Joe Biden: Let's face it, Joe Biden would have made the best president

Lotta Democrats watching this clip, ruminating about the corrupt loser they’re about to be saddled with, and thinking, “A-yup. But maybe he shouldn’t say it out loud.

Anyone doubt that Biden would have been the toughest match-up for Trump in a general election? Hillary looks so lame in failing to put Sanders away, and her early attacks on Trump have been so hamfisted, that lately I’ve begun to wonder if nominating Bernie really would be a stronger hand for them to play. That’s a hard argument to make: His rosy general-election polling is to some degree a product of many voters not knowing him and his tax plans would be a major, major problem for him once Trump started drilling down. Still, he’s a genuine populist phenomenon and his fans have been generous with their money. He would neutralize Trump’s “outsider” shtick; it’d be the billionaire demagogue versus the class-warrior grandpa. He’s not remotely as ruthless as Hillary, but I’m not so sure getting into a knife fight with Trump is the way to beat him. Clinton has enough support among Democratic opinion-makers and, more importantly, far greater support among minority voters that she’s still arguably a stronger choice than Sanders, but I do think it’s arguable.

Is it arguable, though, that Biden would be stronger than either of them? Biden’s not as ostentatious a populist as Sanders but his blue-collar authenticity has always been key to his charm. He’s the handpicked VP of the first black president; he’d be rock solid with Hillary’s minority base. He’d have near-universal name recognition, just as Hillary does, but unlike Hillary he’s well-liked. He has 40 years’ worth of connections to the party establishment to help bankroll his candidacy. Trump would attack him as a buffoon, but (a) the daffy “Uncle Joe” barbs have never hurt Biden much and (b) um, Trump’s in no position to be calling anyone else a buffoon. Biden would run rings around him on policy at the presidential debates. Trump’s best line of attack would be to tie him to Obama and pronounce O the worst president ever, but Hillary’s going to get that treatment too — and judging by Obama’s job approval nowadays, much of the public wouldn’t agree. A Trump/Clinton election might well end up becoming a question of which candidate is sleazier, which is no sure thing for Democrats when Hillary’s the nominee. A Trump/Biden election would probably end up becoming a question of whether voters prefer Obama’s vision of America to Trump’s. Demographic reality being what it is, Biden’s a likely winner.

Makes me wonder why he’d go so far here as to say that he planned on running and continues to believe he would have made the best president. Is he nudging Democrats just in case the DOJ comes back with an indictment against Hillary? Bernie fans will expect him to get the nod if her campaign is fatally wounded but here’s Biden giving them a plan B. Would Democratic delegates dare risk alienating Sanders fans by passing him over for Uncle Joe?

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