendants. Harris did none of those things, leaving those already convicted and serving sentences to languish in jail rather than reveal a politically damaging failing of her office.

Another Harris negative: She failed to win California, her home state, and in fact was forced to drop out before a truly embarrassing showing in the primary. (If I recall correctly, she was polling close to 3% nationally as the primary approached.) Even though California isn’t a must-compete state for Biden, since he’ll most likely win it comfortably, Harris’s lack of pull is national.

Less is known about Susan Rice, and that may be points in her favor. But if she’s the VP pick, people will get to know her quickly — and learn to not like her just as fast. To summarize the reports I’ve seen, she has no political background or instincts, a chilly and aloof “I know better than you” personal manner, absolutely no domestic policy experience or identifiable positions, and a “love of war” foreign policy stance.

In other words, Rice is the exact opposite of an excellent choice — a person of without political skill, possessed of Obama’s hauteur with none of his charm, and views the outside world through a Hillarist neocon lens. 

She’s also, from as much as I can gather, the most likely pick. Not only do rumors favor her, but there are now reports that people in Biden’s circle are strongly opposed to Harris, in part because “she’s too ambitious and … will be solely focused on eventually becoming president.” 

Those who argue this would be right. Ambition is the only only star Kamala Harris sails by. Which leaves us with Rice, unless a surprise is in the offing.

And An Opportunity

I want to close with a personal note. Given that…

a) No good VP choice will be made by the current deciders, and that

b) This race may not be winnable by the Republicans under any circumstance save a midnight visit to the White House by the Ghost of Donald’s Future

…I think the very worst choice for VP may harbor the very best outcome for progressives. More on that later, but if so, it looks like we may have quite a promising opportunity ahead of us.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Just on Yves initial point about Biden tying himself to a black female candidate. When he did that I was really taken aback – to tie yourself down so tightly in future choices just to make a debating point so early in the process was a schoolboy political error. I assume this wasn’t Biden’s idea – its the sort of thing that makes me wonder about the basic competence of his team.

    I do think VP pick is potentially more important than in previous elections, simply because Trump will inevitably try to focus on Biden’s cognitive decline, and this will make people wonder about who will really make the decisions if it gets worse. A low charisma competent type might be a virtue in those circumstances, but neither of those choices tick that box I think (especially Harris). I can’t see either as being anything but vote losers, especially when the negative attack ads start rolling.

    At this early stage, it looks to me like the Dems are – unbelievably – looking to repeat many of the errors of 2016. You can’t simply rely on people being repulsed by Trump. You must offer something tangible, especially when people are so scared and confused. This is politics 101. If Biden’s team don’t get that, then they absolutely deserve to lose.

    1. Cocomaan

      I think this is Biden’s to lose but you are right, his team is doing everything it can to make errors. The best consultants money can buy.

      His Issues and stances website, for instance, begins with climate change and a green economy. Why? Why not start with the things that matter to most people , like covid response? So strange.

    2. cnchal

      > . . . this will make people wonder about who will really make the decisions . . .

      Just look at who is on team Biden. Larry “pretty air” Summers and the rest of the insiders are using Joe as a ventriloquist’s dummy already.

      That Joe tied his own hands with inverted wokesterism means that this election will be about race. Team white versus all the other colors combined. Hope and change died moar then a decade ago.

      Your last parafraph is, as they say in the MSM while bobbing their heads, exactly right.

    3. Edward

      Biden/Clinton et. al. can’t run on their terrible record, and have unpopular positions on issues like war. They can try to appear hostile to plutocracy with empty rhetoric, something Obama specialized in (“Hope and Change!”, denounce X while doing not X), but which is probably getting stale and losing effectiveness. What is left is identity politics, which has no bearing on substantive issues. Its an area where they can hope to compete with the Sander’s faction in the party, unlike on populist issues.

      1. campbeln

        Its an area where they can hope to compete with the Sander’s faction in the party

        In that case, I think they’ve already lost.

    4. Jim Thomson

      Like an economic plan.
      I fear that by October the country will be in much worse shape, and it will be more clear to more people.

    5. L

      The idea that the Dems would repeat 2016 is not unbelievable at all. This is the same group that has spent the last 3 years convincing themselves and many of their followers that Bernie+Putin made this happen to them and it it absolutely not their fault.

      That kind of thinking is designed to prevent any sort of self-reflection or repair and it’s sole value is to blind the already desperate into following you off a cliff again.

