I know, on principle it’s a ridiculous idea. Vice President Biden has already served 8 years in the position and it seems that he’s ready to retire. But here’s the deal – the current favorite media front runners for the position NEED to stay where they are.
In a political world where Massachusetts Senate seats can go to Tea Party pickup driving guys darlings – Democrats don’t really have the flexibility for taking chances. But before we even talk about the current choices – let’s discuss 2008.
Everyone wanted in on the Obama Administration, it seemed – even past rival Hillary Clinton knew it was going to be a historic term. So when Obama called on Democrats from all around the country, they came running. The problem was politicians don’t get to choose who takes over for them. While some like Tom Vilsack had a Democrat serve the next term, his replacement Chet Culver lost the next race to Republican Terry Branstad. Former Secretary of the Ken Salazar’s old Senate seat isn’t looking too safe for Democrats this time around either – very conservative Congressman Mike Coffman has a lead on Sen. Michael Bennett. Obama’s first Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius would be succeeded by a Democrat – but only for one term. Sam Brownback would sweep in, with Secretary of State Kris Kobach and a rightwing majority in the state house a term later.
The worst case here is though, is who took over for Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona. She left the state to be the head of the Department of Homeland Security and that’s when SB1070, immigrant bashing Jan Brewer took over. I’m not blaming President Obama or or even Secretary Napolitano for Brewer or SB1070. But anyone with a pulse and access to some polls could have seen what was going to happen in these states. Jane Mayer in her book Dark Money says that the Obama White House was caught “off guard” by the big money that was spent in 2010. David Axelrod, according to Mayer barely knew who the Koch’s were in May of 2010. I’m hoping that Clinton won’t make the same mistake – but it goes to show that even the most brilliant political minds don’t always know what’s around the corner.
The Washington Post put together a list of their frontrunners for Vice President, some of the names on the list are what I’d consider safe ones. In includes retired Congressmen and Senators, current and former Obama Cabinet members. Some are questionably dangerous ones like Sen. Mark Warner, Gov. Terry McAuliffe from Virginia and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire. Both of those states are not the safest – McAuliffe took over for one of the worst Governors in Virginia history – Bob McDonnell who left in disgrace and New Hampshire isn’t much better, especially with the wild Trump card in the race.
But it’s the frontrunners on most peoples lists that worry me the most – Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown. Senator Brown and Warren are among the only true progressives in the Senate. [No, I do not include Sen. Franken on that list… but that’s for another article]
Warren sits on the Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs – and if the Democrats are able to take back the Senate in 2016, could possibly be named Chair. Losing her and having any of the many Wall Street friendly Democrats in the Senate replace her would be a disaster. Or even worse – and don’t say it won’t happen – having former Senator Scott Brown come back for another try.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is clearly in an even worse place. Brown has earned his position in the hearts of Buckeye’s by fighting TPP (but weirdly endorsing Clinton) and being a strong union-supporting Senator in a state that has been decimated by free trade policies. As I write this, Ohio’s other Senate seat is in a tight battle, with the Democrat Ted Strickland up by only one point in the polls. Sen. Brown has another two years on his term, let’s let him serve it – and maybe then run against Gov. John Kasich.
The Democrats are going to have an extremely tough right this year to take back the Senate, they need 5 seats to just get a majority. 34 seats are up in November and 24 of them are Republican, not even FiveThirtyEight.com are taking odds of what could happen this early in the year.
That’s why I recommend Secretary Clinton to ask Vice President Joe Biden to stay on for another four years. Beyond the fact that he’s one of the safest political bets for the position – he currently has a favorability rating nearly 10 points over Clinton’s, even a Fox News poll had his favorables at 53%. His unfavorables are nearly 20% below Clinton’s. In 2008 and 2012 opposing VP candidates, Palin and Ryan found it nearly impossible to debate him, anyone that Trump puts up against Biden would likely be slaughtered in the debates.
I’m not fan of Biden’s history in the Senate, he represented credit card companies ahead of the citizens of the Delaware and his dealing with the Anita Hill hearings was less than admirable. But this is triage Democracy folks, progressive hopes and dreams are for other times. We’re stemming the bleeding – give the man 4 more years and let’s stop Trump.