Vice President Joe Biden’s “will he or won’t he” run for the presidency is a riddle wrapped in a mystery swathed in a brainteaser all put together by the firm of Nigma and Brown. Biden may be getting closer to deciding “Joementum is real!” because CNN reports he had a talk with International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold A. Schaitberger on a potential presidential run.
Schaitberger declined to comment on the call, saying he does not discuss private conversations. But the source said Biden talked about campaign strategy with Schaitberger and indicated a final decision on whether he would run for president is imminent.
The source described the call as one of many the vice president is making to potential backers of a Biden candidacy.
It isn’t the first time Biden appeared to get closer to saying, “I’m in!” Multiple outlets reported last week Biden chief of staff Ted Kaufman outlined his campaign strategy and basically told people to, “Get ready.”
If he runs, he will run because of his burning conviction that we need to fundamentally change the balance in our economy and the political structure to restore the ability of the middle class to get ahead..An optimistic campaign. A campaign from the heart. A campaign consistent with his values, our values, and the values of the American people. And I think it’s fair to say, knowing him as we all do, that it won’t be a scripted affair — after all, it’s Joe.”
That last part might be the most entertaining of them all. The picture of Biden riding in backwards on a white horse while playing a kazoo and clutching an American flag is something I want to see for entertainment value. It’s Crazy Uncle Joe, so why wouldn’t that be fun? This doesn’t mean Biden should run or that his possible entry into the race should be welcomed by conservatives and libertarians as another “Operation Chaos.” Nick Gillespie wrote at The Daily Beast how Biden really isn’t that good of a candidate or really a person.
During his failed presidential campaign in 1988, Biden had to cop not only to getting an F during his law school days for cheating but to having ripped off speeches by John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey. Even more amazingly, Biden cribbed biographical details from British Labour politician Neil Kinnock, including lines about ancestors who “would come up [from coal mines] after 12 hours and play football.” What kind of politician plagiarizes not simply other people’s word but other people’s lives? That’s not a storybook, man, that’s a nutjob.
Then there’s his actual politics, which are stuck in the past. During the 2012 campaign, Biden told every audience of seniors he could find, “There will be no changes in Social Security.” The problem with that—and his similar promise regarding Medicare— is that such programs are flatly unsustainable absent massive infusions of payroll tax dollars, most of which will inevitably be paid by the relatively young and relatively poor.
Of course, given the other candidates in the Democratic field he might be the best of them all. Hillary Clinton isn’t exactly likable (and there’s the entire Clintonemail thing hanging over her) and Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialism is certainly appealing to some people, but not everyone (and thank Odin not everyone is clamoring for it). Biden might be the one to actually bridge that divide, especially if he says “Elizabeth Warren is my VP pick.” That might actually help the GOP if they’re able to bring back the “one heartbeat away” narrative and point out a Warren VP would be as bad as a Sanders presidency. It just depends if the undecideds would go for it.
There’s also the entire “Obama third term” strategy. There were Republicans who supported George H.W. Bush because he was Reagan’s vice president. Democrats portrayed John McCain as another George W. Bush, who’d keep doing what Bush had been doing. The “third term” strategy is risky, but it depends on the opposing candidate. If the GOP puts up someone like Jeb Bush or Donald Trump or Marco Rubio or Dr. Ben Carson, would that be enough to sway undecideds who aren’t happy with Obama, but aren’t necessarily fans of Republicans? Or would it be better to consider Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, or Dr. Rand Paul? Would the last three draw in more potential voters than the former in the general election? This is where ideas come into play. If whoever the GOP candidate can prove they would be radically different from whoever the Democratic candidate is, and also be trustworthy, then the GOP might be able to take back the White House. But it’s only if there’s a stark difference. If it’s just statist versus statist-lite, then people aren’t going to turn out to the polls at all. They’ll just stay home, shrug, and hope next time will be better.
That’s kind of the risk a Joe Biden candidacy brings to the race. It would certainly make the Democratic primary more interesting, along with the debates. Especially if Biden were to grab Clinton by the shoulders like he did the wife of Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Of course, that might be even more creepy.