Monday, December 31, 2012

Biden 2016 - or not

These days, presidential politics never take a break. The instant Barack Obama won a second term to office, Campaign 2016 kicked off. And Vice President Joe Biden has hinted pretty openly that he's considering running for president.

On the last day of the year, Vice President Biden swooped in and took control of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, and he bargained with Republicans in Congress to strike what seems to be a fairly good compromise for all sides. As President Obama's terrible swift sword, Biden shined tonight, and this will certainly be a boost to his presidential chances.

I'm not so sure that's a good thing.

Let me say this: I'm biased. I love Joe Biden. He's one of my favorite politicians, and probably the most likable politician of my generation. He's a working class guy who can connect with people, and he's the kind of guy who has the right character to be president.

And, I happen to agree with him on almost every issue.

So what's not to like as a presidential candidate? Three things.

One: Biden is probably too old to be a viable presidential candidate. He's 70 currently; by the 2016 election he'll be 74, and if he were to serve two full terms he would leave office at age 82. By comparison, Barack Obama will be 55 when he leaves office. Ronald Reagan was 77 when he moved out of 1600 Penn.

Two: He's gaffe prone. I could care less about that. For me, I think his gaffes make him more likable. But Fox News would absolutely crush him in the campaign, and regardless of whether their arguments make any damn sense, they do carry weight, and they do make a difference in the electorate.

Three: There's a Democrat with a better chance to win. Hillary Clinton would almost certainly win the nomination if she chooses to run. And if Biden chooses to run against her, President Obama would be in a difficult position, and would probably have to refrain from supporting either candidate until it's too late to matter.

I honestly think Biden won't run if Clinton throws her hat in the ring. If he steps aside, instead of diving in head-first into the election, Biden will have the ability to stay above the fray and cement his place as one of the best vice presidents in recent history (especially if he can make some moves on gun control).

And if Clinton were to win in 2016, Biden would have the privilege of a direct connection to the guy who I'm predicting would be the next big thing in presidential politics: Beau Biden, the Vice President's oldest son, a hard-charging attorney general in Delaware and a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq.

Beau Biden could make a terrific president. And Joe Biden's legacy would be secure long before then.

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