Joe Biden is tanned, rested, and ready.
The former vice president is aggressively campaigning for Democrats in this year’s elections, and none too displeased that people keep asking him whether he’ll run for president. As recently as December he said, “I may very well do it,” and whenever the question of Democrats’ appeal to those magical white working-class voters comes up, someone inevitably says that what they need is a candidate like Uncle Joe (Did you know he’s from Scranton? Well he is!). Which leads many of the liberals I know to groan in agony.
But they shouldn’t worry. Biden, who will be 77 when the next Iowa caucuses roll around, obviously never stopped yearning to be president. He should run if he wants. But if he does, he’ll almost certainly fail to get the Democratic nomination, and the reasons why tell us a good bit about 2020 and presidential campaigns in general.
I should note that in the past I’ve praised Biden’s performance as vice president. But few things challenge a politician quite like the presidential primaries. Their persuasiveness, their charm, their stamina, their strategic acumen, their fundraising skills, their ability to avoid mistakes, all are tested in that extraordinary slog. Joe Biden stepped up to that test — and fell on his face. Twice.
Let’s review a little Biden history. In 1987, the eloquent, energetic young senator (he was 45 at the time) mounted his first run for president, and it didn’t go well. At a debate at the Iowa State Fair, Biden gave an inspiring closing statement about his hardy and noble ancestors who worked in the coal mines for 12 hours and then came up to play football, yet didn’t have the chance to go to college like he did. It turned out that the passage was lifted almost word-for-word from a speech by British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock — though Kinnock had said his coal mining forebears spent only eight hours a day in the mines, and the football he referred to was one played with a round ball. Other plagiarism instances surfaced, and in September 1987, Biden withdrew from the race, saying he was “angry at myself,” but also that “I am no less frustrated for the environment of presidential politics that makes it so difficult to let the American people measure the whole Joe Biden and not just misstatements I have made.”
Twenty years later, a more seasoned Biden gave it another shot. The response of Democratic voters was underwhelming, to say the least. In 2008 he placed fifth in the Iowa caucuses, garnering less than 1 percent of the delegates, then withdrew from the race the next day.
Which makes you wonder why anyone would think he’d be a particularly formidable candidate in 2020. Yes, many Democrats are concerned about their showing with white voters, and Biden is indeed a white guy. But if that’s all it took, then Barack Obama would never have been president. That’s not to mention …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics