Next time you hear the commentariat pronounce Trump’s campaign dead or a Rubio surge about to begin, etc, remember that these same people, almost to a man, declared after Tuesday’s night debate that Hillary’s commanding performance almost certainly guaranteed that Biden would now pass on the race.
Sources tell FOX News Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry that Vice President Joe Biden will enter the presidential race. There has been heavy speculation that Biden would run for the Democratic nomination. It was unclear, however, if he would be willing to endure the campaign trail following the death of his son earlier this year.
Every tea leaf since then, from Biden phoning friends in the early primary states to one of his closest allies circulating a letter to Biden loyalists urging them to keep their powder dry, has suggested that Biden’s running. Now this:
I have a very good source close to Joe that tells me VP Biden will run for Prez
— Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) October 19, 2015
Boyle’s a freshman in Congress but it’s not crazy to think he might have a source close to Biden. He represents a district in Philadelphia, which means he moves in some of the same Democratic political circles as Delaware’s favorite son. Good catch by Charlie Spiering too: Boyle won his seat in Congress by defeating Marjorie Margolies in the Democratic primary of his district last year. Marjorie Margolies happens to be Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law. If there’s a pro-Biden, anti-Clinton faction in the Democratic caucus, it stands to reason he’s part of it.
We should know soon.
BREAKING: Joe Biden to announce whether he is running for president in 2016 or not in the next 48 hours, sources tell @NBCNews.
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) October 19, 2015
Why is there suddenly so much chatter about this week? Partly it’s a “sh*t or get off the pot” thing after so many teases over the past two months, but reportedly Team Biden thinks he can’t afford to pass on the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner this coming Saturday. That’s where Obama made his first big splash in 2007; two months later, he went on to win the caucuses. Biden could afford to skip the debate last week knowing that there’d be more to come, but this is his last, best opportunity to electrify Iowans who dislike Hillary but aren’t sold on Sanders. For once, the Biden whispers aren’t idle speculation. If he is running, we really should know this week.
Big question, then: Why is he getting in now after Hillary had such a strong debate? You could understand him jumping in if she’d been terrible, creating a vacuum on the center-left, but if anything she gave wavering Dems a reason to have new confidence in her. And yet he’s undeterred. How come? I’d bet it has to do with Bernie Sanders’s ferocious whiff on Hillary’s e-mail scandal. If Sanders had come after her hard on that, it would have proved that he was prepared to run a “good government versus corrupt establishment” race. The fact that he passed suggests that he’s trying to move Hillary to the left, not win the race himself — which means the “good government crusader” role is now Biden’s for the taking. It also means that the primary could end up being extraordinarily nasty. More so than any policy differences between them, the crux of Biden’s message will necessarily be that we can’t trust Hillary with power, to which she’ll respond by trotting out Biden’s old plagiarism scandals, his many dubious verbal gaffes, etc. Somehow we’re going to end up with a race between two people with something like 70 years of Washington experience between them arguing over which of them is the true voice of populist discontent with Washington sleaze. Can’t wait.