Biden 2016: Only One Term?

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 17, 2015 11:12 AM
Biden 2016: Only One Term?

Some in the vice president’s inner circle are indicating that Mr. Biden is leaning towards saying “yes” to a third presidential run (via Politico):

Biden proxies have also homed in on rich supporters who could help finance a run through a super PAC — in particular, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a past top donor to both Joe and Beau Biden, whom Democratic operatives noted has not yet given to the Hillary Clinton-backing Priorities USA Action despite previous support for the former secretary of state. Biden allies also have set their sights on Geocities founder and tech investor David Bohnett, a longtime Democratic donor. Angelos didn’t return a call for comment.

[…]

Biden’s aware of the pressure to make a decision, the sources say. The final call — as well as a discussion on particulars, like chatter about making a pledge to limit a presidency to one term — is expected to be made at a meeting of the vice president’s closest circle of advisers at his home in Wilmington, Delaware; they are likely to include chief of staff Steve Ricchetti, Mike Donilon, former Sen. Ted Kaufman, Larry Rasky and Tom Donilon, along with Biden’s son, Hunter, and his oldest and closest political adviser, his sister Valerie Biden Owens. Ricchetti and Mike Donilon have been involved with many of the discussions going on already. Notably, Ron Klain — the former Biden chief of staff who’s attended meetings like these in the past — is already working with the Clinton campaign on debate preparations.

[…]

People dismissed it for reasons I don’t really truly understand, but he has a core following of people,” said one former Biden staffer who is in contact with the vice president and his team. “He has support out in the community. He relates to people.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s circle has identified what they see as their potential voting blocs: Reagan Democrats, Jews, an LGBT base that largely credits him with pushing President Barack Obama into supporting gay marriage, and Rust Belt voters. They believe he’ll benefit from better stump skills than any of the other candidates running.

[…]

“If he decides to go, he will win in South Carolina,” said Columbia-area state Rep. James Smith. “It’s not happened quite overnight, but we’ve got very, very strong support from all across South Carolina, from all communities — faith, business, elected and community leaders who have been long-standing Biden supporters and are ready when he and [wife] Jill decide they’re ready to make a run for it.”

After being in touch with Biden’s inner circle through the week, Smith said, “I think he’s getting closer to saying yes, I really do.”

So, Biden taking a stand in South Carolina? Sounds a bit risky and brings back memories of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani trying to get things going by banking on Florida in the 2008 GOP primary. It failed. Yet, Biden doesn’t have problems with the base; Giuliani did, among other things. Yet, it wouldn’t hurt Democrats to have someone else as Hillary’s seemingly aura of inevitability continues to decay by the week.

As Guy wrote earlier this morning, Hillary’s email fiasco seems to only be getting worse, her unfavorables are some of the worst she’s experienced in her career, and the base doesn’t seem to be captivated by her. She’s old news. At the same time, so is Joe, though he isn’t dogged by questions about an email server, he’s a straight-shooter, he’s a liberal, he’s from a middle class background, which he has maintained throughout his time in public life (he remains one of the least wealthiest members of Congress), and he has the power of the vice presidency behind him in this endeavor. As I’ve noted before, Joe has absolutely nothing to lose.

If he wins (which is unlikely), then it’s off to the 2016 general against the Republicans. If he loses, he’s consigned to a fate that usually happens to most vice presidents: retirement and historical obscurity.

As the Politico piece noted, Biden has a base of support, there’s some grassroots movement with him, and the fundraising base that could at least fund a bid in the early voting states. Also, there’s plenty of time to get the inner machinations of a national campaign going. Iowa is a long ways a way. And if the vice president is banking on South Carolina, while Sanders and Clinton duke it out in Iowa and New Hampshire, he has the added advantage of time (again) and being the only person in South Carolina, drawing contrasts between both of his Democratic opponents (if he runs). Time is probably the thing that benefits Biden most, as his fundraising abilities have never truly been tested. The publication noted this has always been something of a weak spot in a Biden presidential campaign. He’s never had to rely heavily on such networks in deep-blue Delaware throughout his Senate career. Yet, maybe some connections with Team Obama can ameliorate that shortfall:

Several Obama campaign alumni, meanwhile, say they believe there would be a rush of their former colleagues to a Biden campaign — including possible defections from staffers currently working for Clinton in Brooklyn in a mix of Obama-Biden loyalists and junior staffers who’d until now seen her campaign as their only chance to work on a presidential race.

Yet, even as we speculate, there’s another layer. Biden might take the one-term pledge, according to people who have spoken with journalist Carl Bernstein. Besides the Hillary freefall, the Sanders’ “feeling the Bern” phenomena indicates that it’s an anything can happen process right now. Who thought that Sanders could overtake Hillary in the polls in New Hampshire?

If Vice President Joe Biden makes the leap into the Democratic presidential race, he could promise that he would serve just one term in the White House, journalist and author Carl Bernstein said Friday.

“And one thing that I keep hearing about Biden is that if he were to declare and say, because age is such a problem for him if he does, I want to be a one-term president. I want to serve for four years, unite Washington. I’ve dealt with the Republicans in Congress all my public life,” Bernstein told CNN’s “New Day.”

“I think there’s a conversation going on to that effect among his aides and friends,” he said. “It could light fire to the current political environment.”

Bernstein suggested that the vice president stands to benefit the most from the current political environment as Hillary Clinton struggles to stem the tide of the ongoing scandal over her use of a private email server while at the State Department and poll numbers about her honesty and trustworthiness decline.

In 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) almost made the same pledge due to his age. Yet, many politicians from various offices have made such pledges. Philip Bump at the Washington Post’s wrote that a number of congressional candidates since the 1994 elections have made such promises, and more than a few have broken them. If a Biden presidency becomes … a thing, then we shouldn’t be shocked if he decides to pull a “Jed Bartlet” and run again despite such a pledge. And it would be an easier decision since Joe Biden doesn’t have multiple sclerosis, which he hid from the American public in order to win an election.

Biden 2016 could be happening–and it could add some flavor–and interesting Biden-isms–into the race. It might make the Democratic race actually worth watching, especially with the possible Obama/Biden/Clinton intrigue regarding possible staff defections from the S.S. Hillary. It will be interesting to see how Obama acts as his two top players within his administration fight for the nomination to possibly succeed him in the White House.

At the same time, this could be a giant waste of time. One giant flameout (remember Sen. Fred Thompson’s 2008 run?) that ends with Biden being absolutely destroyed by the Clinton machine as he heads into the retirement bunker as a three-time presidential loser.

Last Note: Hot Air's Jazz Shaw wrote about the vice president's break from the White House's spin over the Chattanooga shooter, calling him a “perverted jihadist."