Jonah Goldberg

Not counting rumors that Anthony Weiner's marriage has hit a rocky patch, it may be the worst-kept secret in politics: Joe Biden wants to be president.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the vice president's inner circle is swabbing the decks, battening down the hatches and hoisting the mainsails for USS Bidenpalooza 2016. "Everyone involved in his world," a Democratic official told the Journal, "is engaged in taking all the steps that make sense to prepare for a run, if he does run." Biden's people are apparently willing to go for it even if the allegedly inevitable nominee, Hillary Clinton, decides to run.

Why is this happening?

It's a difficult question to boil down to a single variable, given the swirling maelstrom of egos, agendas and issues at play. Still, one answer does seem to cover the waterfront: because ours is a just and generous God. From my admittedly selfish perspective, a Biden candidacy would be great for everybody -- and by everybody I mean people who would like to see the Democratic Party descend into a chaotic food fight.

Indeed, while most of the punditocracy is obsessed with turning the mostly trivial sniping between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) into proof of a bloody civil war on the right, the Democrats are poised to descend into a family squabble of historic proportions that will amount to a riveting political reality show.

The important distinction between the GOP's internal disagreements and the Democrats' is that the Republicans are divided over issues and philosophy. Where should we make trade-offs between national security and domestic liberty? What is the proper role of government in domestic affairs? How do we cut the Gordian knot of immigration?

Almost all of the Democratic Party's disagreements revolve around tactics, personalities, loyalties and aesthetics rather than principles. (The big exception is the fight over NSA domestic surveillance, which divides both parties.) And that means things will get personal -- fast.

Ask a loyalist why Clinton should be the nominee or president, and the response invariably boils down to some claim that she "deserves" it: She's a woman! She put up with so much! It's her turn!

The case for Biden also often boils down to entitlement: He's been around a long time; he's the vice president so it's his turn; what else are you gonna do with him?

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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