Sunday, May 10, 2020

VPOTUS needs to be ready for 2028, and why Eric Levitz is wrong

My February 2019 post saying "please not Bernie or Biden" for the Democratic nomination was less than completely successful in determining national politics. My subsequent support for Warren for president also didn't do so well. Now, as I'm seeing Warren ranked highest among Democratic preferences for Vice President, I'm yet again disagreeing with my fellow Democrats

The catalyst for this post was NYMag's Eric Levitz using some criteria for Biden's Veep selection that I don't think are very useful. Maybe most important is the one that he overlooked - that the VPOTUS could be needed to run for a first  term in 2028. The assumption that Biden is at most a one-term president, although possible, isn't guaranteed. Instead I'm guessing that if he wins and if things seem reasonably good in 2024, and if to public appearances he seems healthy (we won't know the reality because we tolerate complete obfuscation for presidential health) then Biden's running in 2024. The Veep chosen this summer needs to be ready to run in 2028.

While Warren's not as old as Bernie and Biden, she's up there already, and she'll be their age in 2028. There's no reason for Democrats to take on this age disadvantage. Warren will make a fine Cabinet member if Biden wins, and can consider running in 2024 if he doesn't run again, but VPOTUS should go to someone else. Worth considering also that whoever's Veep may have a reason not to run in 2028, like Biden did in 2016. Using up the Vice President slot for someone who will be 82 when she'd run for a first term in 2032 is a mistake.

So, going through Levitz's criteria, we have first, readiness to be a good president tomorrow. Well yes in general the VP should be capable of being a good president but that person doesn't have to have the same experience we'd want in the president. Barring some real bad luck, the veep will have months to years of experience serving in the Biden administration getting ready to take over. The most important thing is whether the VP helps defeat Trump, and second whether the person is good material for a future presidential campaign. Some experience is crucial, but virtually any viable Democratic VP candidate will be far more qualified than Trump was.

Second, the candidate shouldn't cost a Senate seat. I kind of agree, although I would trade a Senate seat for the presidency if the VP could really help. Still, this is probably his least objectionable criterion.

Third is that the candidate would be ready to run only in 2024, which is wrong for reasons discussed above.

Fourth is to help Biden politically, which is only wrong in that Levitz thinks the VP won't help and therefore says this criterion is unimportant compared to others. While that's generally been true in past elections, I think it's wrong as to individual states.

A popular governor in a swing state, and that's you Gretchen Whitmer, could move several percent of the vote. Levitz is wrong to dismiss her as too inexperienced. I'll agree that it would be better if she had more experience, but still she has years of state legislative experience before her two years so far as governor, and she'll get more experience as VP before becoming or running for president.

In general, choose a popular, smart, and not-too-elderly woman politician from a swing state (including Stacey Abrams and Georgia in that catergory), and Biden will do fine.


Canman said...

Hey democrats, want a good climate candidate?

Michael Shellenberger!

Michael Shellenberger!

Michael Shellenberger!

Brian said...

I think the comment spam I deleted had more content than your latest, Canman.

Canman said...

Brian, what have you got against Michael Shellenberger? He's earnest and has a clear position. He has a lot of experience with energy (with Obama's Apollo Alliance). I can't think of anyone I'd rather see in politics. And I usually don't vote for democrats.

Tom said...

I like Elizabeth Warren. I like her demeanor, her policies and her work ethic. Nothing against the other hopefuls (I love Stacey Abrams) but I find arguments against Warren a bit empty.

Canman said...

I remember in one of the Coffee with Scott Adam's (Dilbert cartoonist) videos, he said if Elizabeth Warren would come out for nuclear power, she might be our next president.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Nuclear power sucks, Canman. It's dangerous, expensive, and takes forever to deploy. It's a technological dead end, and that's why no one will invest in it any more.

Brian Schmidt said...

Canman, if Shellenberger cares about elected office then he should run for local office like I've done three times (and been elected twice). It's very honorable service to your community and gives the chance to prove you're worth considering for higher office. It also gives the chance to prove you're an idiot and decreases the chance of you rising up and fouling up a more important position.

