Joe Biden’s endless rumination about running for president

Ed Kilgore, a longtime political commentator and the former policy director for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, is one such Democrat who has doubts about Biden 2020. He should “give it a pass … unless the field is gridlocked and he is the object of a genuine draft,” Kilgore told me. “The revival of memories of his chairmanship of the [Senate] Judiciary Committee—with such lowlights as the committee’s treatment of Anita Hill, and Biden’s own championship of the [1994] Crime Bill—makes me feel even more strongly that it’s not his time. I also think Democrats would be wise to run someone younger than Trump.”

Kilgore put his finger on perhaps the biggest pieces of Biden baggage going into 2020.

In the wake of #MeToo and the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, he’d face an energized female electorate that would perhaps not look kindly on his tenure during the Hill hearings. Older women might remember that he refused to seat a panel of sexual-harassment experts, and that he allowed Clarence Thomas to speak twice, before and after Hill’s testimony. Younger women might not know the full history, but Biden’s female competitors would be likely to fill in the gaps. And John Zogby, a veteran pollster who believes that Biden would be a strong candidate, nevertheless concedes that, given current cultural attitudes, Biden “likes to rub women’s shoulders a bit uncomfortably.”