      As I have harped on many times their current behavior even to joining with the “disaffected suburban republicans” is exactly the strategy of 2016. Chuck Schumer said so.

      1. lordkoos

        Judging by their actions one could assume that the Democratic party doesn’t really care about winning the presidency — the party leaders and consultants seem content to exist as a fake opposition party while personally reaping the benefits of Republican policies. They were instrumental in killing the campaign of the most popular politician in the country, and the list of losing, charisma-challenged, center/right candidates is a long one — Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary, and now Joe Biden, who fits right in with the previous losers. I don’t underestimate the Democrats’ ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    6. XXYY

      IMO Biden’s VP pick is extremely consequential given Biden’s precipitous mental decline. The guy’s Alzheimers is so advanced now that can barely finish a sentence. He had already pledged at one point to be a one-term president given his obvious problems (a first for the US as far as I know), but I seriously doubt he can finish his first term and may not even make it to the swearing in date next January with any kind of functional acuity.

      Rather than just sitting on the bench for four or eight years (as Biden did himself under Obama), the odds seem extremely high that Biden’s VP will be finishing out Biden’s first term, sooner rather than later. So his VP pick will almost certainly become the president of the most powerful nation on Earth. For better or worse.

    7. Plague Species

      I don’t think they can be called errors at this point. It appears that they are purposely trying to throw the election to Trump. Again. And the liberal faction of the media is selling the ruse just as they did in 2016. They told us for months Hillary had it in the bag, that Trump was a joke and never had a chance and here we are. It’s rinse and repeat and the joke they’re offering as an alternative to the bad joke that is Trump in 2020 is as much a joke as Hillary was in 2016. Seriously, this is as good as it gets? This is the best they can do? Clearly they do not want to win this election and, frankly, aside from some window dressing legislation and a shit ton of rhetoric and propaganda, nothing will be done, if Biden wins, to change the trajectory of our slide into full-fledged fascistic corporate feudalism where the pandemic is being exploited to further that goal.

      Smerconish is doing an excellent job keeping it real and warning everyone not to be deceived by the self-serving polls. Since this software doesn’t like links and moderates you when you provide them, type “Smerconish compares polls from 2016 to 2020: ‘Does this all sound familiar?'” into your browser and have a look-see. We’re being set up again. Trump is too good for ratings. He’s too good for Wall Street. He’s too good if you happen to be in the top 10%. He is a gift horse the establishment will keep because he improves their bottom line and he can take a licking and keep on ticking. He’s the perfect foil.

      Also, what about the infamous Russian meddling? Are we to believe after all the sensationalism and hand-wringing that the Russian meddling they decried for the past nearly four years has suddenly vanished? That Biden is so superior and so awesome he can overcome this nefarious Russian meddling menace where Hillary could not, allegedly? They really do think we are all this stupid and idiotic. That we can’t see the wool they pull before our eyes.

      1. Skip Intro

        All they had to do was stop Bernie. They don’t particularly feel like working, and assume covid will beat Trump. But they are also fine with losing. Their work is done for this cycle. Their courting of ‘moderate republicans’ will not end well. If people have the choice of a real republican and a fake…
        So Trump pulls the DNC right, splits the party, then the republicans stick to form and vote Trump. Lucy pulls away the football from them for a change.

        1. Sue inSoCal

          Yes, to you and Plague Species. Apparently this is as good as it gets. It’s pure DNC. Bernie needed to be out of the way. The virus worked well for that, as did the dis/misinformation project and news blackout. Again. This is painful.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Helluva choice for a potential Madame President. Been reading about Rice for years now and went digging into the past for the article that I remember the most called “Susan Rice is Bad news” by the late Justin Raimondo. This article was back in 2012 when she may have been up for SecState and talks about how she is a charter member of Hillary’s Valkyries and was a friend to African dictators-


    My own guess is that Harris would concentrate on a law and order crackdown in America itself while selling out to Wall Street based on her past record. Rice, on the other hand, would get America into wars in places like the Middle East and Africa while pushing against Russia, China and Iran.

    As Vice President? Rice would simply work around Biden with all her contacts in the Washington Establishment while Harris would not be past leaving a few marbles on the White House staircase if old Joe was about to use it – and blame any “accident” on some of old Joe’s loose marbles.

    1. Michael

      Excellent reminder of our past…

      “The Libyan airstrikes mark the first time in U.S. history that a female-dominated diplomatic team has urged military action. <<>>

      “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and the influential Office of Multilateral and Human Rights Director Samantha Power to argue for airstrikes against Libya. Their advice triggered an abrupt shift in U.S. policy, overturning more cautious administrations’ counselors.”

