Well, I can think of a few, but let’s allow Joe Biden to make his case first. CNN’s Kate Bolduan interviewed the Vice President yesterday and asked whether Biden planned to toss his hat in the ring. So far, Biden says he has been racking his brain but can’t come up with a reason not to run:
Vice President Joe Biden said Friday he couldn’t think of a good reason he should not run for president and will likely make a decision in the summer of 2015.
“I can’t,” Biden told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. “There may be reasons I don’t run. But there is no obvious reason, for me, why I think I should not run.”
To a question about his timeline for a decision, he said: “Probably, realistically a year this summer.”ADVERTISEMENT
Biden said the decision would be based on whether he is the best person qualified to focus on two issues he cares about: helping the middle class and creating a foreign policy where “we not only are known for the power of our military but the power of our example.”
He described himself as sometimes too optimistic, but said the country has so much just within its reach.
“There is so much that is just within our grasp,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I am the only guy who can do it. But if no one else, I think, can and I think I can, then I’d run. If I don’t, I won’t.”
Well, here are a few reasons. One, he’s been part of an establishment that’s going to be highly unpopular at the end of this term, and which barely stayed in power in 2012. ObamaCare may do the near-impossible and hand off the White House to Republicans in 2016, and if Democrats are foolish enough to argue for a continuation of the administration with a 74-year-old ancient Washington pol at the top of the pyramid, they’ll all but guarantee it. Biden doesn’t have a natural base of support within his party, and certainly doesn’t broaden it.
On top of that, Biden’s gaffes have a much more ridiculous flavor to them than Barack Obama’s do, and if he’s out front on a campaign, we’ll see plenty of them. Even without outright gaffes, his “humble bragging” about himself is so old-fashioned as to almost sound like self-parody. He tells Bolduan, “I know people say I’m too optimistic” as if it’s a character flaw rather than his selling card, to just use an example from this interview. Why not lament that people think you’re too handsome, too?
However, don’t sell Biden entirely short, either. He knows how to campaign, and knows how to connect to the old-time Democratic constituencies of working-class Americans and unions. His convention speech in 2012 was the most effective of the event, for instance, and an example of how Biden can still connect. If Hillary Clinton doesn’t run — the chances of which approach zero — Biden may be the last Democrat with national standing who can connect to the pre-New Left Democrats.
Biden won’t win the nomination even if he does run, so this is more academic and amusing than anything else. I’d guess that he’s going to give it a shot, and I’m sure he thinks he’s building enthusiasm rather than puzzlement by dropping these “hints” along the way.