Willie Brown was instrumental in launching Kamala Harris’ political career, so I guess he has standing to give her career advice. His advice is that Harris should say “no” to Joe Biden if he offers her a place on the Democratic ticket.
Here is Brown’s rationale:
[T]he 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.
But George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, and Joe Biden all parlayed the vice presidency into their party’s nomination for president. Bush made it to the White House, Gore came within a whisker, and Biden has a good shot. That’s better than the track record of candidates who unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination and afterwards did not become vice president.
In addition, of course, there’s a more than a small chance that, if elected, Biden won’t make it through his first term, thus enabling his vice president to succeed him without having to run for the office. Brown declines, understandably, to consider this touchy scenario.
Brown argues that Harris would be better off heading up the Department of Justice. But how many AGs have ever become president?
Brown believes that the coming years will be a “bumpy ride” for the White House occupant. He may be right. On the other hand, the coming years might well see an end to the pandemic and a massive economic recovery.
The coming years are likely to be a very bumpy ride for a Democratic Attorney General, should the nation be saddled with one. The Wuhan coronavirus will very likely recede before the wave of homicides and other violent crimes does.
As Attorney General, Harris would either have to alienate the Democratic base by standing up against lawlessness or preside over anarchy in our cities. In all likelihood, she would satisfy neither the Democratic left nor those who desire some semblance of order.
Better to be more or less out of sight as vice president.
The nomination isn’t Harris’ to decline at this moment. If she gets the nod, she should jump at the opportunity — and almost certainly will.