Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On Biden

Does anyone know what the fuck Joe Biden is doing?

I haven't liked everything that Biden has done, but I like the guy more than I dislike him. I even think he would be an okay president. But what is the logic behind running against Hillary Clinton? If there's one person who agrees with Biden on almost everything it is Clinton. There is no policy differences driving a Biden challenge to Clinton in the primary as there are behind Bernie Sanders.

Maybe the logic is that Clinton comes with all the scandal baggage, and she does. But Biden comes with baggage too. Like the fact that a lot of Americans believe that he is stupid. I don't think he is stupid, just as I don't think a lot of the Clinton "baggage" has much substance behind it. But Biden has such a long history of saying dumb stuff off the cuff, it just has made him a bit of a joke. That is a lot bigger liability than all of the Clinton baggage put together.

And let's face it, Biden would lose to Clinton. Look at how he competed in 2008. He never cracked single digits whereas Clinton was the  one who would have have the nomination but-for Obama. Plus this time Clinton has had more than a year building her campaign organization and nailing down endorsements. If he started a campaign, Biden would have none of that and none of the money that Clinton has.

So Biden would have a really long shot at getting the nomination. Meanwhile, his primary campaign would be really bad for the democrats. I'm normally big on primary challenges and tend to believe (contrary to conventional pundit wisdom) that competitive primaries are good for the party's ability to compete in the general election by keeping the media focused on the party and building enthusiasm for the candidate. But with no real policy differences between Clinton and Biden, their campaigns would just be about personality. A campaign about personality rather than issues will inevitably get nasty. The last thing that Dems need is a nasty primary circus. The party all but has the presidency in the bag, due to the rate that people turn out for presidential races, and the Republican party's fierce determination to destroy its electoral chances with every key demographic group other than older white males.

On top of that, there's age to consider. Biden will turn 73 this fall, Clinton will turn 68. That's only a five year difference, but it is enough to affect whether we would get a potential two term or one term president. I would much rather have a potential two termer. I think most Democrats would.

ADDING: What Andrew Prokop said.