What a mess! With the deadline to select a vice president approaching, the members of Team Biden wish someone had told them before this all started that every high-profile woman they would consider for the vice presidency would turn out on further inspection to be just slightly wrong — too ambitious, or too self-effacing, or too prepared, or polarizing in some other, completely unexpected way. She might want to be president herself when this was over, which historically would be an anomaly for vice presidents, and probably ought to be disqualifying. Did these vying, sparring, lobbying women who were putting their names out there through such never-before-attempted means as meetings, statements and fundraising appearances not realize that they were in contention for the vice presidency, a sacred office not designed for grasping or distracting personalities?

What Team Biden needs is a vice president who can be a good team player, a supportive No. 2, in the mold of previous vice presidents! Perhaps someone like the historically self-effacing Theodore Roosevelt. It was said of him that he wanted to be “the corpse at every funeral and the bride at every wedding” because he was so notably demure. When I think of “good team player who shares the limelight well,” no name springs to mind faster than Teddy Roosevelt — except, possibly, Vice President Thomas Jefferson, a simple, unproblematic farmer.

That is all that this team is trying to find: a Lady Vice President who can live up to the role created by John Adams centuries ago, and step into the shoes of that smooth, popular man who famously got along with everybody. We just need a woman who can say of herself, as Adams did, “I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular" — whoops, sorry, wrong quote! It is indeed something Adams said, but does not express the sentiment of what we’re looking for very well. The point is, we just need someone with that undefinable thingness that John Adams had but these ladies all lack.

Where is the Richard Nixon this nation deserves, someone popular and easygoing with no political baggage or ambitions of her own?

If only these women could take a page from the book of Aaron Burr! That is all we really need: a vice presidentess as refreshingly unambitious as Burr surely must have been before he literally murdered a guy and then, it looks like, tried to make himself emperor of Mexico? Where will we find a vice president like John C. Calhoun, about whom there is probably nothing bad to say, or Andrew Johnson, a man so superb that when he was president he helped start our fun, wholesome tradition of impeachment-but-not-removal!

Where is the Andrew Johnson this nation needs, someone with beady eyes and terrible political instincts who will impede Reconstruction at every turn? Where can we find a shrinking violet like Lyndon Johnson? Alas, we shall not see his like again. It’s just a shame that there is something about all of these women that makes them fall short, some indefinable characteristic that flees like quicksilver when I try to describe what it is.

The more you think about the people who have occupied this office before, the more frustrating it becomes that literally no woman in contention partakes of any of their team-player, self-effacing, non-threatening, apologetic qualities. I don’t know what Team Biden is going to do.

Black women are the Democrats’ most reliable voting bloc. Here’s how seven prominent black female activists and media figures say Joe Biden can win them over. (The Washington Post)

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