Willie Brown: Obama Could Replace Joe Biden With New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Former San Francisco Mayor and onetime California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr, is one of those smart political analysts well worth hearing — and pondering. He doesn’t always get it right but he gets a lot of it right. His latest prediction: Barack Obama will replace Joe Biden (who long wanted to be Secretary of State) with New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, clearly an up and coming national Democratic star.

Cuomo’s office denies any interest, which makes political sense — but don’t discount all of Brown’s prediction (NEVER discount totally what Willy Brown says):

Brown, who writes a well-read column for the San Francisco Examiner, was touching on widespread speculation that Vice President Joe Biden is not exactly an asset and might be dumped from his post by an increasingly nervous and poll-challenged President Obama when he declared:

“Here’s a prediction: Vice President Biden moves over to secretary of state, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepping in to bring new blood to the Obama re-election campaign.

“He’s a big name, a big-state governor. And a Democrat who is taking on the issue of pubic-employee salaries and pensions. Plus, he looks good,” Brown wrote.

A source close to Cuomo said the governor was flattered by Brown’s observations, “especially his saying that he looks good,” but insisted the governor had no plans other than to work hard during the 3½ years remaining in his term.

“The governor is committed to working for the people of New York and is not going anywhere,” said the source.

This could be another case where Brown gets it partially right..right on the dime:

  • If Obama’s numbers are lagging (and right now they are) he may wish to shake things up a bit and create some excitement by picking a new candidate for Vice President. The Veep is always the kind of point man for the Presidential candidate, often saying things the person at the top of the ticket might not say due to political politeness.
  • Biden originally wanted to be Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton, who by most accounts has gotten high marks in that post, has made it clear that when the term is over she wants to move on. If Biden did move to Secretary of State it would not be a demotion but giving Biden his first choice position.
  • Cuomo could be offered the Veep post but it’s highly unlikely he’d accept it. The timing is not good. If he has any aspirations for higher office he would want to serve at least one term in Albany so he has record of accomplishment. I’m also betting that if Cuomo decides to run for President one day he won’t do a re-run of the Hamlet act that his dad did and agonize over the decision until his moment is gone. But — unlike Sarah Palin — Andrew Cuomo is smart enough to know that if he has higher aspirations he needs to show he has some solid seasoning first.
  • Brown is well-connected and knows what’s happening behind the scenes. I take this as meaning within the context of what Brown has picked up a Biden move to Secretary of State would not be surprising. Discount all assurances from Obama or Biden right now that nothing will change. Biden could well stay where he is but if there will be change in the future it will — once more — be a matter of timing.

    If Cuomo is not available, it would mean Obama has to find someone who can make a big splash as VP — someone who can get media attention.

    But Donald Trump is working the other side…