Is there enough of a political difference between Joe Biden and Billary Clinton for Team Bernie Sanders to worry about Biden jumping into the presidential race at rather the last minute? Methinks not. I see establishmentarian Democrat/“Democrat” Biden drawing more support away from DINO Billary than from Bernie. A perfect alignment of the stars for us progressives would be Biden running and helping Bernie to beat Billary for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, and Donald Trump running for the White House as an independent, Ross-Perot style, and helping Bernie to win the White House by siphoning votes away from the Repugnican presidential candidate, whichever wingnut that turns out to be.
The big political news now is that Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about entering the 2016 presidential race.
I am unmoved.
I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about Joe Biden; I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him, either. I was surprised when Barack Obama picked Biden to be his running mate in 2008, as Biden had done so poorly in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary contest that he withdrew on January 3, after having come in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses, with only 1 percent of the vote.
At that time, Biden said that his second run for the presidency (he had run in 1988 also) would be his last. (Biden dropped out of the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primary contest after he was damaged by the accusation that he had plagiarized speech material.)
Perhaps Obama didn’t want to be overshadowed by a stronger personality were he to win the presidency, making Joe Biden a Dan-Quayle-like choice for veep. In any event, it apparently has been clear to Biden, with the exception of a “gaffe” or two, that as vice president he very much has been the beta male. No Dick Cheney role for him (at least certainly not publicly).
As vice president Joe Biden has been unremarkable, and since he at least has given the public appearance of being on board with All Things Obama, and since I find Obama’s presidency to have been incredibly disappointing, to put it mildly — as I’ve written a million times, Obama’s biggest mistake was not pushing through a progressive agenda when the Democratic Party held control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 and 2010 (and yes, to me, the ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” signified progressivism, not more of the same) — for the most part I view Biden as jut another establishmentarian “Democrat,” along with Obama and Billary Clinton.
Yes, we do get to judge you by the company that you keep.
My support of Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination remains unswayed and unchanged by the news that Biden might jump in.
I did enjoy, as I wrote at the time, watching Biden thoroughly thrash Paul “Pretty Boy” Ryan in the vice presidential debate of October 2012, which started the hilarious Internet meme that cast Biden as the Hulk and Ryan as the villainous pretty boy Loki, whom in the 2012 hit comic-book movie “The Avengers” the Hulk picks up and smashes to the ground, leaving him in a crater created by his own body.
But of course that doesn’t mean that Biden should be president, and after he dropped out of the presidential race in 1988 due to the plagiarism scandal and after he dropped out after the very first contest of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary season because he’d done so poorly in Iowa, I don’t see Biden as a strong presidential candidate now.
Yes, vice presidents often go on to run for the presidency, but of course they don’t have to. George H.W. Bush and Al Gore did (and both of them won [yes, of course Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election]), but even Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney knew better, and I put Biden’s strength somewhere between those two groups of vice presidents who did run for the presidency and who did not.
The touchy-feely report (which may or not even be true) that it (more or less) was the dying wish of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in late May, that his father run for the presidency in 2016 might be touching for some, but it does not sway me. The presidency is far too important to allow emotional pap like that to decide it. I look at the totality of Joe Biden, and while of course I’d rather have him than uber-DINO Billary Clinton sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office, again, I still see him as a member of the Democratic Party establishment.
Bernie Sanders is not. Again, I’m still with Bernie. Whatever Biden does or doesn’t do, it won’t change that.
What I can see Joe Biden doing, however, is helping Bernie Sanders.
I can see Biden and Billary splitting the establishmentarian Democratic Party/DINO vote, which could only help Sanders, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate only as an independent, as a self-described little-“d” democratic socialist. (He is running on the big-“D” Democratic ticket now only because third-party/independent presidential runs are Herculean feats; it’s much easier to run for the White House within the duopolistic party system, as flawed and anti-democratic as it is.)
Sanders has distanced himself from the establishmentarian Democrats his entire political career, so his status as an outsider, which is what so many of us who are left of center want, is solid. (Perhaps you could call him the Donald Trump of the left.*)
The “democratic socialist” label hasn’t been toxic to Sanders, who for a while now has been polling nationally among Democrats and Democratic Party leaners in the double digits, more often than not second to Billary, with Biden more often than not coming in at third place, behind Billary and Bernie, when he is included in these polls.
