August 10, 2020

Why is Willie Brown saying Kamala Harris shouldn't accept an offer to be Joe Biden's running mate?

I can't get past the paywall at the San Francisco Chronicle, but here's a Newser article about Brown's column, "Kamala Harris should say no to vice presidency":
Brown is a fan of Harris, and he acknowledges that if Joe Biden wins the election, she'd have a place in history as the first-ever female VP. However, "the glory would be short-lived," he writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. The vice presidency is often "a dead end" to a person's political career, and while the veep is in office, the situation is not much better—he or she "has no real power and little chance to accomplish anything independent of the president."
First impression: That's weird. Is Brown forgetting that Joe Biden is so old and infirm that we're expecting the VP to become the president? Even if Biden were to win the election and serve a full term, he's not going to run for reelection and the VP will be obvious front-runner for the nomination in 2024. How, under these circumstances, could you possibly fall back on the standard notion that the vice presidency is often a "dead end"? You even used the word "dead"! I hope Joe lives a long long time, but come on, man, the Joe Biden VP will have the greatest inside track on the presidency anybody ever had.

So I wasn't going to blog that, but then it occurred to me. Brown knows all this. He has an ulterior motive. I'm just going to guess that he has reason to know or believe that Biden isn't offering the vice presidential nomination to Harris. So Brown's motivation is to give her cover: She didn't want it anyway. That person who's getting the nomination has lower stature than she does. She's too big for the vice presidency. That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend.

78 comments:

Mary Beth said...

Either he's giving her cover or they're pretending they don't expect the VP to take over as soon as possible.

SeanF said...

Althouse: Is Brown forgetting that Joe Biden is so old and infirm that we're expecting the VP to become the president?

He also appears to be forgetting that it's necessary to go against the "VP is a career-ender" trope just to get Biden elected in the first place.

CWJ said...

"...the Joe Biden VP will have the greatest inside track on the presidency anybody ever had."

Truman?

Kevin said...

If Joe’s people were going to pick Kamala, they could have done that already.

She’s not the one. For one thing she makes him look dull and stupid just standing next to him.

Willie is negotiating for her to become Attorney General.

He knows this is the time to do it.

Bay Area Guy said...

"That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend "

So, Kammy was just Willie's "friend"?

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

Bob Boyd said...

Or maybe he doesn't think Biden will win.
If Biden and Harris lose, it will be tough for her to run again. Maybe he thinks she should wait 4 years.

Kai Akker said...

Many times, Ann, your comments within your initial post analyze a situation so accurately (in my own opinion) that there is nothing further to say. And I think that's the case here. Except for one other possible consideration -- a nasty motivation, not of revenge, but of some kind of bitter payback of envy from the old, retired lion to the younger one still out in the field. And that seems possible for these two particular personalities. But yours is more probably correct.

Wince said...

She's too big for the vice presidency. That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend.

Either that or Brown does not want to invite the scrutiny that his relationship with Harris will garner.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

Alt: He thinks Biden is toast.

gspencer said...

From one of the slimy-est ever to be in Washington,

When it became clear to Johnson that he could not reach the top of the ticket, he began to consider the second spot. He had his staff look up how many presidents in the previous hundred years had died in office–five out of eighteen, giving him a better than 20 percent chance of reaching the presidency that way. When Clare Boothe Luce later asked him why he would accept the nomination to be number two, he answered: “Clare, I looked it up: one out of every four Presidents has died in office. I’m a gamblin’ man, darlin’, and this is the only chance I got.” He said much the same thing to trusted journalists. So it was clear why Johnson would run with the “sickly” John Kennedy. He knew about the ailments that could threaten his life.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I agree he knows Biden won't pick her. Biden --Wallace's friend and proud of his states slavery history and Confederate sympathies-- can't stand the idea of a black female talking back to him.

Dave Begley said...

Willie is just mad Kamala dumped him. And he misses the great blowjobs. This is his revenge.

Ann: Back in college, I was really, really upset when my girlfriend dumped me for an Sigma Nu.

paminwi said...

You present a better case of why he shouldn’t/won’t pick her.
Another reason is Willie is afraid of what they are finding out about Kamala’s past relationship with him and there’s still more to be found out. There’s less digging on the AG since she was already an AG but way more digging on a VP candidate.
And maybe he’s heard the Biden team has heard the dirt so he is hedging her bets for her.

