Sunday, August 23, 2015

Biden His Time?

Will he? Won't he? Should he?
As speculation about a Joe Biden Democratic primary campaign heats up, it's a little hard to parse what it means, and how he perceives the playing field and where he fits into it. I certainly think he's got an electability problem, in the same way Bernie Sanders does - albeit for somewhat different reasons.  He's a lifetime professional pol, a longtime Democratic legislator, a government insider with a lifetime of public service. In public life his history is a compelling story, but his tendency to say off the wall and sometimes off color things has given him a reputation for a kind of professional un-trustworthiness that would haunt his campaign.

I suspect he would position himself ideologically between Clinton and Sanders, offering a more liberal yet still 'mainstream' option. He would pull votes from Ms. Clinton - probably less so from Sanders, whose political base is the left wing of the party. Since it's hard to imagine someone running from Sanders' left, he'll keep the support he has - he's just unlikely to be able to expand it. Certainly Biden would benefit from those Americans who are uncomfortable with a woman in the Oval Office - we are, among other things, a fairly misogynist nation, and Biden would be the choice for Democrats who fall into that category.

He'd essentially be offering an extension to the Obama administration, just as Bush the Elder offered another term for the Reagan White House. Those who understand how much Obama remarkably got done in the face of the worst obstruction in decades would find that desirable, while those who are uncomfortable Obama's foreign policy, his support for the intelligence community, his war on whistle-blowers and his relentless pursuit of bipartisan solutions might be less pleased with the thought.

At the end of the day, I suspect he'll decide not to run. He can't win, and he'll only weaken the Clinton brand - she'll still be the nominee, but she'll arrive at the position after a more divisive, expensive primary season. If he does end up running, however, it leaves open an intriguing question - who would Barak Obama end up endorsing?

1 comment:

  1. I suspect he would position himself ideologically between Clinton and Sanders, offering a more liberal yet still 'mainstream' option.

    Biden did vote for BAPCPA, a horrible piece of legislation that Hillary voted against.

    I believe they are two peas from the same pod. The Wall St. wing of the party is worried that one of their peas is damaged by the email thing, so they're pondering hedging the bet.