Friday, March 22, 2019

Gimmicky

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Ames, Iowa to Nashua, New Hampshire is an amazing 3 hours-- then back to Sioux City!

As of yesterday, Beto had campaigned in all 190 New Hampshire counties (in just 48 hours of his unique brand of superficiality). He also skateboarded through Iowa and the upper Midwest, playing a guitar and balancing a large American flag ball on his nose. Dave Siders reported for Politico that "With no day job, the Texas Democrat's breakneck pace of campaign stops is driving some of his competitors nuts... O’Rourke is rallying college students, bounding onto café countertops and pressing himself into the news cycle in different media markets by the hour."
“We’re setting the pace,” O’Rourke said in Iowa over the weekend, after running a 5K race at the start of a frenzied day of campaigning in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He then traveled to Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, before driving his rented Dodge Grand Caravan more than 430 miles east to New Hampshire.

In less than a week since announcing his campaign, the Texas Democrat has singlehandedly quickened the clip of the early presidential primary, annoying some of his competitors-- and driving others nuts.

...But O’Rourke is also attempting in his go-everywhere-fast campaign to establish himself as a course-correction from Hillary Clinton’s losing effort in 2016. Many Democrats remain bitter that Clinton did not campaign at all in Wisconsin in the general election-- a critical state ultimately carried by President Donald Trump. Asked recently to assess the Democratic Party’s failure in the last presidential election, O’Rourke said, “You’ve got to show up, and you’ve got to come back.”

...For Jeff Roe, who was Cruz’s chief strategist, O’Rourke’s early run is familiar. He said that if O’Rourke remains tied to the road, it will prevent him from advancing any public storyline other than that he is a road warrior-- a narrative that will eventually grow old.

“Coming out of the gate, for the first couple weeks, it’s probably OK,” Roe said. “But this is all he has … he’s in a constant sprint to find himself.”
Meanwhile, I'm sure someone is writing a good platform for him in case he decides to run on issues.

Team Biden has its own gimmickry. Mike Allen reported yesterday that close advisors "are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president." Gee, what happened to the Biden-Beto team?

Allen wrote that "The popular Georgia Democrat, who at age 45 is 31 years younger than Biden, would bring diversity and excitement to the ticket-- showing voters, in the words of a close source, that Biden 'isn’t just another old white guy.'" Woulda fooled me! Allen cautions that "Advisers also know that the move would be perceived as a gimmick." Another gimmick they're considering is a pledge to serve just one term, in the words of Jonathan Martin at the NY Times, "framing Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign as a one-time rescue mission for a beleaguered country."

Also yesterday, Jonathan Chair noted in his New York Magazine column that Abrams would be a "brilliant move" for Biden... and for Abrams too. He offers 9 reasons why:
1. Most obviously, running with Abrams would help address Biden’s cringe-inducing and sometimes ghastly history of retrograde positions on segregation and criminal justice. As my colleague Ed Kilgore correctly noted, “Serving the protector of Biden’s racial flank, on the other hand, might get a little old and a little limiting” for Abrams.

But that would be the wrong way to construct her role. The addition of Abrams would visibly signal that Biden is a bridge to a different kind of Democratic Party that has moved left on racial issues. Biden can say he’s a different kind of politician with different policies than those he advocated in the 1970s and 1980s, but having Abrams as his partner and presumptive heir demonstrates the point.

2. Abrams would also obviously add an element of mobilization and inspiration to Biden’s comfort and familiarity with the base. “Balance” is an overrated trope in vice-presidential selection, but candidates do have different qualities and the degree to which Abrams’s complements Biden’s is very striking: old/young, white/black, male/female, North/South, experience/potential.

Candidates who have the ability to mobilize voters with inspirational appeals often lack national name recognition and credibility. (That’s Beto O’Rourke’s liability.) And candidates who begin with established credentials often have a longer record of compromises and feel like old news (Biden’s problem, and also to a smaller extent a liability for Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders). A pairing with Abrams gives both a chance to take on each other’s assets and cover their own liabilities.

3. The pairing would make Biden’s race feel more serious. Political reporters have approached a Biden race with the unstated assumption that his polling lead is an artifact of high name recognition. His best day will be his first, and he will slowly gaffe his way to irrelevance, as he has with every previous race. Paradoxically, he is a polling front-runner who needs to get the press corps to take him seriously.

