February 18, 2019

The Update Desk: Just Say No, Joe

Back in September 2015, when Joe Biden was agonizing over mounting a primary challenge against Hillary Clinton, I wrote a post suggesting that he not do it.

I thought he shouldn't, for a number of reasons including these.
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...
Please, Joe - be selfish, for yourself and your family. Just say no. 
And here we are again with headlines telling us that our Papa Joe is agonizing about getting into the 2020 race, at the age of 78, against what's looking like a pretty big - and relatively young - field of generally progressive opponents.

Here's a little bit of an article in the WaPo on Valentine's Day on how this all looks for Biden - and I have to say, to some degree it looks very similar to 2016:
Joe Biden was going to decide whether to run for president by the end of 2018. That deadline slipped. Just after New Year's he said he would decide "soon." Mid-January came and went with no decision. By the end of January?
"We'll make the decision soon," he said at the time. 
Now into mid-February, with a burgeoning field of Democratic candidates, Biden is still on the fence, neither in nor out in a lingering state of political limbo. Some potential staffers have already defected, and some of his supporters worry the prolonged indecision could begin to threaten his chances. 
The article goes on to note that
Those close to Biden insist he is approaching the race less tactically - thinking about campaign staffers or early-state visits - and more thematically, on whether he can bring together factions in the party and convince primary voters that he's the most electable against president Trump.
On the same day, this article appeared on The Hill's website, wildly contradicting the WaPo article.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is almost certain to enter the 2020 presidential race, according to sources familiar with his plans. 
"It's pretty clear he's jumping in," said one source with direct knowledge of the would-be campaign's moves, adding that Biden is "95% there."
In recent days, Biden has sought to build support from grass-roots activists and is specifically asking donors for their help in the lead-up to an announcement, according to sources. 
In phone conversations, Biden has been making the case for why he'd be the best candidate in what is already a crowded field.  
This take on things suggests that Biden had "a great midterm" and that, according to a mega-donor who has talked with Joe,
He has been the most popular surrogate during the midterms and one of the only surrogates that can play in all 50 states, and that has given him a lot of confidence that he can do well in a national election. He can campaign everywhere and that's certainly what many people would say is an incredible strength for him.
That he's winning in the polls, which he is, is more an homage to the past than a predictor of the future.That he may be the only candidate who can beat Trump, but probably wouldn't make it out of the primaries, is awful.

That I don't believe that Joe Biden is the face of the Democratic Party, even though I honestly wish he was, makes me sad.

I don't have a choice but to say, again, Just Say No, Joe.

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