Biden/Gabbard in 2020?
I admit it. I was taken with Kamala Harris even before she announced her run for the Presidency. I wrote a column in which I praised her prosecutorial record, and predicted she would be the first woman to sit in the Oval Office. She still might, but not in 2020. During the first round of debates with nine of her Democratic rivals, she attacked former Vice President Joe Biden for his stand against school busing in the early 1970s. Biden was unprepared for the attack and subsequently stumbled his way through the rest of the debate. That, plus some verbal gaffes along the campaign trail, convinced me that Joe might be fading. However, shortly after that first debate, it was revealed that Kamala’s busing attack was nothing more than a disingenuous ploy to raise her poll numbers, eat into Biden’s support among African American voters, and raise money for the campaign. Unbeknownst to debate watchers at the time, Harris’s team had already produced promotional T-shirts with a photo of her as a little girl, being bused to school. During the second debate, Harris ran out of gimmicks, and Biden performed much better. Since then, Harris has dropped 12 points in the polls (down to 5%) and Biden, at 29%, has maintained a double-digit lead over Sanders (15%) and Warren (14%).
Last week, Biden’s wife Jill said out loud what everyone has been thinking. Speaking to a group of fellow educators, Jill acknowledged that a lot of folks may like other candidates more than her husband, and may even favor their health care policy over Joe’s, but the former VP has the best chance of beating Trump in 2020. Certainly, a lot can change between now and next summer. For example, Sanders might throw his support to Warren at the convention, and Biden could find himself an also-ran. Barring that, a surprise in New Hampshire or, God forbid, a serious health scare, Biden appears to be well on his way to the Democratic nomination. If that’s so, then Joe’s pick for a running mate could be especially significant in the upcoming election. That brings me to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from the great state of Hawaii.
Strangely enough, Joe and Tulsi would complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, Biden received a student deferment during the Vietnam War, while Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran. Biden supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, while Gabbard is opposed to such “regime change wars” which unnecessarily cost human and financial resources. Gabbard supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 and was critical of the DNC’s favoritism to Hillary. Biden is a get-along-go-along politician who works and plays well with the Democratic establishment. Gabbard has come under fire for her earlier opposition to gay marriage, while it was Biden who pushed Obama into supporting same-sex marriage. Joe avoids political confrontations while Tulsi wades into them, as evidenced by her attack on Harris for locking up thousands of marijuana users while joking about smoking weed. Biden and Gabbard also complement each other in terms of age. Joe would be 78 during his first year in office, and Tulsi, as his vice president, would only be 40. That’s important because, if elected, I don’t think Joe will seek a second term, and his stepping down could give Tulsi a chance to break the glass ceiling in 2024.
Joe Biden’s driving ambition is to right the ship of state by restoring dignity to the office of the President, and civility to public discourse. He wants to curb domestic terrorism and rid our nation of assault weapons. And, he wants to restore our image abroad, by dealing with our allies and adversaries maturely. I believe Congresswoman Gabbard would serve him well in that mission.
Jim Longworth is the host of Triad Today, airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).