Laslo Spatula said...

Willie is returning the blow job.

I am Laslo.

wendybar said...

It's going to be Susan Rice. She is a known liar, and disiple of the corrupt Obama administration, and will continue their demolition of America as we know it....

Ray said...

"Maybe he thinks she should wait 4 years."
After the disaster of her primary campaign, national prominence would only cement that image in place. She has an unlikable personality. If she waits, she could do a reboot of her personality in 2024.

tim maguire said...

Since a President Biden's VP is almost certain to be the next president after him and Joe has not publicly committed to anyone, it seems premature to be doing damage control. But I can't think of any other good reason, so maybe you're right.

Francisco D said...

Kamala comes across as a nasty, very unlikable person. That would not be an issue as AG, but it would hurt Biden as VP.

It is all speculative. I still believe that Biden will not be the Dem nominee.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

For what's it worth, my take on it before I read your take on it at the end of your post, is exactly the same. He knows she is not getting the offer and it's part of a coordinated sour grapes effort.

tim maguire said...

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...Alt: He thinks Biden is toast.

I considered that and discarded it. If Biden loses, as his VP, Harris is still well-placed for 2024.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend.

Oh, they are friends now?

Clayton Hennesey said...

Has anyone done a photogenicity index on Biden's VP options?

If so, how would they rank?

tim in vermont said...

Think of the graft Willie. Ukraine alone is worth millions. “Warm bucket of piss” indeed.

Fernandinande said...

I can't get past the paywall at the San Francisco Chronicle,

I don't even see paywall, thanks, I guess, to uMatrix and/or uBlock.

It's a long article and very boring.

"Being picked for the vice presidency is obviously a huge honor, and if Biden wins, Harris would make history by being the first woman to hold the job.

But the glory would be short-lived, and historically, the vice presidency has often ended up being a dead end. For every George H.W. Bush, who ascended from the job to the presidency, there’s an Al Gore, who never got there."


IOW, VP of the US isn't glorious enough for someone like Harris.

Brown amusingly contradicts himself, apparently not realizing that Biden was a VP, and I stopped reading:

"Basically, no one takes the vice president seriously after election day. Just ask Mike Pence.

Plus, if Biden wins...blah blah"

Sally327 said...

One can do a lot as attorney general. It's a powerful position and a much surer way to effect "change" (aka wreak havoc) than being V.P. with the hope that one might some day ascend to the Presidency. And I have no idea why anyone would think that Biden is going to step aside and not run for a second term, should he win the first one. He seems fairly healthy, physically that is, and with as much cover as he gets from the media for any verbal gaffes or missteps, it's entirely possible that he could serve 8 years with the general public not having any accurate idea as to his exact mental state.

traditionalguy said...

Rice knows where Flynn knows where the bodies are. Her job will be cover up city. That is the Dems last leaf about to blow off unless Rice can paint the wall over.

readering said...

Ford had a pretty good inside track.

Pence too.

Gk1 said...

"Brown is a fan of Harris" Is that because of her blow jobs? Or some other qualification I am unaware of. Seriously, I think someone needs to ask Willie Brown that.

ConradBibby said...

WB said some stuff during Harris' presidential run that seemed to undermine her, but somewhat passive-aggressively so it wouldn't necessarily be perceived as a complete take down. Given that history, I'm inclined to think that he's trolling here as well: He's essentially suggesting to Biden a plausible rationale for not selecting Harris as his running mate (which is obviously what she really wants). He's couching it as advice to his "friend," but really the message is directed at Biden's people. He's giving them cover to pick someone else and say it's because they like her for AG.

mikee said...

Harris will make Biden look old and slow - just like Palin made McCain look old and slow.
Harris has baggage - going back to her start in politics as Willie Brown's blowjob provider, and continuing through at least the Kavanaugh hearings - that should remove her from consideration for any position of power, responsibility and trust. Why doesn't Willie just say that, and be done with her?

Birkel said...

Willie Brown understands that Trump is going to win every state he won in 2016, plus several more.

Nobody ever - and I mean EVER - accused Willie Brown of not recognizing political reality.
The fact that he is a criminal conspirator in ruining California notwithstanding.

Howard said...

