Just how bad off is the Democratic bench for 2020 at this point?
Despite repeatedly telling reporters that he was most likely moving on to other things, the idea of Joe Biden riding to the rescue of the currently dysfunctional Democratic Party in the next presidential election is far from going out of style. The latest round of will he or won’t he popped up again this weekend when it was revealed that the former Vice President will be appearing in New Hampshire tonight. And you know what that means, right? (CNN)
Joe Biden’s return to this early primary state of New Hampshire already has Democrats buzzing: Does he have one more race left in him?
The former vice president is slated to speak at the famous McIntyre-Shaheen dinner Sunday night, in a state that the 74-year-old has come to know well through two unsuccessful presidential campaigns of his own and two more as a running mate.
Biden has hardly shied away from the public spotlight since leaving office over three months ago, after having spent eight years as Obama’s deputy and 36 years as a US senator from Delaware prior to that. And he’s done little in the last 100 days to persuade his supporters that he has completely shut the door to a 2020 presidential run.
Yes, Biden is going to speak at an event in New Hampshire. And there’s no question that the Granite State remains an important first stop for people considering a White House run. But those two facts rarely add up to any absolute conclusion you could point to absent a clear statement of intent from the presumed candidate. Back in February of 2014 I was out in New Hampshire covering a GOP event where one of the featured speakers was Joe Scarborough. That immediately spawned a flood of headlines about how Joe was testing the waters for a 2016 bid of his own. I wound up interviewing Joe there and he joked about it, but he was doing a book signing for his latest tome and been invited to show up at a place with a lot of conservatives in attendance. Why would he not go? It didn’t wind up meaning anything.
Similarly, Joe Biden had already promised to remain “involved” in Democratic Party politics and try to help out where he could. If somebody wants him to show up and lend his name to an event like the McIntyre-Shaheen dinner I’m sure he’s happy to do it. But it’s an event primarily designed to raise money for and support the state Democratic Party. Does that mean we should be reading any more into it?
As I’ve said here in the past, Biden would have been a formidable opponent if he’d managed to secure the nomination and probably could be again in the future. Say what you will about “crazy Uncle Joe” and his awkward sense of humor and notable gaffes, but he’s a generally scandal-free politician with a long track record in both legislative and executive offices. He’s also just a fundamentally likeable guy. But he’s going to be 78 years old by the time the next election rolls around. He and his wife are busy with their new foundation dealing things like a cure for cancer. I’m just not seeing it.
The Democrats need to go back to the drawing board and find somebody younger with some star power who can hold on to enough support from the most radical left fringe of their party (which is currently running the show) while not going entirely over into crazytown. A younger Joe Biden would probably have been perfect for that challenge, but at this point I’d be shocked to see him get back on that horse again.