September 13, 2015

Just Say No, Joe

wired.com 
I'm a fan of Joe Biden, generally. I like his down to earth qualities, his ability to really connect with people, his passion, and his human streak, the one that causes (or allows) him to drop the occasional gaffe here and there, just like I do.

We here in the Central New York area have a special connection to him, as his first wife's family is from the area, and he went to SU's Law School, as did his beloved son Beau, who died earlier this year.  Joe Biden is our vice-president, not just the vice president.

When Beau Biden passed away, we all fell the loss. So young, so much promise, and yet one more tragedy for his father to bear. It was painful to see that loss etched on Joe's face, and to hear it in his voice, to see it in his physical countenance. And for any parent, having to bury a child must seem a fate almost worse than death itself.

That sadness obviously lingers, as the vice president goes through his "should I run or should I not?" process in public, right in front of us. Here's a comment from his interview with Stephen Colbert the other night.
Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they're willing to give it 110% of who they are. And I am -- as I said I'm optimistic, I'm positive about where we're going - but I find myself - you understand, it, sometimes it just overwhelms you.
Earlier, he noted
I can't look you straight in the eye now and say I know I can do it. The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run. The factor is, can I do it?  The honest to God answer is I just don't know.
And yet, speaking at a community college in Florida, in a statement that made it seem like he might actually get in the race, he reminded us that
People who aren't willing to risk failing never succeed. 
Beyond the personal issues, he's contemplating going up against the Clinton Machine, and the money, and the full wrath and fury that will come to anyone who seriously challenges her as the campaign goes on. She's playing softball now, with Bernie Sanders, and ignoring Marty O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee altogether (as is just about everyone else). But when push comes to shove, this kinder, gentler, softer haired Hillary will go by the wayside - it's only a matter of time.

Biden, not even in the race, is polling very well. But great polling numbers aside, I think it's too late and the public agonizing, while honest and transparent, would end up hurting, not helping him. Sadly, in this day and age, any political operative (from either party) who failed to turn some of those musings into anti-Joe soundbites would surely lose their job.

And, I think his entering the race would have been more meaningful and successful with Beau as trusted adviser, closest confidant, head cheerleader, and political compass than it would with Beau as the one who, by his absence, looms larger than life over his dad's shoulder.

I feel for Joe Biden and for his desire to continue serving after his term as VP is over, but I feel for him more as a grieving father than as a politician.  His grandchildren will need him, just as his children needed their grandparents after their mom and sister were killed in that horrible car accident all those years ago.  I want him to be there for them, as he was able to be there for his own kids, commuting from Delaware to DC, early in his career. That's simply not going to be possible if he's on the campaign trail, crisscrossing the country.

Please, Joe - be selfish, for yourself and your family. Just say no.