Joe Biden had set his announcement of his selection of a VP running mate to happen on August 1.
Early that morning the Biden Campaign announced it was pushing back the announcement another 2 weeks.
Three African-American women have been reported to be among the finalists. This would fulfill a commitment made by Biden to pick a “woman of color” to join him on the Democrat party ticket. The three were California Senator Kamala Harris, Californian House Member Karen Bass, and former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
Harris has long been rumored to be the leading candidate, but there are many reasons related to internal Democrat party rivalries why she seems to have fallen out of favor with Biden’s VP search committee. It has been reported that one virtue Bass seemed to have going for her is that she does not seemingly have aspirations to run for President herself in 2024 — although four years is a lifetime in politics.
Bass is also being strongly supported by Nancy Pelosi and the California House delegation.
On the day of the planned announcement, following a “boomlet” in positive press coverage of Bass from the DNC “house organs” the NYT, WaPo, and CNDNC/MSDNC, the Daily Caller dropped a story about a speech Bass gave at the opening of a new Headquarters Building for Scientology in Los Angeles and posted a video of her speech in which she praised the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. The story noted that this particular speech, given while Bass was the Speaker of the California Assembly in 2010, wasn’t the only time she had made favorable public remarks about Scientology, and pointing to similar praise by her at another event.
I covered the likely connection between the Daily Caller story and the announced delay in this story.
Bass put out a comment later in the day saying that at the time she made the comments, the controversy about Scientology and its leadership was not yet common knowledge. That was blatantly false as Scientology has been controversial for decades — especially in California where it has a strong following in Hollywood creative circles, with such notable practitioners as mega-stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Many historical controversies involving Scientology had received greater public attention in recent years because of the book by Lawrence Wright titled “Going Clear”, and the subsequent HBO documentary based on the book by the same title. But the Wright book and HBO documentary didn’t expose something not previously known, and a high powered politician in Los Angeles would know that wasn’t the case.
Because Bass also received significant negative press about the praise she offered for Fidel Castro at the time of his death, and with her potential selection as Biden’s VP candidate now hanging in the balance, Bass tried to snuff out the Scientology story on Twitter again by claiming her attendance at the event was simply a public appearance for a significant construction project in her district.
As reported today by Politico, that is not true. When they asked Bass to comment on the explanation she changed her story by stating that the claim the Church Building was in her district was a mistake.
“In drafting a tweet, I mistakenly described the event in Los Angeles as being in her district. I regret this error,” a spokesman told POLITICO.
Bass’ justification for appearing at the massive building’s opening — that she represented the area — was included in news accounts as a primary reason why she would have attended. Bass’ spokesman did not respond to a question Wednesday about why she appeared and spoke glowingly about the church, which has been enmeshed in controversies for years.
Since rising on Joe Biden’s list of vice presidential contenders, the five-term congresswoman has faced fresh scrutiny, including for laudatory remarks about Fidel Castro when he died in 2016 and close associations with Cuba in her youth. On Tuesday, POLITICO reported on Bass’ eulogy for a longtime top member of the Communist Party USA (Bass has said she is not a communist).
Video first emerged Friday of the California Democrat and then-Assembly speaker emeritus at the Los Angeles opening ceremony in 2010, an event that drew a massive crowd and was attended by top Scientology brass. The Daily Caller first reported the video’s existence.
As noted, Bass has yet to offer any views on Scientology, or walk-back her praise for the “Church” and its founder/leadership. She has tried to deflect the issue by noting that she is a practicing Baptist, a clear effort to distance herself from any suggestion that she follows the “teachings” of Scientology. The most likely reason for trying to “thread the needle” in this way is to preserve the California Democrat party’s relationship with the campaign cash spigot that Hollywood represents.
The Politico story continued:
Bass in the statement issued last weekend explained that she attends a Baptist church in South Los Angeles, and noted prominently that the new building opening was in her district. Bass went on to say she was trying to find an “area of agreement” with the church, which has faced allegations from defectors of intimidation, abuse and human trafficking.
“Back in 2010, I attended the event knowing I was going to address a group of people with beliefs very different than my own, and spoke briefly about things I think most of us agree with, and on those things — respect for different views, equality, and fighting oppression — my views have not changed,” Bass wrote in the statement posted to Twitter. “Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group.”
Karen Bass’s chances to be Joe Biden’s VP are sinking like a stone.
Biden finds himself in a pretty unenviable position — having to select the “least worst” option as a VP running mate in order to fulfill his pledge to select an African-American woman.
That really sends the “enthusiasm meter” off the charts.