She auditioned for VP by running for president, but now her chances have been hijacked by association with a criminal case gone bad and a state grown mad.
Amy Klobuchar, the plain-speaking former lead prosecutor in Minnesota’s largest county is trying to outrun her record before it runs her out of contention – and out of town.
The tragic and unwarranted death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who impressed with his hard work and decency, has shifted the national spotlight from hospitals and nursing homes to a state in turmoil.
Fair or not, this is when politics metes out punishment based on association, when the past catches up with the present before it shapes the future. Amy Klobuchar is about to find out what that feels like from a case she prosecuted 18 years ago but feels like 18 minutes ago.
The case involved the death of an 11-year old Minneapolis girl, Tyesha Edwards, felled by a bullet never intended for her. A 16-year-old black teenager was accused, convicted and jailed before the AP, NY Times and others revealed the case to be flawed, rushed and likely wrong. Equally wrong was how Klobuchar wielded this case as a political battering ram during her run for president, to show us how tough she is and can be.
Sorry, Amy, but tough is spending your life in prison for something you didn’t do because you failed to do what you were elected to do.
Now the nation is witnessing Klobuchar’s hometown turn into a war zone with a police station on fire and a whole community inflamed. Making matters worse, Klobuchar failed to discipline the police officer most responsible for Floyd’s death whose record of lacking discipline should have forced him off the force years ago.
Klobuchar, who already failed to mobilize black voters behind her bid for president, will quickly be demoted from Joe Biden’s VP short list to the prospective Democrat nominee’s no-fly zone.
All of this should have Kamala Harris quaking in her boots, knowing the crowd will turn on her next.
As many remember, Harris went from near-frontrunner to done when she fell apart in a Democrat debate last year after Tulsi Gabbard asked Harris a few pointed questions about why she disproportionately targeted minorities and non-violent offenders as California’s Attorney General. Biden joined in the attack that night, suggesting she’s somehow responsible for San Francisco and Los Angeles being two of the most segregated cities in America.
As a former chosen one, Joe Biden knows rule number one in choosing a vice presidential running mate is “do no harm.” He also knows, or should, that Amy Klobuchar now runs afoul of that rule. Despite the Minnesota senator’s electoral assets – she’s a marquis name in some Midwest battleground states, a proven draw for independents and has both state and federal experience to ensure she could hit the ground running – how does she weather this storm as the nation struggles to weather theirs?
She doesn’t, and that’s good news for Elizabeth Warren. Despite her all-but-declared war on marketplace capitalism, and her disdain for those who succeed, Warren does check a lot of political boxes – progressive, accomplished, aggressive and (in line with Biden’s promise) she’s a she.
Years ago, while working on a Minnesota U.S. Senate campaign, I came to appreciate the values of hard work and human tolerance that define most who live there. It should open more than a few eyes that the Floyd-fueled eruption happened there, showing the nation still has a ways to go before claiming racial justice as a unifying moral imperative.
Careers have been made and unmade at warp speed the past few years, from #MeToo scalpings of former icons from Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, to public roastings of public figures from now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the refuse-to-resign Virginia governor pictured in blackface next to an intolerant wearing a KKK robe.
Comparatively, Klobuchar’s offense may be considered far less serious but it’s no less lethal.
Biden’s presidential caravan will move on without her, leaving Klobuchar to regret what could have been versus what will never be.
And the Greeks thought they had cornered the market on tragedy.
Adam Goodman is a national Republican media strategist and columnist. He is a partner at Ballard Partners in Washington D.C. He is also the first Edward R. Murrow Senior Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. Follow him on Twitter @adamgoodman3