Friday, August 14, 2015


I don't know how believable this Politico story is, but if it's legit, it's discouraging:
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.

“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.”
Unlike me, BooMan likes the sound of it:
... 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, 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.
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.

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.


Phil Perspective said...

Gore came out this morning and said the rumors are crap. He has no interest in running. I doubt Biden is running. How is he going to be competitive with Hillary when he's so far behind in the money race? Besides, Hillary and Biden occupy generally the same policy space. this all seems like Democratic operatives who aren't part of Team Clinton trying to drum up business.

Tom Hilton said...

The only support I see out there for Biden is Obama fans who value his loyalty and closeness to the President, and figure he would be the closest we can get to a 3rd term. So if he were to run, and if he actually tried to distance himself from the President*, he would be alienating his own base within the party.

The whole thing makes no sense at all.

*Which worked so well for Gore.

Anonymous said...

Jeebus Steve - why are you letting yourself get played by the political media during the silly season?

Biden isn't running. If he were running he'd have a campaign apparatus up in Iowa already. He would have announced back in May (or earlier) so that he could get donors ramped up for him. Even if he were going to try to do it with nothing but small dollar donations and eschew big money donors, he would have needed to start working on it early. Hell to do THAT he probably would have had to announce his intent to run back in 2014 after the election ended (if not sooner).

He's not running. All of this "Biden is getting into the race" nonsense is lazy political reporters who really, really, really want to recycle their "Democrats in disarray!" stories and want to ignore the "Republicans in disarray!" story under their noses. Sanders vs. Hillary is a story they don't want to talk about - it's a story about big ideas and small, real, non-personal ideological differences between factions in the Democratic party. They'd rather write about Biden v. Hillary - a story that would be completely about personal animuses between the two candidates because their ideological differences are so minute you'd need an electron microscope to spot them.

They're lazy, it's August, and they don't want to do hard work. That's all this is. That's all the "Gore is getting ready to run!!!" story was yesterday/this morning too - bored reporters making shit up based on half-assed cocktail party conversations with "friends of friends" of the potential candidates in question.

Don't get played by this - this is nothing but fools in the media trying desperately to create a story that will be easy for them to report on instead of having to put in the shoe leather to tell a harder story (or give socialist Bernie Sanders more play - I think a number of the more conservative elements in the media are actually starting to worry about the old socialist and as much as they want a horserace they don't want him to have a shot of getting enough support to make an impact on the convention, let alone winning the thing outright.)

Victor said...

Well, this is better than summer shark scares.

aimai said...

the Booman/politico argument is so stupid it makes stupid look smart. A) Biden would be crazy to run--he's popular in inverse proportion to the power he has been perceived to wield. As soon as he attempts to capitalize on the VP to run for president all bets are off. B) The era of bipartisanship is over. OVER. No Democrats want it and no Republicans want it. Forget appealing to the mythical centrist voter--there are no such people anymore, other than at someone else's cocktail party. The Republican centrists--or moderates, or whatever they want to be called are being ground to dust right now as cuckservatives. They won't be crawling off the mat to pull the lever for Biden. And as for Democratic white men (the only people who are supposed to not want HRC)Fuck them. We don't need them.

petrilli said...

Biden won't get in, but if he does, he doesn't do well in primaries. He has already washed out of two of them for reasons that wouldn't cause Clinton to break a sweat. This one would be no different. A dying son's wishes are truly a heartache, but not reason enough the run for the office. Also, one term is a bad idea. A bad deal for the people. For that reason alone, I would switch from Bernie to Clinton in this primary if Biden got in. Then I would suggest she enlist Elizabeth Warren to help her hammer his ass from now through the convention on his history of defending preditory credit card companies, his craven bankruptcy reform bill and the human suffering his fealty to that industry has caused debt plagued students and homeowners caught in the gears of this depression.

Anonymous said...

And as for Democratic white men (the only people who are supposed to not want HRC)Fuck them. We don't need them.

I wouldn't go that far aimai - white male democrats have consistently made up about 40% of the Democratic vote (except for 1980 when the Anderson voters defected and 1984 when the Reagan voters defected - by '88 they were back up to 40% of the Democratic vote).

But white male democrats will come around for HRC if she's the nominee. Because HRC will not be dumb enough to not run a huge GOTV operation to make sure that they turn out.

Danp said...

Biden's only role is to be there in case some huge scandal or gaffe makes Hillary unelectable. Bernie Sanders and O'Malley are never going to win a general election.

Michael said...

Joe running for one term could be just as successful as James K Polk.

Doesn't make sense.

Sweet Sue said...

What aimai said.

petrilli said...

More directly to Booman's point, the strategy of promising bipartisanship and comity (with 300 elected poo flinging loons) in the interest of getting things done, is DOA in this Dem primary. Dead. I mean, what would that promise be? The Grand Bargain for real? So waitresses and forklift operators can retire at 70 instead of 68? When they should be retiring at 60/62? No thanks.

Joey_Blau said...

"successful as James K Polk.". So we will be taking the rest of northern mexico then? And prying vancouver lose from the canuks? And .. whatever else he did..