Stay and Run for U.S. Senate, Joe!

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

MEMO

To: Joe Biden
From: Joe Mathews
Re: California, Here You Come

You cut a happy, glad-handling swath through California last week and got great reviews.

In this era dominated by cold, strategic and distant California politicians, genuine human warmth and hugs were refreshing. And you seemed to enjoy yourself too.

So why don’t we make this more than a visit, Mr. Vice President?

Let me speak frankly to you, Joe to Joe.

You’ll need a new gig after the end of next year. And with the Democrats lined up behind Hillary, there’s no real window for you to step up to the presidency. But you’re still in top form, and you need a new bigger challenge. If you can’t represent the whole nation, why not the next biggest thing – California?

Since you are retirement age (72), it’s time anyway to find a second home outside Delaware anyway, preferably one with warm weather.

Ideally, you’d run for governor in 2018. We desperately need a super-accessible, approachable governor after 25 years of Wilson-Davis-Schwarzenegger-Brown. Yes, Schwarzenegger is warm and approachable, but the reality of his mega-stardom limited access to them. And the other three are such cold fish that, if they really were salmon, they’d have surviving the new, warmer Delta.

Unfortunately, one of the world’s most ludicrous governing documents, the California constitution, prevents you from being governor. You’d have to have become a California resident back in 2013—since the constitution requires five years residence before being governor.

But there is no residency requirement for U.S. Senate. The 2016 race is too soon, but Dianne Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, is up in 2018, when she’ll be 85 going on 200. You’d be the perfect replacement. And if she tried to stick around, you could handle her in primary. Heck, you could run as the fresh, young face, since you’re nearly a decade younger than her – and practically middle-aged for a statewide California official these days.

Beyond your style, you could do us a ton of good in the U.S. Senate. You know that institution like the back of your hand, having served in it for so long. So you could get things done, and bring home the bacon (as you did some well in Delaware). Given your well-known devotion to trains, you as a California U.S. Senator may be the state’s best chance of ever getting the money to complete high-speed rail.

Think about it. And come back soon!

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