      Nuff said, Next!

      1. Val

        The haruspicy conducted in this household regarding the veepstakes has always strongly indicated Rice, at least since the primary was… “concluded”, shall we say.

        Rice being a Hillarist– neocon Valkyrie type specimen, knows which rocks must be left unturned to avoid the necessity of largescale emergency cover operations like Ukrainegate and impeachit going forward. Rice also has demonstrated a willingness to read a proferred script directly into the faces of Americans, a core responsibility, whereas Harris is more a standard issue ambitious scrambling Clintonite and has shown less facility with analogous rearguard demands, as the article demonstrates.

        1. CarlH

          Before I looked it up I was sure that “haruspicy” was a typo or a fake word. I stand gladly corrected. Thank you for the education! This is one of the many reasons I love and support NC.

    2. Carolinian

      For those of us who think the presidency is really about foreign policy then Rice sounds like the worst choice by far. And if she’s not much of a politician (or not one at all) then it’s possible the Dems are way too sure of themselves this cycle.

    3. Edward

      Rice has been writing articles as a way to compete for the VP pick, probably. I think one of these articles tried to blame Russia for Covid-19. Like most people in Washington, honesty is probably not her strong suit.

      1. Off The Street

        Rice is unelectable. She is put forth as a cynical ploy to forestall scrutiny and criticism of the eight years of Obama-Biden, but also applicable to Bush II, that has been building through the Courts. Too many problems that have been bubbling to the surface through depositions, document releases and a damning evidentiary trail.

        As a Californian, and as a human being, I urge that Harris be excluded from further consideration, for reasons that so many others have noted. Unless, of course, losing is desired expected.

        1. John Wright

          Maybe Harris will run on her attorney general office’s record of fighting for jobs.

          Of course, these were $2/day jobs for prisoners.


          “According to court filings, lawyers for the state said California met benchmarks, and argued that if certain potential parolees were given a faster track out of prison, it would negatively affect the prison’s labor programs, including one that allowed certain inmates to fight California’s wildfires for about $2 a day.”

          “Extending 2-for-1 credits to all minimum custody inmates at this time would severely impact fire camp participation—a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought,” lawyers for Harris wrote in the filing, noting that the fire camp program required physical fitness in addition to a level of clearance that allowed the felon to be offsite.”

          Note the article has that “Harris, for her part, told BuzzFeed News two months after the arguments were made on her behalf, that she was “shocked” by the argument, telling the publication she was looking into it.”

          If Harris was truly “shocked” by this legal action by her office, it calls into question her ability to manage a relatively small government office.

          And she might be President with a huge office to administer.

  3. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Bidenites would probably seek to have Harris for VP and Rice for Secretary of State.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Harris is ” black like Obama” and that will be good enough for the ethno-racial Grievance Identians at Black Lives Matter, Incorporated.

        1. Sue inSoCal

          It sounds unsympathetic, but you’re correct. (For example, Obama’s campaign ad with Biden alleging that the ACA was some type of bridge to single payer was simply a lie.)

          Kamala Harris is unacceptable, at least to me and most of us in CA. (Please note that some controversial documents were pulled off the Internet when she announced her candidacy.)

          Biden’s vetting committee can’t be this stupid. Or can they? 1) We and no one else in CA wanted this person as president, and because of Biden’s health, she will definitely be, and 2) the Trumpsters will have an absolute blast going through her entire background.

  4. JBird4049

    Ah, a choice of evil or evil. Wonderful! Considering that Putin is considered the source of darkness in the world, maybe former Kremlinologist Condi Rice would be a good choice for the presidency as Biden looks like he’s going to have a health emergency anytime now.

  5. Redlife2017

    “here are now reports that people in Biden’s circle are strongly opposed to Harris, in part because “she’s too ambitious and … will be solely focused on eventually becoming president.” ”

    In a way, I find that a weird sentence. I mean, of course anyone would be focused on becoming president if Old Joe was their running mate, cause…he’s going to have his a** 25th amendmented. Unless they are specifically aiming for a Boris Yeltsin / Woodrow Wilson government where the advisors will be in charge (Weekend at Joe’s!). Actually…that makes sense. And with Rice concentrating on foreign policy, she won’t get involved in the domestic deals that the advisors want a piece of.

    Yes, just think like a late Western Roman Empire observer. After the Biden crew get through with the US, there ain’t gonna be much left…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect they mean that if Harris is around, Biden will need a food taster, just to be sure. And maybe a kevlar layer in all his chairs.

