NYT: Obama didn't want Biden to run in 2016

There’s a pretty interesting article in The New York Times looking at the relationship between former president Barack Obama and ex-VP Joe Biden and how it evolved over time. The two are apparently pretty close – despite originally being put together to make sure Democrats were unified in 2008. It’s an odd way of thinking because it appeared the Democrats were staunchly behind Obama, except for the Clinton faction.

The most curious part of the piece is the fact Obama did not want Biden to run for president in 2016, and how he went about getting the message to his VP.

The trick that summer of 2015 was finding a way to nudge Mr. Biden to stay out of the race without looking as if he was nudging Mr. Biden to stay out of the race.

By the time that Mr. Biden began weighing a campaign, the president had long since concluded that Hillary Clinton had the best chance of winning in 2016. Beyond that, Mr. Biden was awash in grief over the death of his son, hardly the state of mind for a grueling presidential marathon.

But Mr. Obama did not want to push and sought to give his vice president room to come to the decision himself. Over the course of weekly lunches, he gently pressed Mr. Biden on his thinking. Eventually, the president arranged for his own strategist to deliver a daunting assessment of the odds against a race. Mr. Biden got the message. “The president was not encouraging,” he later acknowledged.

Obama and Biden obviously know each other better than I do them – but it’s quite curious Obama handled the matter delicately, instead of just being honest. It could be because Obama is rather passive aggressive in his handling of things. Yet, Biden has always given off the air of being relatively blunt so one would think he’d prefer a straight assessment of the matter. It’s possible Obama didn’t want to damage his friendship with Biden but true friendships will last beyond the occasional hurt feelings.

The other odd thing is the fact Obama saw Hillary Clinton as the best candidate for 2016. She’s never been a good candidate because she’s simply unlikeable. Clinton – much like members of other political families – has the tendency to display pure, naked ambition by always looking at the current job as simply a step for the next one. It’s understandable, but not necessarily one which gains friends and allies who won’t stab you in the back at a moment’s notice. This notion she was the only person who could beat a Generic Republican was sheer lunacy and a pipe dream of epic proportions.

It definitely puts the arrogance of Democrats in 2016 on full display. The country was supposed to elect Clinton because she was going up against that mean, ole nasty Donald Trump (please note the heavy helping of sarcasm). The smugness and hubris showed during her campaign by barely even spending time in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania because she believed they were in the bag was just part of her downfall. The same lackadaisicalness almost cost Ted Cruz his Senate seat last year against Beto O’Rourke.

The resistance Obama showed to Biden 2016 is definitely giving Democrats a case of heartburn and what-ifitis.

Mrs. Clinton, of course, lost, and many wonder if Mr. Biden would have been the stronger candidate after all. As [Ben] Rhodes put it, “One of the great what-ifs of history for me and a lot of people is if not for the Beau Biden tragedy, what would have happened?”

Mr. Biden would like to know, too. In his own way, he is trying to find out now.

Biden definitely had the best personality of anyone on the Democratic side in 2016. He still has it for 2020. His policies are obviously not ones Americans should be adopting – especially those who believe in issues like justice reform and smaller, weaker government. Via Reason.

Biden also sought credit for expanding civil asset forfeiture—a practice that allows the government to seize your property even if you’ve been convicted of no crime.

“We changed the law so that if you are arrested, and you are a drug dealer, under our forfeiture statutes, you can, the government can take everything you own,” said Biden, referencing the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which the then-senator from Delaware sponsored alongside Sen. Strom Thurmond (R–S.C.).

“Everything from your car to your house, your bank account, not merely what they confiscate in terms of the dollars from the transaction you just got caught engaging in,” added Biden.

Biden will definitely have to explain if he’s had a change of heart in the years since and who knows how his hair-sniffing and wandering hands will play with voters. It may not because one Democrat I talked to seemed fine with a Biden candidacy – even with younger candidates like O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker. Of course, they all have baggage too from either a policy or personal standpoint.

It will be interesting to see if the Democrats’ wistfulness for 2016 leads them to send what they believe might be better candidates against Trumpthan Biden and, possibly, Bernie Sanders who were cast aside for Clinton. Of course, April 2015 polls had Jeb Bush leading over Scott Walker, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio and we all know how that turned out.