Richard Wolffe in The Guardian:
What is Mike Pence? When the painted smile fades and the glazed eyes begin to focus on reality, is there an honest penny in him? For the next three months, the core question of whether Pence has any core is the only real target for America’s history-making vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. As much as the Trump campaign wants to scare the bejesus out of its old, white base with terrifying tales about Krazy Kamala, her own policy positions don’t really matter. Like every other veep candidate, Harris doesn’t deliver a voter bloc or state. She doesn’t displace the top of the ticket because veeps never do.
All that matters is one debate night, in Salt Lake City, in early October. And even that night will be quickly overshadowed by the second presidential debate a week later. How can the summer’s biggest political story – except for the pandemic, recession and racial justice protests – be so easily dismissed? To understand that dynamic, you need look no further than Joe Biden and Pence. Back in 2008, Barack Obama’s pick of Biden as his running mate was everything Harris is today: a counterweight to everything he wasn’t. Biden offered some older, whiter balance to the first African American nominee for president. He also undercut Obama’s main claim to that nomination: opposing the war in Iraq. Biden had voted for the invasion, even as he turned into a sharp critic of the war like every other Democrat. How did Obama overcome his policy differences with Biden on the campaign trail? He didn’t need to.