      1. Redlife2017

        So, VERY late Western Roman Empire! With repacious elites and assassinations!

        “The most pointed example of this is the Suebian general Ricimer, who became a “Shadow Emperor” [btw 455 – 472 A.D.] by deposing Avitus, installing and subsequently deposing (and murdering) Majorian, installing (and possibly subsequently murdering) Libius Severus, ruling the Empire himself during an eighteen-month interregnum, deposing and killing Anthemius, and installing Olybrius. His position as “Shadow Emperor” was in turn held by his nephew Gundobad and Orestes; Odoacer simply overthrew Orestes’s puppet Emperor, Romulus Augustus, in 476 and ruled Italy as nominal subordinate of the Emperor-in-exile, Julius Nepos, who continued to reign in Dalmatia until 480.”

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Well, if rumours are correct, Bush I was exactly that to late senile Reagan. I would not doubt for a moment that Harris has made that calculation. And I don’t doubt that the people around Biden know that she is making that calculation.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And since Harris is the Wall Street Warrior and Financial Crimes supporter, she will be the first VP choice of Wall Street Democrats in the halls of money and power. They would council her to make a point of being patient, “Biden” her time and waiting her turn. All she would have to show is the minimal intelligence needed to understand that Biden is near death or Article 25 Incapacity and that being Vice President would be in itself her slow, stately and dignified escalator into the Oval Office.

  6. notjonathon

    If you think that this end of the Republic talk is new, I remember the night in 1960 when JFK chose Lyndon Johnson as his Vice President. My father, who was well acquainted with LBJ, said to me, rather chillingly in retrospect, “If I were Jack Kennedy, I wouldn’t walk down a staircase in front of Lyndon Johnson.”

    1. L

      Perhaps that kind of thinking explains why Bush chose Quayle. For an old spook like him, better to have a fall-guy than be one.

      1. Redlife2017

        That’s the best explanation I have ever heard for Quayle! And it jells with Bush’s MO.

  7. ObjectiveFunction

    I have believed throughout my adult life that the Kennedy (i.e. non-FDR/New Deal) wing of the Democrats and the non-evangelical leadership of the GOP both want America to be governed something like France: by a highly trained technocratic elite that controls both the State and major enterprises, and whose classmates control pretty much all other institutions.

    Republican friends are very worried now that at this point Trump’s sole selling point seems to be that he’s not Biden. That isn’t very compelling to anyone not already in his base – people are looking for action.

    If Trump loses bigly, and the GOP loses the Senate too, the Blob may well get a chance to force its dream of unified government down the nation’s throat during a couple of years of national and global emergency.

    ….But this is all to be led by a senile President, a VP/successor (either Rice or Harris) with no natural electoral base giving her a sense of the people, and a clown car of superannuated and venal liberal hacks in Congress. Who is the de Gaulle or FDR?

    Meanwhile, I believe the GOP will quickly purge its RINOs and reinvent itself as a states rights opposition party, but IMHO will continue to suffer from the disease of hating all government (ex-military) for some time to come. This makes it only effective at sabotaging and dismantling state institutions, not building and running them. It too will need a Caesar figure to lead it out of the wilderness, probably a governor, and who that may be is not clear.

    I’ll leave it to others here to describe what the Left does in this situation…

    1. m sam

      What the left will do if the Republicans go “states rights,” but then suffer from the disease of hating all government, thereby making them effective at sabotaging and dismantling state institutions, not building and running them?

      To be honest that doesn’t sound incredibly different from how Republicans have worked for the last several decades, including the attempts to “purge the RINOs.” So how will “the left” respond to the same-ol’ same-ol’?

      I can’t imagine “the left” will do much, since the bulk of what goes as “the left” is so distracted by identity politics. Perhaps they will simply be soothed by their corporate overlords intoning, “I get it, yes, black lives do matter,” and, happy there is a black woman as VP, go back to sleep chanting, “America is already great,” all the while clicking furiously to order more fake products on “woke” Amazon.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, Biden’s only selling point is that he is not Trump. So there you go.

  8. John

    By all means tie your hands as to who shall be vice president. Perhaps a left-handed person with red hair and a slight squint in the left eye, surely all attractive traits. When was it written in stone that the president gets to chooses the heir apparent? How very monarchical of us.

    Seriously folks, I would like a vice president who could competently assume the presidency especially since we seem bent of electing a person not too short of 80.
    Gender and race are unimportant beside a record of competence.