From that standpoint, it’s odd to see “inevitability” treated as an argument against joining early with Abrams. “Naming an early running mate could help feed into an air of inevitability,” one senior Democrat who admires Biden tells CNN, which might be “problematic for his candidacy.” So the campaign would appear inevitable, like Hillary Clinton? Or Mitt Romney? Or George W. Bush? Or Al Gore? Or other candidates who were treated as prohibitive front-runners from the beginning of the race and then … won the primary? That’s bad?

4. Yes, by picking Abrams now, Biden would lock himself in very early. Matthew Yglesias argues that doing so would prevent him from having a more complete choice of running mates later in the process. And it’s true, by June of 2020, you can imagine a world where Biden would wish he could pick Warren or Kamala Harris or somebody else. But the thing is, the odds are that he’s not going to be in that position at all. Maximizing his odds of winning the nomination seems far more important, from Biden’s standpoint, than maximizing the potential for exploiting his vice-presidential selection.

5. The move would make just as much sense for Abrams. She currently finds herself in the frustrating position of having demonstrated strong political talent but lacking an obvious next step for her political ambitions. Abrams’s home state is trending purple but not quite there, and while she could run again in 2020, the political environment might not be much friendlier than it was in 2018, an anti-Trump wave election year.

Abrams has said she wants to be president. A vice-presidential spot would fast-track her for consideration-- should a Biden–Abrams ticket prevail in November, Abrams would immediately become the prohibitive front-runner whenever Biden retires. 6. Some of the logic that argues for her to join with Biden would also suggest she join Bernie Sanders, another high-polling old white guy. But even if Sanders would consider such a move, a prospect no reporting has suggested, it makes less sense for her. Abrams is not a socialist, and has a distinctly different worldview, as Rebecca Traister’s profile points out, showing Abrams tell one crowd, “I’m not going to do class warfare; I want to be wealthy.” Sanders has a different set of liabilities than Biden: chief among them, the Democratic Party elite thinks he would have trouble withstanding the attacks on his platform and his radical history that he would face in a general election (but which did not come up in the 2016 primary). Joining with Abrams wouldn’t do much to ameliorate that.

7. Joining the race early makes Abrams a much more attractive vice-presidential selection than she would be in June of next year. Like O’Rourke, her talents offset a résumé that’s well short of the traditional qualifications for president (Abrams’s highest elected office is state assembly). That’s a weakness that might prevent Abrams or O’Rourke from being nominated as a vice-president next summer-- they would face questions about their qualifications and preparedness for office. Paradoxically, for a candidate with a borderline résumé, vice-president is more of a reach than president.

But it’s also a liability that can be addressed on the campaign trail, by demonstrating a command of policy to the media. Abrams, with her advanced degrees in both public policy and law, can answer any doubts.

8. Abrams doesn’t close any options by running with Biden. “Why in the world would Stacey Abrams lock herself into Biden’s fortunes when she would be a top-tier running-mate option for several of these candidates?” asks Republican operative Brendan Buck, who perhaps might not have Abrams’s best interests at heart.

But why would running with Biden prevent her from joining a different campaign if he loses? Presidential candidates pick politicians who who ran against them for president to join their ticket all the time. Why would the fact that she ran on a different ticket as a vice-president disqualify her?

9. The biggest single argument against naming Abrams at the beginning is that it just hasn’t been done before. The closest parallel is Ted Cruz’s last-minute desperation gambit to name Carly Fiorina as his running mate in the closing stages of the 2016 primary. The fact that the combined charisma of Cruz and Fiorina was not enough to overcome Trump’s big lead hardly proves it can’t work. If anything, the lateness of the maneuver gave it a whiff of desperation. If Biden does wait, and his polling lead starts to melt, naming Abrams will have the same pitfall. The Cruz example argues for joining with Abrams on Day One.

Sometimes there’s a new idea that has not been done before for no good reason. “Political brilliance” is not a phrase I would normally associate with Joe Biden. But running with Stacey Abrams seems to qualify.

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11 Comments:

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if Stacy Abrams signs up for this, she's dead to me. She's old enough to know what biden did to Anita Hill.