People running for high office like senator, governor, or president without prior elected experience are usually just on ego trips. Sometimes a rich candidate is the only way for a minority party to win office, but usually it's just an ego trip.

Canman said...

Shellenberger did run for governor and got at least two endorsements from public scientist/communicators. He has experience with Obama's Apollo alliance. He freaquntly writes about national energy issues and has written about Californias homelessness and wild fire issues. I think he's just as qualified as Gretchen Witlessmore.



"if Shellenberger cares about elected office then he should run for local office like I've done .. It's very honorable service to your community and... also gives the chance to prove you're an idiot and decreases the chance of you rising up and fouling up a more important position."

Let us know when you next run on the Peter Principle ticket, and all good bunnies will fight for the honor of being first to pawprint your nomination petition .

David B. Benson said...

Barton Paul Levenson continues to ignore the evidence. Nuclear power plants are much safer than any other form of electric power generation. Nuclear power plants only appear expensive because each generates considerable power; the nuclear power plants in Texas continue to successfully compete in that unique so-called energy only wholesale market. Yes, big plants take a long time to construct; hence the interest in SMRs.

One out of three isn't a passing grade...

Snape said...

Collateral damage from the war on COVID:

“The WFP has warned that up to three dozen nations could face famines by the end of the year, potentially pushing an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation.”

[“South Sudan, where a new unity government was formed recently to end a long-running civil war, is one of the nations most at risk. Data published by the FAO show that prices for wheat in the capital city of Juba have shot up 62% since February. Prices for cassava, a local staple otherwise known as tapioca, are up 41%.
“I don’t even want to imagine how bad it’s going to be,” said Mabior Garang, the African country’s deputy interior minister-designate. “The borders have been closed, and we don’t have any local production of food in our country. We were already facing a famine pre-corona. If you add corona to the equation, it’s crazy.”]


“Every year, nearly a billion people suffer from some form of hunger, brought about by war or climate change or simply a lack of means. But now, according to the United Nations, the number of people who are classified as having acute food insecurity—a level of hunger at which a person’s inability to consume adequate food endangers their life or livelihood—could rise from more than a hundred and thirty million to nearly three hundred million, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought world economies and supply chains to a standstill. And this estimate does not even begin to address the millions of people whose means of achieving a decent living have evaporated.”

Barton Paul Levenson said...

DBB: Nuclear power plants only appear expensive

BPL: A new 1 GWe nuke plant costs $7 to $14 billion in capital investment costs. No other power source costs that much to set up. And they take ten years to build. A new wind farm can go up in 9 months. Even if your vaunted SMRs only take four years to build, they will still be slow to deploy. Nuclear is a technological dead end and should be abandoned.

David B. Benson said...

I count 48 nuclear power plants, some with 2 or 4 reactors, currently under construction. So somehow the world's power planners know something that BPL does not.

Regarding SMRs, 4 years is also the time required to build a CCGT, combined cycle gas turbine. Of course both types of power plant have high availability factors; wind farms do not, a factor that power planners must take into consideration.

Deciding what electric power generation equipment to acquire is not an easy task. The state regulators must agree that it is in the rate payers best interest and it must simultaneously pay its own way, at least for the lifetime of the construction loan and usually longer. For example, wind farms loose 13% in 17 years of operation. CCGTS last a minimum of 3 decades while nuclear power plants now go on for up to 8 decades.

Boldie said...

Shellenberger keeps spreading a lot of lies and disinformation about renewables. The tricks he uses closely resemble those of the fossil fuel industry. Independent on how you think about nuclear energy, somebody so dishonest should not be in any government position.

Canman said...

Boldie, if you're gonna accuse Shellenberger of spreading lies and misinformation about renewables, you should at least give an example or two.

bjchip said...

At the present time his candidate selection is now restricted to Black Women.

This may be a good thing but I am skeptical of our ability to get her into office without Biden leaving - intentionally - before his term is up. He would do well to do so with some time on the clock.

I would expect a second effort to secede to occur in some states. If nothing else it is clear that we're ENTIRELY distracted from climate at the moment.

Yet the climate is doing what Kunstler expected in his "Long Emergency" and the whole thing recalls the prescience of "The Limits to Growth".