    1. ambrit

      Such would be relevant in a milieu that valued competence. However, we are dealing with a political class that has abandoned competent governance in favour of ideological posturing.
      Today’s American politicos are like the revolutionary Chinese who, when tasked with building a road pulled out their dog eared copy of “The Little Red Book” and asked, “What does Chairman Mao say about this?”
      Hilarity ensues, followed by firing squads.

      1. Anarcissie

        Competent to do what, though? From my point of view, the best selling points for both Trump and Biden is their incompetence. I’m not buying either of them, but given the malevolence of the people they lead, the more incompetent the better, at least until they’re replaced by the real monster.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The real monster would be a leaner tougher meaner smarter Trump. Perhaps a Trump combo.

          How about a combo-ticket of Tucker Carlson and Steve Bannon? In either order? In either 2024 or 2028?

  9. jackiebass

    If either one is Biden’s choice , Biden won’t get my vote. Unless he picks a progressive, I won’t vote for Biden. I agree with others that limiting his choice to a black woman doesn’t make sense. I don’t think a woman needs to be his choice. At 79 and a registered democrat since I was 21, I’m at the point of becoming an independent. The democratic party no longer represents my political beliefs. Since Clinton the Democratic Party has become another version of the Republican Party. Both parties are more alike than different. Under no circumstances will I vote for Trump. I will do the same thing I did when Obama and Hillary ran. Vote for a third party candidate. Until the Democratic Party allows progressives a stronger voice they won’t get my vote for their candidates.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If he wants the Black Woman Identy vote, he will nominate a Black Woman. Your choice or my choice will not matter.

      You have no say in this affair. Neither do I.

      Its a big club. And we ain’t in it.

  10. pjay

    It is amazing how blatant things are these days. They don’t even pretend anymore.

    Harris was clearly a favorite, if not *the* favorite, of the Establishment early on. I remember her Hamptons vetting and all the glowing media coverage. Then the primaries commenced, her flaws were revealed and her popularity sank, and she fell by the wayside. No matter! The fact that Democrats overwhelmingly rejected her means nothing these days.

    But Rice is worse. Harris is an ambitious politician. Rice is at the top of the neoliberal foreign policy establishment, queen of “humanitarian intervention.” People don’t know much about her because she has never run for public office (and Americans know little about foreign policy). She thought about obtaining electoral cred by doing a Hilliary in Maine, but I think she and her advisors decided she couldn’t win. No matter! Presidents are selected by elites; elections are for show.

    Except that as others have suggested, the Democrat branch of the duopoly just might fool around and reelect Trump. If that happens, I can’t imagine what 2021 has in store.

    1. ambrit

      No matter who is elected, 2021 has Covid 3.0 and The Great Crash in store.
      Given the miserable choices presented us this cycle, I expect the worst to happen, and the response to be bungled.

      1. Sheldon

        Trump would be better off just handed the whole economic mess to Biden, then running in 2024.

        1. Massinissa

          I could totally see Trump pulling a Grover Cleveland, that would be rather hilarious. Honestly, Trump running for a second term again in 2024 might be more palatable than Tucker Carlson or god knows who running instead. I’m more worried about what happens after Trump/Biden than anything else.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the response makes the rich get richer, and then even more richerer after that, then the response is not a bungle. Certainly not for the rich who will be the sole and only intended beneficiaries of the response.

        Ian Welsh’s most recent posted post is a real good article about that basic fact. I would encourage every reader here to go read that particular Ian Welsh blogpost. Take it to heart. Learn It, Live It, Love It. And then figure out what to do, or not do.


    2. Larry Gilman

      “Presidents are selected by elites; elections are for show.”

      It’s not entirely that simple. In 2016 the GOP elite was desperate to not have Trump for nominee, but did not get its way.

      1. pjay

        True, but the Democratic elite, and I think the real powers that be, did want Trump as the nominee, thinking that made Hillary a shoo-in. You are right that the Trump victory was a surprise, resulting in our four year freak-out. I imagine they want to make sure such an accident doesn’t happen again. But with Biden et al., it might.

  11. David

    As others have said, tying your hands in this fashion does seem to break two of the cardinal rules of politics – don’t move too quickly into positions you can’t later get out of, and don’t give hostages to fortune.
    But it may be explicable if you have a group of people who think they are natural rulers, who deserve, in their eyes, to win, and who literally cannot conceive of losing. To the extent that they make contact with reality, it’s through opinion polls which just confirm their beliefs. Internal party management, getting points for good behaviour and satisfying interest groups become the main priorities.
    In such a situation, there’s no reason (in the immortal words of a Labour Party left-winger in the 80s) to “appease the electorate.” They’ll vote for who they’re told to vote for and like it. If you think your next CD is going to sell a zillion copies you don’t need to worry too much about the cover art.

