6 October 2015

Notes from Norm: Run, Joe, Run

I think President Joe Biden would be as equally a bad choice for the country as President Hillary Clinton – President Bernie Sanders – President Martin O’Malley – or President “Any Democrat Thinking About Running for President.”

That being said, I have watched with both a sense of awe, as well as plain old intrigue, as Vice President Joe Biden has kept Democrats both partly confused and agitated by his public agonizing over whether or not to become a Democratic candidate for President.

Truth be told, he has both as much right to run for President, and as much chance of being President as the leading Democratic candidates for President.

Furthermore, of all the candidates announced, as well as those contemplating announcing, Biden arguably is the most qualified and accomplished of them all.

A former respected member of the United States Senate, a loyal Vice President, Joe Biden has been at the forefront of American politics and public policy for more than four decades.

Among his admirers are men and women on both sides of the political aisle, world leaders and untold millions of Democrats who have watched him stand steadfast for their ideals and beliefs for decades.

What many, including myself, have always appreciated and respected about Joe Biden is that what you see is what you get.  

He lives his politics and his feelings on his sleeve and he makes no apologies for it.  That passion for politics and public policy – and talking – have gotten him into plenty of trouble and hot water over the years.

He’s had to drop out of one race for President after oddly claiming the words of an British politician as his own.  In an attempt to burnish a life which was already a legitimate “American Dream” story, Biden unabashedly stole the life story of a British politician, Neil Kinnock, to present his own accomplished life.  

Biden has rarely been right on most matters of foreign policy over the past 40 years as President’s Obama’s own former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates famously declared by saying that Biden was “…wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past 40 years.”

Whether it was his belief that a new Ayatollah in Iran would lead to a new era of respect for human rights after the fall of the Shah, his opposition to President Reagan’s defense and military policies or the surge in Iraq, Joe Biden has never doubted himself once – even in the absence of overwhelming evidence that he was wrong.

He’s antagonized members of his own party for his tough questioning of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings, got himself into trouble for being ahead of the President in publicly supporting gay marriage and more than once has uttered comments that are both politically correct and uncomfortably timed.

He’s been the lead cheerleader on ObamaCare, going so far as to call it a “Big…..” well, you get the point.  

Yet, he endures because he believes that public service means something and has value and is important to America.

On that score alone I believe Joe Biden should enter the race for President.

In an era of pre-packaged sound bites, consultants who tell candidates how to wave, smile, laugh and answer questions, Joe Biden goes his own way.  

He zigs when most people in politics are zagging.  

He is solidly pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-government and pro-Democrat.  Joe Biden embraces big government as unequivocally as he has Big Labor.

There’s likely been no more loyal of a Vice President than Joe Biden in the history of Vice Presidents.  

Even Walter Mondale, who obviously must have been constantly screaming inside of his head in dealing with Jimmy Carter, can’t claim to have been as loyal to his President as Joe Biden has been to his.

The death of Joe Biden’s son has, if media reports are to be believed, driven him to have the public musing of whether or not to run for President.

I suspect there’s some truth to that.  

But, it makes it too convenient to suggest that Biden’s introspection – both public and private – is only a matter of a grieving parent trying to come to terms with the loss of his beloved son.

I think Joe Biden is thinking about running for President because he thinks he still has something to contribute – and because he thinks he might be able to beat Hillary Clinton.

On both counts he is right.

Unlike President Obama, and certainly unlike any of the Democrats running for President, Joe Biden can legitimately claim that he has worked across party lines to get things done.  

Not always well. Not always successfully.  

But, at a minimum, Joe Biden is capable of getting a hearing from even his staunchest political adversaries.  

There’s something to be said about just being a decent guy in politics in this day and age.

I suspect that is what worries Clinton backers the most about Biden.  While they have tried to package, repackage, define and redefine Hillary Clinton time and time again to make her more likeable, more believable and more personable, it isn’t genuine and it isn’t authentic.

Americans know the difference between someone trying to be someone they are not, and someone who is exactly what they have been their entire life.

I don’t know if Joe Biden will or will not run. If he does, I am confident he won’t win.

But, sometimes just getting into the arena is victory.

On that score Joe Biden has already won.