No shit Sherlock

bgates said...

Is Brown forgetting that Joe Biden is so old

Brown is eight years older than Biden. He probably forgets lots of things.

Todd said...

Can you reach the Presidency from your knees? Inquiring minds want to know...

rehajm said...

he's not going to run for reelection

Did he say that or this just a lazy assumption? If WaPo or NYT didn't write it I smell BS...

tcrosse said...

We assume that in the unlikely event Biden is elected, that there is some sort of éminence grise which will really be in charge. Isn't it logical to assume that it will still be in charge when Biden's VP succeeds to the Presidency?

rehajm said...

If the Democrats sweep nobody will have to worry about future elections...

Michael said...

"Brown is a fan of Harris."

That's rather delicately put.

zipity said...


"That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend. "

I have lots of friends. None that I cheated on my wife with while I was a public official though.

Sally327 said...

I'm wondering how everyone knows that Harris gave b-jobs to Willie Brown. That specific act I mean. Is that showing on pornweb or some other place I don't go? Maybe he was the one with the talented tongue. There are men that do provide pleasure to women, it's not always just the other way around. Granted probably a much rarer phenomenon but it does happen. (That's me womensplaining.)

Jupiter said...

Why is everyone so certain it was oral sex that cemented the deal?

Ice Nine said...

Says Willie Brown: "Harris is a tested and proven campaigner who will work her backside off to get Biden elected."

And there is a great endorsement from someone who would certainly know!

Willie had to have known better than to have said *that*, but for offering a little mirth to start off his day.

The Drill SGT said...

Nobody ever - and I mean EVER - accused Willie Brown of not recognizing political reality.

Willie has been the smartest CA Pol for the last 50 years.

Jupiter said...

Willie Brown must have known that the inevitable result of his writing an article about Kamala Harris would be to remind everyone that she got to where she is by giving him blow jobs. No doubt he felt that would help her in some way.

dbp said...

"First impression: That's weird. Is Brown forgetting that Joe Biden is so old and infirm that we're expecting the VP to become the president?"

Maybe Brown is trying to help Sen Harris, or maybe he is doesn't realize Biden's decline. It could be from two factors: Brown is 86 years old himself and may be too befuddled to recognize Biden's dementia, or maybe Brown feels great, for a man 10 years older than Biden and figures, "If I feel up to it, a guy 10 years my junior should be fine"!

Jupiter said...

"Willie has been the smartest CA Pol for the last 50 years."

Oh, bullshit. He was mobbed up, that's all. The fix was in.

Jeff Weimer said...

I think it's well-known that Brown and Harris had an affair, and she got her political break due to that. It has been reported on a few times before, most recently as a prophylactic measure to make it "old news."

However, if she's the running mate it will be reported on like never before, and I think Willie doesn't want that kind of limelight reflecting on his political legacy.

M Jordan said...

One take out there is that Harris must be removed from VP picks to save her for the top of the ticket once Joe finally drools his way into oblivion. Not sure about that but it’s being discussed.

Joe Smith said...

I've run into Willie a few times. While we don't share the same politics I always say 'hello,' and he has always been a cordial and affable man. Along with being an incredibly dapper dresser...

My other good old-time politician story is seeing Jerry Brown on a Southwest flight. He was governor at the time and appeared to be flying alone. He was waiting for his turn to board along with everyone else.

He got on the plane first, and when I started down the aisle past him he was reading the paper. I said, 'Hello governor, nice to see you.' Without missing a beat, he lowered his paper, looked me in the eye, and said, 'Likewise,' and returned to his reading...

I don't share either of their views on many things, but both are old-style liberals, certainly left but not crazy. Willie could count votes with the best of them. Both men are very bright.

Joe Smith said...

"Willie has been the smartest CA Pol for the last 50 years."

Oh, bullshit. He was mobbed up, that's all. The fix was in.


I have to agree with the first sentiment...Willie is an extremely bright man. He's not on my side of things, but he is a political genius.

Linda Seebach said...

My public library subscribes to an online service called ProQuest, which offers full-text search to major newspapers (and a large variety of other published material). You could try that.

Ray - SoCal said...

Or Harris already said no, and this is cover. She sees the Biden Campaign going down in flames, and Willie Brown is smart enough to see that.

She did do a recent face lift.

Static Ping said...

