Sunday, October 18, 2015

Biden His Time

Vice President Joe Biden has been about to announce his decision to run for President in 2016 any day now for six months.  Even the wait for Adele's third album to be released (relax, I'll get to that later) has been less frustrating.
This past Monday, a Biden candidacy seemed very plausible, with Hillary Clinton foundering in the polls, Bernie Sanders surging and Martin O'Malley going nowhere.  As of Wednesday morning, after the first Democratic debate, the only thing that hadn't changed was the state of O'Malley's candidacy; the corporate media were quick to anoint Hillary as the clear winner (though I'm still having a hard time trying to find anything she said that would justify such a conclusion) and arrogantly dismiss every other candidate, and she's pulled ahead of Sanders in one poll in New Hampshire.  Suddenly, Biden was no longer in demand to run.
Now Uncle Joe is making insinuations that he's ready to run for President, having called several Democratic strategists and asking them how he should enter the campaign and contacting union leaders on the matter as well.  Biden confidante Ted Kaufman, in an e-mail message to Biden supporters, said that the Vice President is seriously weighing his options and considering how heavily it would weigh on his family (a family still reeling from the death of Biden's son, who wanted his dad to go for the White House), but that he's ready to get in and run "an optimistic campaign . . . a campaign from the heart. . .  a campaign consistent with his values, our values, and the values of the American people."  Kaufman also added that such a campaign "won't be a scripted affair," noting Biden's penchant for offhand remarks.  (Think of Biden as Donald Trump with a brain.)
The decision can't come soon enough.  While Hillary Clinton is leading in the national polls among Democratic voters, she still doesn't have a majority yet. Sanders may have peaked, though he could still win in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, and O'Malley, caught between Sanders' surge and Biden's indecision, has been unable to gain much if any momentum.  The campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is in a holding pattern, and a Biden decision to run could still shake things up.  But with many Democrats more confident in a Clinton candidacy after Tuesday's debate,  it might be - might be - too late for that.  With filing deadlines for primaries and caucuses approaching and Mrs. Clinton scheduled to testify in yet another Benghazi hearing on October 22, Biden has to make a decision quickly.
Someone told me that O'Malley may be doomed if Biden gets in.  I have a hunch that this is true.  Given that their politics and backgrounds are similar, Marty would likely be an even bigger long shot than he already is, and thus have no shot.  If Biden doesn't run, then Marty still has some room to break out of the also-ran pack.  (I don't remember if or whether Biden supported anyone for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination after he himself dropped out of that race, but if he were to stay out this time, he could give O'Malley a real shot in the arm by supporting him, but that's not really likely.)  Anyway, I'm still supporting O'Malley if Biden gets in.  I sent an e-mail to O'Malley's Web site asking him to run, and  now that he's in, I am not going abandon him.  The only thing Marty can do to make me switch to another candidate is to quit the race.  And what happens next may hang on what Biden ultimately does.
Come on, Uncle Joe - er, Mr. Vice President . . . make up your mind already.  

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