  12. divadab

    Just disgusting. That’s our choice? No way. The whole process is an insult to U-know-Who being us the citizenry. SO indicative of the utter contempt the rulers hold us in that they can promote this crappy show of democracy.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . there will be Third, Fourth, and Fifth Party choices on the ballot in many states. Or one can leave the President line blank and vote down ticket on things of importance where a difference can be made.

      Referrenda. Initiatives. Your local D A. Your Drain Commissioner. Etc.

  13. Edward

    Biden seems to be taking a long time to choose a VP. This may mean he is concerned about the weaknesses of Harris and Rice and is dithering. Although there has been little sign so far that he will make any concessions to populism/Sander’s voters.

      1. Edward

        I haven’t been following Obama. My impression is that he has been watching the situation from the sidelines and wants to join the political “game”, so he has been trying to help Biden. I am not sure I understand your comment, though. Sanders was a threat to Obama because he threatened to show his presidency up for the do-nothing affair it was. I wonder how much credibility Obama actually has with voters.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Obama co-ordinated the Long Knives conspiracy by which every single other Democratic Nominee-Wannabe dropped out at the exact same time as eachother, and all pledged their delegates to Biden specifically.

              1. Edward

                I wonder what Obama makes of the arguments that Biden is a weak candidate, and that he is a rehash of Clinton’s failed 2016 campaign?

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Obama would spin those arguments away.

                  Privately, Obama would accept them but he already accepted that risk as the price to be paid for keeping Sanders off the ticket.

  14. William Hunter Duncan

    So it’s a choice between someone who never smiles, and someone who smiles way too much?

    The convenient thing too, from Team DNC/Clinton/Obama’s perspective, if you pick a black female, anyone who criticizes the choice, you can beat down with “you are a racist and a misogynist!!!”

    I get the feeling Team DNCCO is going to make it ever harder to vote for them as the days go by. This election is becoming like an anti-choice.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      We really need some way to begin understanding all the mental tricks and psychological manipulation tools by which the Social Justice Warrior Axis of Wokeness advances its agenda. We need to figure out how to destroy them in public without respect and without mercy and without fail.

      Because they are not our Fellow Americans. They are not our fellow human beings or our fellow anything else. They are an Existential Enemy in their own right. They are the bearers of Cultural Cancer and they are themselves the Cultural Cancer which they bear. And we have to learn how to destroy them in public and in every private encounter.

      We have to learn how to use the Vampire’s tools to destroy the Vampire’s castle.

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        If Biden wins and his first act to revive the economy is to revive TPP, and the Woke Folk support it or have nothing to say, then I would agree they are not acting like American Citizens. I would say the same thing if they let in everyone who comes to the border. They are human though, so they deserve respect. I suspect too whether they win or lose, they will destroy themselves by way of destroying each other. Yes to learning how to break down/collapse their ideologic “cancer” to assist their destroying themselves/each other – without becoming like Vampires ourselves.

  15. DJG

    From the Thomas Frank interview also posted this morning: “We’re living in the middle of this debate where it’s between two false ideas. You’ve got one, an elite that has screwed up many times over and is saying that the only possible opposition to us is racist assholes, bigots with guns driving around in pickup trucks are the only possible alternative to us. And then you’ve got, Trump, who is, you know, this deceiver, this demagogue.”

    In a twisted, almost malign way, we see with Rice and Harris that policy does matter. We are dealing with two right-wing parties fighting over the twitching body of a nation that has been beaten into submission by their free-market fundamentalism, authoritarian tendencies, mendacity, and looting. So those policies will continue. Because they must.

    My candidate: Nina Turner.

    Yeah, yeah, I’ve been drinking too much retsina lately.

    So the VP sweepstakes is a foretaste of the sure-to-be horrible and incompetent Biden administration. But Obama will make a nice speech at the ceremony when Joe is committed to some lovely elder-care facility.

    1. juno mas

      But Obama will make a nice speech at the ceremony. . .

      Oratory, not practical leadership is Obamba’s forte. What we need is a leader with a vision for a better future and the conviction and confidence to implement change (radical change). More AOC, more people in the streets, more fresh blood in governance. The Times They Are a’ Changing.

