If President Joe Biden plans to run again in 2024, as he insists he will, Bill Maher has two words of advice for him: Ditch Kamala.
During a panel discussion on Friday’s edition of Maher’s HBO show “Real Time,” the host and panelist Caitlin Flanagan agreed the veep would be holding down the ticket.
Maher said that, despite Biden’s advanced age, he didn’t see the president retiring.
“Once you have that real estate, and you wake up in the White House, and your office is the Oval, I just don’t think you give it up,” Maher said, according to the Washington Examiner.
“It’s very hard to take away the nomination from the president, a sitting president.”
However, there was one way to fix some of the problems the 79-year-old Biden will likely face in two years.
“What I could see is replacing the vice president,” Maher said, to vigorous applause from the audience.
“Because [Kamala Harris is] just not very popular anywhere. And it didn’t seem to work out,” he continued. “And, I don’t know, that’s been done before on a ticket.”
Flanagan, a respected writer best known for her work in The Atlantic, agreed that Harris represents serious baggage for Biden — and noted he was unwise to have chosen her after her campaign was more or less blown up on a Democratic primary debate stage by then-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
As Fox News reported, Gabbard hit Harris for being hard on small-time marijuana offenders during her time as a San Francisco prosecutor while laughing about her own marijuana use in interviews.
“In addition to being, for some reason, an off-putting person, she also has, I think, a lot of baggage that probably wouldn’t do well under a lot of scrutiny,” Flanagan told Maher.
— Tommy moderna-vaX-Topher (@tommyxtopher) October 1, 2022
Maher went on to say that while he thinks “she’s a very bright person,” the problem is, “I just think she’s a bad politician.”
“I can see them [replacing her] because a lot of the problem with Biden being old is, ‘Oh, if he dies then you know you’re gonna get this person,’” Maher said.
“OK, so here’s the problem with the Democratic Party: They’re so boxed in by identity politics that you cannot conceive of a Democratic ticket that doesn’t have a woman and person of color on it. And pretty soon you’re gonna line up behind that gay Latino and you’re gonna have to have, you know, a deaf Eskimo be the” candidate, he added, jokingly. (Maybe.)
For those with short memories, the choice of Harris came after the Biden campaign was pressured to avow he would choose a black woman as his running mate.
The final three came down to Harris, former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice and California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass.
Rice had no experience in electoral politics, however, and she was the face or the fall guy (depending on whose version of events you believe) for the Obama administration’s attempt to cover up the real cause of the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
Bass, meanwhile, was fond of praising folks like Fidel Castro and her reported ties to Scientology and the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam made her a liability, as Fox News noted.
So, Harris it was. And not only was she made the running mate, we were all to understand that — given Biden’s advanced age — she was less his No. 2 and more of a 1(b). Americans were to think of her as the newly drafted backup quarterback, sitting behind a veteran who might have to retire at any second.
This hasn’t worked out swimmingly. Sure, Biden’s unpopular — as of Tuesday morning, his RealClearPolitics aggregate favorability rating has 42.1 percent of voters approving of the job he’s doing, with 53.3 percent disapproving — but Harris is even less likable.
Her RealClearPolitics average shows her as of last week with a 37.8 percent approval rating, with 51.8 percent disapproving — a 14-point negative spread to Biden’s 11.
Why might she be unpopular? Maybe it’s that she can’t blame her gaffes on age — and there are certainly plenty of them, like last week’s accidental praise of our “alliance with the Republic of North Korea” during a speech in the Demilitarized Zone between our ally South Korea and their sworn enemies to the north.
KAMALA HARRIS: “The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea.” pic.twitter.com/H2dI5UYOlo
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 29, 2022
The only thing to say in her defense is that, if Biden’s team had picked Karen Bass as his running mate, she might have meant it.
Replacing a running mate isn’t unprecedented, but it is unusual. The last time it happened was in 1976, when then-President Gerald Ford swapped out the moderate Vice President Nelson Rockefeller for the more conservative Kansas Sen. Robert Dole.
Ford had never been elected with Rockefeller, however. (Or elected president, period. A longtime Republican congressman representing Michigan, he was the House minority leader when — he took the vice presidential job after the resignation of Spiro Agnew and then the presidency when Richard Nixon resigned.)
To find the last time a sitting president shanked a running mate he’d been elected with, you’d have to go back 78 years to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s final campaign in 1944, in which he replaced somewhat-kooky, hard-left veep Henry Wallace with Missouri Sen. Harry Truman.
That case is instructive, for it was Truman — not Wallace, a man known for pro-Soviet sympathies and dabbling with strange mystics — who was charged with the decision to drop the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, winding up World War II and presiding over the United States in the crucial post-war years.
Vice presidents can have consequences, in other words — and the United States can’t run the risk of Kamala Harris being forced to step into Joe Biden’s shoes, not with the precarious situations in Ukraine and Taiwan and the economy in tatters.
There’s a reason she’s more unpopular than Biden: The United States knows that as bad as the president is, it could get a lot worse in a big hurry.
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