We have a full-blown billionaire space race going. Elon Musk is launching cars into space for … reasons. Richard Branson is now the first private astronaut — he rushed to beat Jeff Bezos. What to make of this? Where will this private space race go?

The technical achievement is not massive. The U.S. Air Force was operating this type of technology in the 1950s. Nor is Branson the first space tourist. Several rich people have paid for trips to space stations, and spent a good deal more time there. But the social achievement is not only rich guys owning space…


On Friday, July 2, President Biden and Vice President Harris had their weekly lunch. The conversation should have been interesting. Harris appears to be struggling, with a poorly received interview about the immigration crisis, being handed impossible to solve problems, and swirling rumors of disarray at the Office of the Vice President (OVP). All of this is raising deeper questions about whether Harris is ready to be the Democratic standard bearer in 2024 should Biden choose to not run for re-election.

Appears to be is the operative word. There isn’t too much substance to any of this, but in Washington…


It’s July 4, one of our oldest national holidays, but I keep thinking on our newest national holiday — Juneteenth — and how the two fit together nicely. July 4 thcelebrates the Declaration of Independence on the founding of the United States as a new nation. Juneteenth represents a small step in commemorating that our national dream of living up to our ideals is incomplete. There are many more and greater steps to be taken.

The historic consequence of the founding of the United States cannot be overstated. The concept of a government of the people, by the people, and…


In his PostEverything post the other day, Daniel Drezner argued against conventional wisdom, stating that global supply chains are fine. A year ago, we were all worried about toilet paper. More recently, the world watched as the ginormous container ship the Ever Given was stuck in the Suez Canal and now the world auto industry is slowed due to a shortage of $2 semiconductors.

Obligatory pic of shipping containers whenever supply chains are mentioned — with bonus snark.

Drezner, persuasively argues that none of this is that big of a deal. We survived the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 with just a bit of chafing. The Suez Canal blockage made for great memes…


Walter “Fritz” Mondale, who died last week, re-defined the vice presidency and for the most part his successors have followed the model he established. But there has been one, very specific deviation. Mondale counseled future VPs not to accept line assignments. But high-profile policy assignments have become standard for all of the vice presidents since Mondale. Vice President Harris taking on the immigration crisis is another instance in a well-trod path.

Do Mondale’s original objections continue to hold true? Does it make sense to give the VP these types of assignments? What types of assignments fit the bill for vice…


I never really thought I wanted to teach. I wanted to do brilliant research, write important things and be famous. As I drift (tumble) into middle-age, I have done some research and written some things. It is safe to say that I have not set the world on fire and am unlikely to do so. I’ve had a few modest brushes with fame, it is fun, but it also isn’t going to happen. (Unless a video of me hurting myself in an embarrassing way goes viral.)

Unrealistic goals, and frankly shallow ones — note I didn’t say anything about the…


Walter “Fritz” Mondale, who died today at 93, changed what it means to be Vice President — that is the story of my dissertation — and I was fortunate to interview Mondale about it. This may be his most notable legacy, but in his long public life, he did a great many good things.

Carter made him a partner and sought his counsel across the board. Carter fully incorporated the VP into the White House process, including access to all White House meetings for the VP and (at lower levels) the VP’s staff. Carter had the CIA’s Presidential Daily Brief…


We have our first article about the Vice Presidency of Kamala Harris. There isn’t much to say… yet.

The article title pretty much says it all.

This is actually all pretty standard. She is doing outreach to groups with which she has affinity, VPs always do that. What is more interesting is when VPs have input. Vice presidential influence flows from this relationship — without VPs can’t do much of anything.

The era of vice-presidential influence has tracked with the election of presidents with limited Washington experience ( this is my whole dissertation). These DC outsider presidents run into policy…


‘The vice presidency is a good gig’: Here’s some advice for Joe Biden’s 2020 running mate

Aaron Mannes, Opinion contributor Published 5:02 a.m. ET Aug. 2, 2020

You didn’t become vice president just for future opportunities. You want to make a difference now. There’s good news and bad news.

Congratulations on being selected as Joe Biden’s running mate. If the polls hold, you’ll be the first female vice president of the United States. (Don’t take too much credit for the win, or blame if you lose. shows that the vice presidential candidate doesn’t make much difference.)

The vice presidency is…

Aaron Mannes

AAAS Policy Fellow, formerly @UMIACS (specializing in international security), did a PhD on vice presidents, interested in a lot of stuff

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