      1. campbeln

        The problem is, we do have a leader with a vision for a better future. The problem is… We The People are not even variables in that vision.

        Just look to the TRILLIONS in bailout money given to Wall Street, with 5-10% (depending on if you consider the PPP to truely be for “small” business or not) given to the little people. The vision and leadership is clear, as it was back in 2008 and the $700 Billion dollar TARP.

        As Yves has said… the issue isn’t what Trump is doing, per say, it’s that he says the quiet things out loud.

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        Yes, I realized after posting that my comment above was more relevant to the Frank interview (and pleased to see he agrees about the permanent technocracy). Intersectionality in action, I guess.

        And as for silver-tongued orators with no real power base (beyond the oligarchy), just imagine what happens when an actual fascist shows up. Oh, wait, we don’t need to imagine:

        I will cut off these soft, pink hands, and nail them to the Senate doors!

  16. Mr. House

    “Because of this case mismanagement, was forced to dismiss a great many cases “in which convictions had been obtained and sentences were being served.” In what was called a “scathing decision,” Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo wrote in May 2010 that Harris “failed to disclose information that clearly should have been disclosed.”

    Lawyers will say it’s a lawyer’s job to know the validity of her chain of evidence and also to disclose any problems with with that evidence to defendants. Harris did none of those things, leaving those already convicted and serving sentences to languish in jail rather than reveal a politically damaging failing of her office.”

    How is she not in jail for this?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps she was being groomed and prepared for possible advancement. She is one of the Elites’ ” tools in the toolbox” and you don’t send one of your tools to jail because you might need it someday. Like if a senile dementiazoid gets elected President and the Elites need a plausible VP to be ready in place, waiting . . waiting . . . waiting.

  17. Susan the other

    We don’t need a law and order enthusiast; we don’t need a warmonger; we don’t need a neoliberal militarist; we need someone to offset the candidate himself who is a token, a place holder and probably senile. We need Liz Warren but she’s been sent back to the Senate by Biden already. Who in the DNC is making these decisions? Liz is the only one who can begin to turn around this neoliberal mess – and she was rejected outright. A vice president needs to be able to step into the oval office without a hitch. I’d say we need a VP who will step into the oval office without military baggage. Is there such a democrat?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That “military” baggage ( actually R2P Interventionist baggage) is among the Elites’ most treasured possessions. It is part of exactly what their choice of VP MUST have in order to be permitted to be VP.

  18. Mattski

    I think that Bell might actually arouse a little enthusiasm. The Biden aparatchik may be too tone deaf to realize how hard the progressive community might come down on Harris, or how deep the already wide animus toward her in the Black community might grow once her record is still more widely known.

  19. juno mas

    Harris is worse than you think!

    Here’s a recent story in the LATimes that examines yet another failing of Kamala Harris as Califronia AG.

    Earlier this year, a Times investigation revealed the California attorney general’s office investigation into deputies at the center of the snitch scandal was woefully lacking.

    Read the article and weep. Kamala Harris is the epitome of “political gold digger”. Protecting the police from accountability second nature.

  20. fwe'zy

    Yves, I tend to agree with you that female representation in leadership is not really helpful /enough/ to women. Probably necessary but not sufficient. I think we both favor “universal, concrete benefits” for real change, and I’m a true believer in classless society.

    Yet, my eyes do something different and my posture changes when I’m reading something by you, Jerri-Lynn, Stephanie Kelton, flora, furies, ChiGal, HotFlash, Krystyn, etc. ;) Just sayin’ but back to material change. <3

  21. Punxsutawney

    Kamela is a suck-up, kick-down kind of person. This should automatically disqualify her from having any job where she has power over others. How one treats those they believe are below them is a great tell imho.

    Rice is a neo-con. Need one say more?

    Regardless, neither should be near power, but then the same is true of Biden.

  22. elissa3

    “. . . will be solely focused on eventually becoming president.”

    What is this eventually thing? Does anybody seriously think that Biden, if he makes it to November, will last four years? The Vice President will be pushing the buttons sooner rather than later, (although with an experienced, highly skilled team supporting her) super s/.

  23. ptb

    “I think the very worst choice for VP may harbor the very best outcome for progressives.”
    Sorry, not seeing it. Biden just sets up another Republican-with-mass-appeal in 2024, and more TINA obstructionism from national Dems.

  24. Lambert Strether

    So either Kamala Harris is the default 2024 candidate, or Susan Rice… is not. I can see why a lot of ambitious Democrats would prefer Susan Rice. Especially since another war would clean out a lot of those pesky leftists.