Indeed, those who have a problem with the word “socialist” never, ever were going to vote for a Democrat for president in the first place. Indeed, even Obama, who has been a moderate at best — I don’t think that it would be inaccurate or unfair to describe Obama as having been center-right on the political spectrum — has been labeled by the lunatic fringe of the right as a “socialist.”
We shouldn’t worry about what the right-wing nut jobs who never are going to vote for a Democrat anyway are going to think. They never were going to be on our team in the first place, thank Goddess.
And young voters love Bernie Sanders.
While the enthusiasm that surrounds Sanders is not the same as that which surrounded Obama in 2008 — every presidential campaign season has its own flavor, and every presidential candidate has his or her own flavor — I’ve seen youthful enthusiasm for Sanders that I haven’t seen for the utterly uninspiring and uncharismatic Billary Clinton.
(Yes, I was one of the thousands upon thousands of people who attended one of the thousands of Bernie Sanders gatherings across the nation on Wednesday night, and while the gathering that I attended was a good mix of generations, with young, elderly and middle-aged attendees, I’d estimate that at least half of the attendees, of which there were about 30 in total, were enthusiastic Millennials, one of whom identified himself as a Vietraq War veteran who had voted for George W. Bush until after he was sent to Bush’s bogus war in Vietraq.)
So I am perfectly fine with Joe Biden jumping into the race, even though it seems awfully late in the game for him still to be able to do so and to be successful. Not only is it perfectly his democratic right to do so if he wishes, but again, because he has been so closely aligned with the disappointing DINO Barack Obama, as has DINO Billary Clinton, I can see Biden only taking more support from Billary than from Bernie.
P.S. Should Al Gore jump into the race soon, as one Salon.com writer recently wrote he wishes would happen, that would be different. As Al Gore already won the White House in 2000, and as the writer for Salon.com correctly noted that Gore probably could bridge the establishmentarian “Democrats” and progressives (which, in my estimation, Billary can’t do and Biden can’t do much better than Billary can), I could see Gore winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination were he to run, even at this late date. He’d be a powerhouse.
But I doubt that he’ll run.
*While of course I loathe Donald Trump, the success of his presidential campaign thus far — right now he tops the Repugnican Tea Party presidential preference polls — demonstrates that a sizeable chunk of the American electorate remains displeased with the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party. (This seems to be fairly unchanged since Ross Perot, who always struck me as a wingnut [he might be labeled as libertarian or leaning libertarian, but the libertarians always have struck me as wingnuts], ran as an independent presidential candidate back in 1992, garnering just short of 19 percent of the popular vote.)
While the poor and the working class who support Trump (and the “tea party”) stupidly support him (and the “tea party”) like chickens stupidly supporting Colonel Sanders — they have the lottery mentality that they can be billionaires, too (of course, they can’t) — cannot identify the real problems of and the real enemies to the nation (the treasonously self-serving plutocrats like Trump, the Koch brothers and the Bush crime family [and yes, the Clinton crime family, too], not labor-union members and “illegals,” are destroying the nation), they at least correctly identify that the duopolistic, corporation- and plutocrat-loving Democratic Party and Repugnican Party stopped representing the majority of Americans’ best interests long ago.
Of course, just as I’d love Joe Biden to jump in and hopefully suck more votes away from Billary Clinton than from Bernie Sanders — which I surmise would be the case — I’d love for Donald Trump to pull a Ross Perot and run as an independent presidential candidate in 2016.
While some argue that Ross Perot’s run didn’t take more votes away from incumbent President George H.W. Bush than from Bill Clinton in 1992, I’ve always surmised that Perot, being right of center, of course siphoned more votes from Bush than from Clinton, thus helping Clinton to win the White House with only a plurality of the votes.
Similarly, I think it is inarguable that were Trump to run for the White House as an independent in 2016, of course he’d take more votes from the Repugnican candidate, whoever that turns out to be, than from the Democratic candidate, whoever that candidate turns out to be.