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

The biggest drawback is not that it hasn't been done before, it's that Staci Abrams is NO FKN WAY QUALIFIED TO BE VICE PRESIDENT.

 
At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course Beto can move about quickly! Platitudes are ephemeral and don't weigh much. He has no platform, no positions, and no desire to serve the people of this nation no matter what he says.

As for Abrams, she is clearly being used for image and not for substance. I hope she decides to resume her fights to win the Georgia gubernatorial election next time and to repair the broken voting infrastructure of that state instead of passively being the democraps version of Lynne Patton for four years.

 
At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more I see of Abrams (and Gillum of FL, btw), the more I think she's just an opportunist (see big anti-red, run blue in GA) and obamanation clone... an empty skirt.

Sounds good and all. But put them in office and ... what, exactly? Is there a grappler there or is the win the only goal?

beto is CLEARLY that.

At least obamanation *won* a senate race first.

 
At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone serious about real positive change would never take that meeting with biden. And if she's black and a woman, she would have said "fuck you" in response to the invitation.

says a lot about Abrams.

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Qualifications as a necessity for office went over the falls in a barrel in 2016 and now precedent suggests, it did not survive. Look at Trumps appointees, judges, cabinet members, is there any faint echo of a qualification? We don't need no stink'n qualifications!

Their is a slang term for the wife of a closeted gay man being referred to as a "beard"; seems we need a new term here for what Biden's selection of Abrams is. I personally think it could hurt Abrams as she has the political chops to possibly beat Biden if she so decided.

 
At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Becoming associated with Joe Biden will be a good way for Abrams to short circuit her career. She'll be seen as a token and not someone worthy of being seen in her own right despite what will be MSM attempts to build her up. It's a terrible career move.

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Two more opportunists who have revealed themselves to have egos the size of the galaxy; a huge disappointment. Just what we need, another egotist. Beto and Abrams would serve this country and the Dem party FAR better by running for higher office in their respective states.

Beto would make an excellent Senate candidate again, and this time around he would have an even better chance of winning. But clearly, that is not enough for his huge ego. Beto is born to run? Really? That statement totally turned me off to him. Abrams should run for the House or Senate and would have a good chance. Abrams does not have the experience to be vice President. Period. The chutzpah of these people!

Biden is a dead weight on the Democratic party and would never rise to do what needs to be done. Fight global warming? Rein in the banks? Alleviate student debt? I don't think so. Never happen. Being a nice guy compared to Trump just ain't enough.

Honestly, despite their flaws Bernie and Warren still look the best to me.

 
At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, biden is EXACTLY what the PARTY wants. He'll never address anything in the progressive mandate because corporations are anathema to them. As long as polling has him ahead of Bernie, among democrap VOTERS, the DNC will have cover to rig the nom again (and still) and we lefties will just shrug and vote for biden because it's easier to surrender than to keep swinging.

2016 is prologue... and we're still fucked.

The last firewall against Bernie, should the primary voting be so overwhelmingly against the DNC that they can't rig it (not something I'm predicting) is the same last firewall as always -- Pelosi and scummer.
Bernie can talk about climate and MFA and GND and student debt and reinstating glass-steagall all he wants. He cannot write bills nor pass them in either chamber. Whatever charade of a pretense of a bill (think: Dodd-Frank) comes out of congress would be signed by a president Bernie... and he'd end up doing the same job he's had for 30 years -- chief apologist for the betrayals and failures of the democrap party to do anything at all useful.

The fact of the democrap PARTY guarantees that nothing will ever improve... the only question is who will be doing all the apologizing and lying.

 
At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voters on the left are historically stupid and lazy and indifferent to the corporate rigging that gives us shit candidates like $hillbillary instead of better ones, like Bernie.

Prereq's for legitimacy for a left candidate (beyond being acceptable to the money):
name recognition
good looks
interesting gimmickery
charm

beto now has all 4.
biden has 3.
Bernie only has 1. plus he's not acceptable to the money.

fuck we're stupid!

 
At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that last photo shopped? It didn't even occur to me that it probably is not real because it's so typical biden to get handsy with women for no reason.

If it *IS* real, it shows that Abrams does not react to being mauled by a dirty old white man... curious.

not a good indicator for either one of them.

 

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