My View | Denise Dunbar – National Unity: That’s the ticket


Most of us have extra time on our hands due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we spend that time in different ways. One of my friends is raising free-range chickens. My sister is redoing her kitchen, including painting the cabinets herself.

I find myself fantasizing about how this troubled country of ours might unify rather than fracture during the 2020 presidential election. What follows is an imagined conversation between Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and two senior advisers.

Joe Biden: “It’s about time for me to name my vice presidential pick.”

Top adviser #1: “Yes sir, it is. I personally think Susan Rice would be an excellent choice. You’ve pledged to choose a woman, and frankly,
at this point, most people also expect you to choose a woman of color. Rice has excellent foreign policy credentials and would be ready to be president from day one. … Not that that will be necessary, sir.”

Top adviser #2: “I agree she’d be an excellent choice. But I have another suggestion. Someone also named Rice – Condi.”

Top adviser #1: [Spluttering] “But she’s a Republican for goodness’ sake!”

Top adviser #2: “Yes.”

Biden: “And she’s as old as I am!”

TA2: “Well, not quite, sir. She’s 65.”

TA1: “That’s a crazy idea.”

TA2: “Maybe, but hear me out. You’re going to win this election, sir, regardless of who you pick. It’s why you can consider someone by how they’d govern, not for geographic political reasons. Condi Rice, more than anyone you’re considering, would be ready to be president on day one. Not that that will be necessary, sir. But she’s been Secretary of State for goodness’ sake!”

TA1: “In a Republican administration!”

TA2: “Yes, but why couldn’t Joe pull a John McCain? Everyone knows McCain wanted to choose Joe Lieberman as his VP in 2008, but his advisers talked him out of it.”

TA1: “Yes, but he didn’t pick Lieberman. Instead he chose a divisive Republican.”

TA2: “Yes and look at how that turned out for him! Look, the country is more divided now than it’s been in at least 50 years. What the country needs more than anything is healing. And what could possibly be more healing than a national unity ticket of Joe with a moderate Republican – who also happens to be a Black woman. 

I believe a Joe Biden-Condi Rice ticket could carry every single state! It could be a landslide like Reagan in ’80! You’d have a major mandate for change.”

Biden: [With a dreamy look] “Every single state…”

TA2: “It would be a statesmanlike gesture that’s unequaled in modern political times. History classes would discuss Joe’s gesture for decades, if not centuries.”

Biden: “Ohh, for decades, or centuries…”

TA1: “But, but our party has waited four long, terrible years for this. We have a chance to control both the House and the Senate along with the presidency. Joe’s agenda is going to happen no matter who he picks as VP.”

TA2: “Precisely. But the country won’t heal; we’ll remain just as divided. Condi on the ticket means Joe will likely get about as many Republican votes as Old Orange Hair. A national unity ticket means Joe can govern as the centrist he really is.”

Biden: “I really am a centrist.”

TA1: “But, God forbid, if Condi were to become president, she’d be in charge of appointing judges. Our party faithful will not allow a Republican to control judicial appointments.”

TA2: “Condi is actually pro choice on abortion. But we could have her agree to appoint judges from a list of candidates supplied by Democrats if she became president. Not that that’s going to happen.”

Biden: [With a steely glare] “Fellows, you know the base would never allow this.”

TA1: “No!”

TA2: [Deep sigh] “No.”

This column is not intended as an endorsement of any party or candidate. The writer is publisher and executive editor of the Alexandria Times.