Something tells us that the writers of press releases at the various GOP headquarters already had the copy written. They just needed a name: "Joe Biden has once again shown he is held hostage by the far left in his party by picking [INSERT NAME HERE] as his running mate." The emails that came immediately after Kamala Harris was put on the ticket weren't much better written than that.
Similarly, the hosannas from the Democrats would have come with any choice from Mr. Biden's much-leaked Top 10 list. It's how the game is played these days. We imagine that few Americans are fooled.
Kamala Harris will likely make a fine running mate. She's running with a man who, if elected, will become the oldest American president to ever take the oath. So the first requirement is this: Can she be a serious president, if need be? After watching her in the national spotlight these last few years, most Americans would probably answer: yes.
Kamala Harris has her strong points, and some not so strong. She shares that in common with, say, nearly everybody.
She'll need to press home those strong points, and that of her running mate, for the next two and a half months. And try her best to cover any weaknesses. Because the ticket she's up against pulls no punches. In fact, it specializes in roundhouses.
Today's national Democratic Party puts a lot of focus on identity politics, and Kamala Harris checks more than one box. She's a female, a Black female at that, and her mother is from India. Diversity (in everything but thought) is big in the party, and this pick by Joe Biden is historical.
Kamala Harris is also a serious person. Which comes from being a district attorney and a state attorney general. Not to mention a United States senator. Although she will be sold as a moderate, she has the second-most liberal voting record among Democrats in the Senate, just behind Elizabeth Warren.
The papers say when she was the attorney general of California, she refused to defend Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages, and the resulting and similar court cases eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Usually, a state AG would defend the state in court, but Kamala Harris is a smart politician. To do the job might have had repercussions for future employment.
She's also a helluva debater. So much so that she almost debated herself off the ticket in the primaries when she took on Joe Biden more directly than he apparently expected. She can deliver roundhouses, too.
Not to be morbid, just morbidly political, but because of Joe Biden's age, scrutiny of his vice presidential nominee should be exceedingly fine. (Kamala Harris will recognize the phrase.) She goes into this general election having a stream of policy proposals behind her as she walked through the primary minefields. Come Nov. 3, the choice won't be Trump vs. Anybody But Trump. The choice will be between Trump vs.:
Let's review how Kamala Harris campaigned in the primaries. She didn't choose the Biden or Mayor Pete paths, but the already crowded routes of those further to the left: She not only supported Medicare for All, but even outlawing private health insurance, the way they do in Canada. In other words, she supports giving the government a monopoly on health insurance. That might indeed bring down some health care costs, by denial of benefits, especially to the elderly. It might also bring down costs by rationing health care for everybody else.
She said she was "open" to the idea of packing the United States Supreme Court. That was a favorite play of many candidates this year: Whenever somebody at a town hall or media interview asked about some off-the-wall notion, the candidates would say they were "open" to the idea. Kamala Harris made it a habit.
She was open to the idea of setting term limits for top justices. (At least while there are more conservatives on the Supreme Court these days.) She was open to limiting the number of judges a president can nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court.
She wasn't just open to the idea of the Green New Deal, she was a co-sponsor. If such a calamity of a bill is ever passed and signed, it will likely cost the American economy trillions. How many trillions is in dispute. But at least it wouldn't do anything to clean up the air as long as China and India are building coal-fired plants by the dozens every year.
The Kamala Harris presidential campaign, when it was still kicking, proposed something called the Equal Pay Certification plan, which--as it noted--was the "most aggressive equal pay proposal in history," and would have required companies to be certified, through the government, that those companies don't give preferential treatment to men over women. The plan would have put the burden of proof on private business, with government certification at risk.
Kamala Harris co-sponsored legislation that would have eliminated college tuition and fees. She suggested that the government do away with ICE. She called for the federal legalization of weed. And more openness: She was "open" to the idea of nixing the Electoral College, requiring paid leave for parents in the private sector, and more government subsidies for more house renters.
And when it comes to abortion, well, need you inquire?
The Trump-Pence ticket will run on its record. The Biden-Harris ticket will, too. Kamala Harris is no more an unknown quantity than Joe Biden. And that's good, because voters need to know where the candidates stand.
One thing is for sure: When it comes to Kamala Harris, for all her attributes, she's not standing in the center.