If Vice President Joe Biden makes the leap into the Democratic presidential race, he could promise that he would serve just one term in the White House, journalist and author Carl Bernstein said Friday.Unlike me, BooMan likes the sound of it:
“And one thing that I keep hearing about Biden is that if he were to declare and say, because age is such a problem for him if he does, I want to be a one-term president. I want to serve for four years, unite Washington. I’ve dealt with the Republicans in Congress all my public life,” Bernstein told CNN’s “New Day.”
... if you're running for Obama's third-term, you need to explain what's going to be different. I don't think Hillary can make a plausible case for that unless she can win so big and has such big coattails that the Republicans are ushered out of power in Congress. It's not impossible for her to pull that off, but Biden needs his own argument.So according to BooMan, Biden, if he says this, will be promising to unite Washington, making the same promise Obama made; he'll probably fail, as Obama did, but that was cool, because Obama won two terms.
So, his argument is basically that he'll serve just one term and he'll use it to bridge the divide.
It doesn't strike me as doable or even necessarily desirable, but as a campaign message it seems spot on to me.
And, yes, I know that Obama paid a price for making a promise he couldn't keep. He paid a price for trying to keep a promise that could not be fulfilled. But, guess what?
He won. And then he won again.
So, if this is Biden's plan to explain why he's needed and Hillary is not, it's a pretty good one.
But what if that's not the intended message? That's what has Ed Kilgore concerned:
Obama ... aimed at and largely failed to execute an appeal to grass-roots Republicans to force their leaders to come to terms with him. In Biden’s case, it would be all about Bipartisanship From the Top that would, as Bernstein puts it, “unite Washington.” Hell, he might as well choose Joe Lieberman as his running-mate and make Ron Fournier his communications director.Right -- would the plan be to meet the extremely right-wing Republicans halfway? Because significant concessions to their demands would push foreign and domestic policy very, very far to the right. And, of course, after that Republicans would just demand more and more.
In a campaign of this kind, Biden's campaign message would effectively be: Hillary Clinton's too polarizing to do this. Barack Obama has been too polarizing to do this. But I'll do it. In other words, it would be disrespectful to Clinton and Obama. I'm not sure how this plays to voters who are still very loyal to Obama, and who probably have good feelings about Biden precisely because he's been loyal to Obama as well.
But this could just be Biden pals blowing smoke -- and if Biden does run and does adopt this message, he might not really have any plans to follow the Overton window as far to the right as the Republicans have tried to drag it. Still, I'm wary.
I do think Biden will run -- too many stories are suggesting that he's interested, whereas the Al Gore rumor seems based solely on the desire of Gore's pals to run him, rather than his own wishes. But we'll see.