Weeks ago, Joe Biden promised to name a woman as his vice-presidential running mate. So far, so good.
Then he named a panel to vet the candidates. OK, we wouldn't want a Sarah Palin-level failure of vetting.
At first, it seemed he'd have a decision by the start of July. Now that seems to be slipping to August.
But the time is now, Joe.
Look around at what's happening in the country, and name a black woman as your choice for vice-president, as activists and party leaders have been urging.
The killing of an African-American man in Minneapolis, George Floyd, was the spark that lit the fire of protest. But that horrific event was just one of a series of recent tragic stories of violence or threats against African-Americans: the killing of Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes in coastal southeast Georgia; the police killing of Breonna Taylor in her own Louisville apartment; a young New York woman's racist threat to call the police when an African-American bird watcher simply asked her to leash her dog in a part of Central Park where leashing is mandatory.
Given all this, now is the time for Biden to act—not a month or two months from now.
Biden has been saying the right things. Now it's time to do the right thing for African-Americans: name someone who looks like them to be his running mate.
None of the women most often mentioned is without drawbacks. Stacey Abrams, the most brilliant and most passionate about voting rights, has never held national office. Sen. Kamala Harris of California has a deep background in law enforcement, a resume item once seen as a plus, but now widely viewed as a minus. Rep. Val Demings of Florida was once a police chief. Susan Rice, the former United Nations ambassador and national security adviser, is a target of the right wing, though multiple Republican-led investigations of Benghazi failed to come up with anything wrong with her performance.
No candidate is perfect, but picking a strong black woman—and every member of the short list fits that description—is something Biden should do right now, while the world's attention is focused on the plight of black people in America.
And while he's at it, he would do well to let us know his thinking about the shape of a Biden cabinet—an idea explored, among others, by Ronald Brownstein in The Atlantic. No federal agency subverted by the current presidency is in greater need of repair than the Department of Justice. It needs to return energetically to one of its historic missions: defending civil rights. Biden could dramatically recognize that need by appointing as attorney general either Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative or Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Either one of these outstanding civil rights lawyers would make a transformational attorney general. And the other one would make a superb head of the department's Civil Rights Division. And by the way, why has no one been mentioning Ifill in the veepstakes?
As Biden likes to say, "Come on!" Just do it, Joe. Do it now.
First in my class in Officer Candidate School. Late to the conclusion that our attitude toward the military is idolatrous.