If Joe's In, He'll Win

Either the New York Times or Barack Obama could give the nomination to Biden.

Hillary Clinton cannot be taken out by Joe Biden. But if Barack Obama, or the New York Times, chooses, she's toast. If the president, or the Times, give Joe assurances that they'll put her down, he's going to run. If he passes, it means the White House and the Times have decided she's still the best chance they've got in 2016.

They're asking themselves a lot of questions. Is Bernie-mania a fad or is it a sign that the progressive base of the party is in full revolt against Hillary? He's up by seven in New Hampshire and drawing enthusiastic crowds of 30,000. How is it possible that Bernie Sanders, a quirky old socialist from Vermont, has transformed himself into a political rock star? Could it simply be that he's a genuine person, an anti-Hillary? And if they don't dump her soon, are they going to be stuck with her?

The Times has enough dirt on Hillary to take her out ten times over. Can they keep a lid on it for over a year longer? How much of what they have can they keep to themselves? Do they really want to start covering up and making excuses for the Clintons all over again? 

Obama and Valerie Jarrett are asking themselves: who would best defend the Obama legacy? The vice president, his biggest cheerleader, or haughty Hillary, whom they've never respected? And are they capable, even if they try their best, of keeping all the congressional investigations at bay? There are a lot of balls in the air, and they can't afford to let even one fall. Wouldn't it be easier to throw in the towel on her, and leave her to her own fate? All it would take is the appointment of a special prosecutor, which would be easily justified.

Then comes the $64,000 question, for the Times and for Obama. Who would have a better shot in 2016, Joe or Hillary? Given her performance to date, it's easy to see them going with the old pro.

Biden's had winks and nods of approval. He's waiting for a commitment. If he gets it he goes. He has tremendous confidence in his political skills, is in great shape, and loves to fight. He sincerely believes he's ready to step in the Oval Office on day one and be a great president, one who will be a world historical figure. 

Joe Biden may not be dead broke, but he doesn't have a lot to show for a lifetime in politics. Though he's been in high public office for over 40 years, his net worth is only $600,000. He's a lawyer, he’s had plenty of opportunities to cash in. He just wouldn't do it. He and his family have seen others make fortunes in the course of their political careers, but they've never seen anything like the Clintons. While he and others he respects have kept their noses clean and made do, Bill and Hillary flaunt their ill-gotten gain. This rankles all the Bidens.

It's hard to overstate the bond between Biden and his deceased son Beau, who as a small boy lost his mother. In What It Takes, Richard Ben Cramer's masterful account of the 1988 campaign, he tells the story of a meeting in Biden's home after the plagiarism scandal hit. Everyone knew Joe had to quit the presidential campaign, but Beau, just out of high school, was the last holdout. His stepmother, the rest of the family, and all the advisers and consultants said it was over. Not Beau. He wanted his dad to hang in there, keep fighting, never give up

This gives his deathbed wish even greater poignancy. Say whatever you want about Joe Biden, but he is passionate in the love of his family. Beau believed in his dad, and said he should run. Joe believes in himself.

Do Obama or the Times believe?

Fritz Pettyjohn is a former Alaska State Legislator and a Co-founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force. He blogs at ReaganProject.com

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