Why Susan Rice, the former U.S. National Security Advisor, might be a good Vice President for Biden and good enough for his voter base.
- Former US National Security Advisor Susan Rice might be a good Vice President for Biden – and, given the width of her experience, acceptable to his voter base and independent voters.
- The next Democratic administration, even if run by moderates, will possibly be the most progressive one since FDR. But it must be administratively adept.
- As the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice made her mark by promoting women’s rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community, issues of great interest to Democratic Party progressives.
- Due to Biden’s advanced age he may focus on the much-needed domestic healing -- and leave foreign policy healing with US allies around the world to Susan Rice as his Vice President.
When U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) recently withdrew her name from consideration as a potential vice-presidential nominee for Joe Biden’s campaign and opted in favor of a woman of color, that announcement was somewhat disingenuous.
She had dropped from the short list the moment George Floyd was murdered. As a tough law and order prosecutor in Minnesota, she had not vigorously pursued police brutality cases while she had served as a U.S. Attorney in Minnesota.
Susan Rice is controversial
So how about Susan Rice as a Vice Presidential pick?
Sure, if Susan Rice were picked by Joe Biden, Republican conspiracy theorists will once again go into overdrive over the 2012 Benghazi attack during which the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, another U.S. government official and two former Navy Seals were killed.
Another round of conspiracy mongering?
This matter was pursued ad nauseam in the then Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, mainly to disparage former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.
However, cooler minds in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, on both sides of the aisle, found nothing wrong with Rice’s actions. Later on, in 2017, Trump’s own National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster cleared her name.
None of this will stop these Republican conspiracy adherents. They would even go after Jesus Christ if Joe Biden were to nominate him. And they would point out that he was not really born on December 24th and that the exact location of his birth place was dubious.
Democrats’ progressives also opposed?
But Susan Rice is also no favorite with progressives either. First of all, she is no domestic policy wonk, where most of the progressives’ focus is.
Second, she is a centrist — just like Joe Biden himself — and the progressives are looking for somebody left-of-center with whom they can identify. Finally, Susan Rice is wealthy, although she is no billionaire.
Why George Floyd may have changed all of that
Not too long ago, the political debate among Democratic Party partisans was fixated on Bernie Sanders-type policy issues, such as Medicare-for-All, free education and other social safety net issues.
But this fixation has changed with the murder of George Floyd. The laser-like focus is now on police brutality and racism — and on finally getting things done on this front.
The protests all across the United States were remarkably diverse, especially with young white protesters joining their black and brown fellow citizens in huge numbers.
This changed focus among Democrats helps centrists because during the upcoming campaign they can divert from supporting Bernie’s revolution to the more immediate challenges of a pandemic and structural racism.
Tacking back to healthcare
At the same time, Susan Rice and other centrist Democrats can point out that the pandemic proportionately kills more minorities due to — among other things — their lack of affordable access to healthcare.
They can also eloquently point at the fact that racism has its roots in many of the social issues that progressives care so much about, inequality, lack of opportunity, lack of a well-designed and an effective social safety net.
And yet, at the same time all of these issues also go beyond the matter of race, because young people of all races see how they are on the losing end of the global equation.
Young white people have no difficulty grasping the concept of social injustice. To them, the fight against racism has become the accelerator to change the country much more broadly than just fixing the systemic disenfranchisement of minorities.
Susan Rice as a domestic policy player
And this is where Susan Rice’s professional qualities come in regarding becoming a domestic policy player. She has been described as tough and sometimes hard to work with because she holds very strong views.
But having strong views and not being mealy-mouthed may precisely be the qualities needed to effect change at this stage.
Ms. Rice recently translated that toughness into attacking Trump’s White House as “racist to its core.” Not mincing any words, she went on to say that Trump’s Republican enablers in the Senate belong in the “trash heap of history.”
Curing systemic racism
Of course, in curing the systemic racism in the United States, it will take more than rhetorically condemning the white supremacist who occupies the White House and his allies.
What is really needed are steps to close the gap between those who are disadvantaged and on those on top.
Young people and independents want a different United States than what has been on display over the last three and a half years. The pandemic and the murder of George Floyd have been the perfect storm that was needed (sadly) to make a movement out of sheer opposition. Susan Rice can become its star.
Susan Rice: A Biden clone?
If elected, one might say that Biden and Rice have very similar qualifications. Biden is strong on foreign policy as is Rice. After all, she was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama and his National Security Advisor.
But as Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice made her mark by — among other things — promoting women’s rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community, two important issues to Democratic progressives.
Vast experience matters
But her vast experience in foreign policy also makes her invaluable for a President Biden. The world needs healing, the United States has to focus on regaining the trust of its allies.
This is no small task and due to Joe Biden’s advanced age he may very well want to focus on the much-needed domestic healing and farm out the foreign policy healing mandate to Susan Rice as his Vice President (and possible successor).
Of course, U.S. elections are not won on foreign policy issues — except in times of war, but for Joe Biden this may be a very important synergy. As Biden’s presidency advances, Rice could then take on more of a domestic policy role herself.
Rice hits the right age bracket and has experience
Finally, Susan Rice might be the right choice because she will turn 56 years old two weeks after the election. After Biden’s first (and possibly only term), she would be 60 and ready to become America’s first female President.
What’s also key is that Susan Rice is experienced. She has spent much of her career in Washington and she knows the ins and outs.
No other female candidate apparently under current consideration can claim that. Undoubtedly, she is qualified to become president on Day One.
The times they are a changing — and the next Democratic government, even if run by moderates, will possibly be the most progressive one since FDR.
Susan Rice is the right woman for the job as Vice President of the United States and Joe Biden might just agree.