I have written in favor of Vice President Joe Biden’s plausibility as a presidential candidate (and am pleased I am not alone).
But how would he do it, and would he face a backlash from female Democrats?
The answer to the latter is that it depends. He would be handicapped in making some very reasonable arguments — for example, that Hillary Clinton exaggerated her role and was a bit player in foreign policy — for fear of stirring anger.
However, that leaves plenty of solid arguments:
1) More in sadness than in anger: “Hillary and Bill, well, they’ve just gotten out of touch with people like you and me.” This has the benefit of being true, given the Clinton couple’s self-enrichment and penchant for hobnobbing with the rich and famous. Biden, while a vice president and veteran of the Senate, managed to maintain his Scranton, Pa., appeal, in part because he did not get rich off of politics.
2) “We gotta win, people.” Clinton’s scandals are never-ending, and her drop in the polls should alarm Democrats. Biden can rightly claim he is a safer choice to run for the “third Obama term.”
3) “The president likes me better!” Judging from the eulogy President Obama gave at Beau Biden’s funeral, this may be right. Recall Obama said, “Taking this ride with you is one of the great pleasures of our lives. Joe, you are my brother. And I’m grateful every day that you’ve got such a big heart, and a big soul, and those broad shoulders. I couldn’t admire you more.” Tying himself to the more radically left-leaning second term — when Clinton was out grabbing millions in cash — gives Biden a claim to be the authentic heir to the Obama presidency.
4) “Clinton’s best friends are Wall Street moguls.” Judging from her speeches, her e-mails and her foundation’s receipts, that surely seems to be the case.
5) “I’m the brave leader on gay marriage.” Again, truth has its appeal. He got out ahead of the White House, in fact. And while Clinton said for years she didn’t support gay marriage (when she likely had shifted long before her pre-presidential announcement) Biden was forthright and courageous.
6) “You get what you see.” There is a little of the New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie message here. Biden has gaffes galore, but he does not pretend to be something he is not, nor does he equivocate in the maddening fashion Clinton does. There is little doubt where he stands on the issues.
7) “Clinton isn’t going to end dysfunction.” Certainly, this is true. She not only is highly controversial and divisive (“vast right-wing conspiracy”) but also brings her three-ring circus of political hacks with her. By contrast, Biden can claim truthfully he made the most progress of anyone in trying to forge a “grand bargain” by sitting down to horse-trade with Republican leaders.
8) “I did it on my own.” Biden did not get to be vice president by being someone’s spouse. He didn’t move to a state friendly to liberals to get elected. At a young age, in the wake of the horrible deaths of his wife and daughter, he entered the Senate and toiled away.
Jennifer Rubin is a columnist for The Washington Post.