I believe this is referred to as "concern trolling."

Michael K said...


I don't share either of their views on many things, but both are old-style liberals, certainly left but not crazy. Willie could count votes with the best of them. Both men are very bright.


I have had similar experiences with both men and the other one who was very smart and savvy was Jesse Unruh. He was the first of the Democrat "bosses" of CA. Back when they were all sane. I spent a lot of time with CA politicians back in the 80s. The Democrats were usually the smart ones. No more.

Narayanan said...

Commentsplain requested please :

WFH - opened SFChronicle link in MS Edge >>> paywall >>> then was able to request open with Internet Explorer >>> page opens.

Birkel said...

Linda woman-splains.
Perfect!

GlennnRB said...

Perhaps Willie- who knows Kamela "Very Well"- is aware of things that, when disclosed, would take her and the ticket down. And his "legacy" too.

GlennnRB said...

Perhaps Willie is aware of things that, when they become known, will take her and the ticket down.

rcocean said...

That was my thought too. Unless Brown is engaging in misdirection. He knows Biden will give it to her, so he says this to make people think Biden is NOT giving it to her.

Or this could be just a way to soften the blow *IF* Harris doesn't get it and to tell her that she still can win the nomination in 2024, even without the vp. But that will be hard. Biden not only will NOT run in 2024, He's not going to last 4 years. That's just "Unpossible", the VP will be the POTUS before 2024. Count on it.

If Biden chooses Rice, then I think harris will have a VERY Good chance of beating her in 2024. Rice has never held or ran for public office. She's not a politician. She's never run a large organization or been "the decider".

Bay Area Guy said...

"Willie has been the smartest CA Pol for the last 50 years."

Oh hell yeah! Not just the smartest, the most powerful. He played the long game, outlived Reagan, Deukmejian, Pete Wilson - escaped both the Dan White murders and the Jim Jones association -- and turned once beautiful red state California into a leftwing hell-hole.

Martin said...

Or, Brown knows something in Harris' past that, if it comes out under the scrutiny she will get as the Domocratic VP candidate, would really hurt her... or, hurt him.

Static Ping said...

For the comments about Willie being mobbed up, do keep in mind that being a brilliant politician and being a brilliant leader are two different things. Historically, there have been many a man (and woman) who proved to be quite brilliant at securing power and even retaining power, only for said ruler to be an awful leader that ruined the country. The lucky ones ruined the country for their successors but they got to enjoy life and die in their beds.

It's not common to get a great politician and a great administrator and a great military leader and a great religious leader and a great family man/woman and a great estate planner and all the other key leader traits in the same package. We all remember that Alexander the Great did indeed conquer much of the known world, but said empire barely outlived him because he left his grand project with minimal administration and without a competent heir. If a country is lucky, it will get what it needs when it needs it.

Joe Smith said...

"...Alexander the Great did indeed conquer much of the known world..."

Known to whom? It's a matter of perspective : )

effinayright said...

Wince said...
She's too big for the vice presidency. That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend.

Either that or Brown does not want to invite the scrutiny that his relationship with Harris will garner.
**************

Yep. The GOP would be certain to show the two of them on camera and run that 60's "Mel and Tim" song with these catchy lyrics:

"Backfield in motion, yeah
I'm gonna have to penalize you
Backfield in motion, baby
You know that's against the rules
Offsides and holdin', yeah
You ought a be ashamed of yourself baby
Offsides and holdin' yeah
Holdin' on to some one else
You know you're cheatin' baby..."

Rabel said...

I was under the impression, from previous comments he has made, that there was some degree of bad blood between Brown and Harris.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend.

IIRC she was just his mistress, not his friend


Willie is a scum bag, but he was a very successful politician. I think he sees that the Biden Campaign will be an utter dumpster fire, and that anybody involved in that disastrous effort that loses to Trump is going to be dead to the rest of the Democrat Party base

Additionally, I think you're right that he's sure she isn't going to get the nod, so wants to have her say "I don't want those sour grapes" before everyone knows she couldn't have them

Narayanan said...

please Baysplain for me ....

Bay Area Guy said...
"Willie has been the smartest CA Pol for the last 50 years."

