Biden is in a strange position. He’s leading all the polls, but that’s mainly because of name recognition. People seem split on whether he’s actually going to run, as he has twice before, though I think he will. People (and by “people” I mean “liberal-left insider-junkie types”) are not split, however, on whether he can win the nomination. Everybody thinks he has no chance.

His problem is precisely that he dates to that chummy era, which was also an era when the Democratic Party was a very different animal. Actually, he goes back at least two animals ago. He was elected to the Senate in 1972! When George McGovern was the nominee. The Biden of 1972 ran on some positions that have circled back into fashion.

But then he grew in seniority and stature during the years when the Democrats were charging to the center on issues like crime. Some of his old criminal-justice remarks are going to dog him, as will his chummy decision during the Clarence Thomas hearings to not call as witnesses women who could have corroborated Anita Hill’s testimony. This past, say the aforementioned people, will doom him.