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    reply to ptb:
    The close to this post was very cryptic. I can’t imagine how progressives might benefit from the very worst choice for VP.

    This post recalls to me the quote cited in one of yesterday’s comments:
    “Men will not always die quietly,” and “in their distress may overturn the remnants of organization, and submerge civilization itself.” –J.M. Keynes

    1. campbeln

      I think I’m there with you. I like Trump because he says the quiet things out loud; he puts an ugly face on our ugly dealings. Obama put a pretty voice/face to them so they were not questioned. With Trump, the questions ask themselves. Ultimately if we want to change the system, the questions need to be asked, and the sooner they are, the sooner the change (IMHO at least). Hence, Trump is a “good” thing because he is so bad.

      Biden… the pro I can see there is akin to the cryptic end… in that if his Cheney 2.0 admin is so very clearly as bad as Trumps… then those of us who still think we have two parties in the US will be forced to reevaluate this belief. In the end, this is the path we may need to take anyway, but… I’m not a convert to this way of thinking as of yet.

  26. Craig Dempsey

    I get that we are posting on Naked Capitalism, and most of our thoughts are filtered through economics. However, in its broadest sense, economics encompasses everything, and on that “everything” Trump is a full catastrophe. In the name of old line corporations such as fossil fuels he has banished science and opened the floodgates to environmental destruction. He has done all he can to destroy any capability to fight anthropogenic global warming. His war on civil rights has provoked a powerful response deserving a much better name than “Identity Politics.” If he is re-elected the main question will be whether he succeeds in destroying the United States before he destroys the world. No one will replace him in 2024, for by then he would be dictator for life.

    I get the frustration with the neoliberal Democrats. I have tired of decades of grade-C Democrats struggling against grade-F Republicans. Then in 2016 we had a grade-D Democrat. Now we have a grade-F Democrat against the Orange Antichrist. Trump is not a lousy President like Dubya. Trump is a dangerous anti-President. I wish we had time to burn down the Democratic establishment and assist the birth of a new replacement. We do not have that time. Our best hope is that the times will make the man. That seems impossible with Trump. There is still a chance Biden will do the right thing on many issues for the simple reason we are in a time where nature itself will sternly punish any failure to do so. Then again, at the rate we are going, COVID-19 may have destroyed the United States before we ever get to November. As Richard II says upon returning from a foolish war in Ireland, only to discover he has been deposed by Bolingbrook, “For God’s sake, let’s sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings;…” (Shakespeare)

  27. Bob Swern

    I’m putting my money on Florida congresswoman Val Demings as Biden’s Veep pick. She’s a ConservaDem, and the Sunshine State is extremely important. (California’s a gimme’. There’s no geographical/electoral college upside to Rice or Harris.) And, when it comes to this topic, I do have access to “high friends in places.” Demings is getting a lot of press right now (it’s prime time for VP speculation) and that doesn’t happen by accident.

  28. Kurt Sperry

    One factor favoring Harris is her known propensity for sleeping with powerful older men to get access to power, although she might be a little old for Creepy Joe.

  29. Felix_47

    Does anyone believe Trump even remotely can win? It looks like he is too lazy and distracted to win and he has bad help and his ego won’t let him use what help he has. Old men are not flexible. Obama and Clyburn and the legal medical military financial industrial are driving Biden’s candidacy. He is a doddering empty vessel like Trump and sadly like Sanders in the final analysis.

  30. Sheldon

    Susan Rice is a Big Goil candidate, Texas T, Black Gold, and we can look forward to more dead Americans fighting for oilfields.

    “At her peak income, Rice was earning $172,000 a year. That’s pretty good, considering that when accounting for a 30% tax rate, she’s still bringing home over $120,000. However, Rice’s net worth is $50 MILLION.” (2017)

    “So let’s say her career started in 1992. Considering that 2017 hasn’t ended yet, we will use up to 2016. So that’s 24 years worth of paychecks. Taking that time and multiplying it by $172,000 gives a grand total of $4,128,000. However, that’s without taking any expenses out, taxes or spending in general, which is literally impossible.”

    “For Rice to obtain her $50 million net worth, she would have to spend just under 300 YEARS working for the government. .. According to the NPR article, she owns stock valued at somewhere between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada. Furthermore, they state, “… about a third of Rice’s personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel — including companies with poor environmental and safety records on both U.S. and Canadian soil.”


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