No Go Joe

Vice President Joe Biden announced yesterday that he won’t be running for President. His declaration of non-candidacy ended months of speculation, as well as the hope in some quarters that he might enter the race for the Democratic nomination as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.  Although Biden and his family apparently had decided they could commit to a campaign, after months of mourning the recent death of his son, he concluded that they simply did not have enough time to launch a successful bid.

I’m not quite sure why so many were urging Biden to run in the first place.  After all, he’s sought the Democratic nomination on multiple occasions in the past, without making much of a mark.  I suspect that the “second-string quarterback syndrome” was at play.  Any football fan knows that when the first-string QB is struggling, the back-up’s popularity skyrockets — because he’s not out on the field getting sacked and throwing picks.  With Hillary Clinton’s ever-shifting  approach to questions about her private email server, and Bernie Sanders widely seen as unelectable, Biden seemed like a viable alternative.

It’s interesting that so many people who were urging Biden to run, and so many pundits who wrote favorably of that possibility, focused on Biden’s enjoyment of campaigning, as opposed to his capabilities, judgment, decision-making, and other qualities that would come into play if he actually were elected.  The pro-Joe stories always seemed to strike the tone that Joe came across as a good guy who loved to press the flesh and eat corn dogs with the little guys out on the hustings.  Gaffe-prone, to be sure, but an ever-smiling, two-fisted Happy Warrior who could be friends with those across the aisle and whose politics were agreeable to the liberal/progressive base of the Democratic Party.

Of course, those articles drew a favorable contrast between Old Joe and Hillary Clinton, who is widely depicted as wooden, contrived, and joyless in her campaign appearances and willing to endure them only because they are a necessary path to her ultimate goal.  And Biden’s speech yesterday struck some of those same tones.  Without mentioning Clinton by name, he criticized those who characterized Republicans as “enemies” — as Clinton did in the recent Democratic candidate debate — rather than as “opponents.”

So now “Middle-Class Joe” is out, and Hillary remains in.  Today she’ll testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi about her role in the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. installation in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of the U.S. Ambassador and other Americans, and her public assertions in the aftermath of the attack.  With Biden out of the race, her performance today will get more attention than ever.

5 thoughts on “No Go Joe

      • To be honest WB, the most attractive thing about him is he is not the other two.
        He’d like to restore affordable post-secondary education and allow grads to refinance student loan debt at current interest rates. He’s opposed to government profiting from student loans. I know many parents who have borrowed from retirement and home equity to finance college so their kids wouldn’t have huge debt early in life. Those parents have jeopardized their own security in old age by subsidizing college and now their kids may not be able to afford to reciprocate.
        He’s opposed to income inequality and proposes to increase minimum wage-most businesses could afford the hike, in spite of the opposition. He also proposes 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, 2 weeks paid vacation, and 7 paid sick days- I hope he can make that happen without putting us out of business because I’d love a vacation or at least every weekend off.
        He’d like to reduce the size of large banks because too big to fail is bigger than ever. I agree with that.
        He’d like to initiate universal childcare, pre-K and healthcare. I would too but I’m not sure where the funding will come from.
        He has some appealing ideas for a more perfect union but he’s too old and he has Congress to contend with; we know they’ll never do anything, why should they? They’ve been doing nothing other than sponging off the taxpayer for so long that a precedent has been established whereby people run for Congress so they can enjoy the benefits of the ultimate welfare program.
        Must we continue to vote, WB, or do you think we’ve reached the point where we can sit it out?
        Our municipal taxes have increased to nearly $18.00 per thousand. Municipal government is bloated and many of the people on the payroll live in neighboring towns where taxes are significantly lower. Voter turnout for the budget was marginal-dismal.
        Government everywhere is way too big and intrusive without being particularly effective.
        Please give my best to Kish, hope you are both well and exceptionally happy!


      • EJ, as always, I think you have captured a lot of the frustrations that many voters feel. In particular, I think the student loan issue is a significant one — colleges seem to be gouging people who simply want to get an education, building massive endowments and raising tuition costs knowing that they will be funded through student loan programs. I think you raise a very provocative question — when do people who are fed up just stop voting?

        Like you, I was raised to think that voting is part of doing your civic duty. You like to think that you send a message by voting — but could a more meaningful message be sent by not voting? Old habits die hard.

        Liked by 1 person

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