Oh hell yeah! Not just the smartest, the most powerful. He played the long game, outlived Reagan, Deukmejian, Pete Wilson - escaped both the Dan White murders and the Jim Jones association -- and turned once beautiful red state California into a leftwing hell-hole.
---------===========
from Wikipedia >>>> During the last of his three allowed post-initiative terms, Brown maintained control of the Assembly despite a slim GOP majority by gaining the support of several Republicans


Ann Althouse said...

“ One take out there is that Harris must be removed from VP picks to save her for the top of the ticket once Joe finally drools his way into oblivion. ”

I’ve heard Scott Adams say that but it makes no sense to me. It would be entirely easy to elevate the VP pick to the newly opened top slot. It would be harder to do anything else. There’s no reason to hold her in reserve. That makes her weaker. She’s just an early dropout from the race. Plus you’d have another woman already on the ticket. What, would the ticket become Harris/Rice or Harris/Bass? Crazy!

PM said...

Every Wed Willie and Phil Matier, another SF writer for that stupidest of papers, have coffee across the street from my office. I like Willie. He's a realist in the old-time liberal style. He's got a fine sketchy past - defending unsavory drug dealers, banging fem-pol up-and-comers - but he usually feeds his lefty readers some hardcore and unwelcome political reality.

Stephen St. Onge said...

Here's the story:

LOCAL // WILLIE'S WORLD
Willie Brown: Kamala Harris should say no to vice presidency

If Joe Biden offers the vice presidential slot to Sen. Kamala Harris, my advice to her would be to politely decline.

Harris is a tested and proven campaigner who will work her backside off to get Biden elected. That said, the vice presidency is not the job she should go for — asking to be considered as attorney general in a Biden administration would be more like it.

Being picked for the vice presidency is obviously a huge honor, and if Biden wins, Harris would make history by being the first woman to hold the job.

But the glory would be short-lived, and historically, the vice presidency has often ended up being a dead end. For every George H.W. Bush, who ascended from the job to the presidency, there’s an Al Gore, who never got there.

True, the vice president does have an advantage the next time the party needs a new nominee, which in Biden’s case could be four years from now. But in the meantime, the vice president has no real power and little chance to accomplish anything independent of the president.

Basically, no one takes the vice president seriously after election day. Just ask Mike Pence.

Plus, if Biden wins, the Democrats will be moving into the White House in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession. The next few years promise to be a very bumpy ride. Barack Obama and the Democrats saved the nation from economic collapse when he took office, and their reward was a blowout loss in the 2010 midterm elections.

On the other hand, the attorney general has legitimate power. From atop the Justice Department, the boss can make a real mark on everything from police reform to racial justice to prosecuting corporate misdeeds.

And the attorney general gets to name every U.S. attorney in the country. That’s power.

Plus, given the department’s current disarray under William Barr, just showing up and being halfway sane will make the new AG a hero.

Best of all, being attorney general would give Harris enough distance from the White House to still be a viable candidate for the top slot in 2024 or 2028, no matter what the state of the nation.

Valentine Smith said...

If Biden’s elected, in all likelihood in a mere 30 years we go from the President getting blowjobs in the Oval Office to the President GIVING blowjobs in the Oval Office.

n.n said...

Brown knows what Harris knows is a risk.

walter said...

I thought Willie was warning folks about Kamala in early primary days.

hstad said...

"...That's the PR Brown is sketching out for his friend..." You could be correct, my view, is the "Brown" is worried about his legacy. Together, both "Brown and Harris" did a lot of crooked shit in S.F. That may come out during a run for national office.

PeterJ said...

Early in her career Kamala had an affair with Willie Brown. In the end he ditched her, returned to his wife.

wbfjrr2 said...

Brown believes Biden loses big. Also knows noVP candidate on a losing ticket has ever been elected VP, at least in my lifetime, and I’m 76.

That’s if he’s her friend. Which I doubt

Bob Loblaw said...

Early in her career Kamala had an affair with Willie Brown. In the end he ditched her, returned to his wife.

Not very likely, knowing Brown. It's more likely he got bored and moved on to a new mistress.

DeepRunner said...

Newser said in some article...
"Brown is a fan of Harris, and he acknowledges that if Joe Biden wins the election, she'd have a place in history as the first-ever female VP."

Yep...Brown knows all about Kamala's "abilities." If she is chosen, she is a living meme waiting to happen.