Thursday, August 13, 2015

Whither Uncle Joe?

Progressive politician, outspoken campaigner, Irish Catholic, septuagenarian, a fixture of Washington - Joseph Biden, the Vice President of the United States, is sort of a Martin O'Malley/Bernie Sanders hybrid, the potential 2016 presidential candidate that O'Malley supporters and Sanders supporters could conceivably rally behind in an attempt to stop Hillary Clinton.
The avuncular Biden, who turns 73 in November, has run for President twice.  When he was in his mid-forties, he made a bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination but withdrew from the contest due to a plagiarism scandal.  (It later turned out he had a brain aneurysm requiring surgery, so the withdrawal from the 1988 campaign in all likelihood saved his life.)  He made another failed bid twenty years later, ultimately accepting the offer to be Barack Obama's running mate.  While not as liberal as O'Malley or Sanders - he supports capital punishment, for example - he does support legalized abortion, gun control, and public education.  He also comes across as a regular guy, a guy who made it to the top the hard way and never forgot where he came from.
But a presidential campaign - now?  With Hillary so far ahead and Sanders already nipping at her heels, along with O'Malley waiting for a moment to move into the spotlight?  It's pretty late in the game for start a presidential campaign now.  Biden's son Beau, who died of brain cancer earlier this year at 46, supposedly told his father to run just before his death, but even with that blessing, Biden is at a strategic and organizational disadvantage.  Also, Sanders is in such a strong position (having just overtaken Hillary in the latest New Hampshire primary poll), and O'Malley is so determined to move forward, that it's hard to imagine Sanders supporters moving to Biden at this stage, not to mention O'Malley supporters - all three of us.
It'll be interesting if Biden gets in to the race.  But I'm not expecting it.

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