Joe Biden is well known for many things, but his illustrious legacy of statesmanship is not first among the achievements that come to mind.
Yet, as Joe prepares to join the Democratic race for the 2016 nomination, his friends are warning him that taking on the nation’s highest office could irreparably tarnish Joe Biden’s otherwise spotless record. He’s been such an effective partner for Barack Obama that they simply cannot imagine what Joe Biden would be like absent one half of the Dynamic Duo. And with a bitter fight likely on the horizon, they don’t want to risk him losing – or, for that matter, the Democratic party losing.
Those supporters, in the White House and the Senate, and within the political circles he has moved in for decades, fear that the legacy Mr. Biden has built as an effective partner who took on tough jobs for President Obama, not to mention the deep reservoir of public good will and sympathy he has amassed in his poignant handling of personal tragedies, could be sacrificed in the pursuit of an unsuccessful challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
They fret that Mr. Biden, as well known for his undisciplined, sometimes self-immolating comments as he is for his charm on the trail, could endanger Mr. Obama’s own legacy by injuring Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy and causing his party to lose control of the White House.
While the concern about Mr. Biden appears widespread among his political allies, few seem eager to tell him out of fear of hurting his feelings and seeming to be presumptuous about a decision that is all too personal.
“People deeply care about him and admire him,” said one person who is personally close to Mr. Biden and has worked closely with him, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his relationship with the vice president. “But you obviously have to worry about the feasibility and ultimate impact of a run.”
The problem here doesn’t seem to be that they’re afraid Uncle Joe will spill Natty Lite all over the front seat of his official campaign Corvette, or that the jean jacket and aviators won’t satisfy the debate dress code. They seem just fine with who Joe Biden is. They are just uncomfortable with what Joe Biden will say.
Again, by that I don’t mean that they’re worried he’ll point out the enthnicity of his local 7-11 owner in front of CNN cameras. They’re worried that Joe Biden is a test for Obama’s “third term.” Right now, Democrats – Obama foremost among them – are convinced that, were the Constitution not so clear on its restrictions, that Barack Obama would remain President into infinity. If Joe Biden runs, that theory will not only be tested, it’ll be brought back to earth, specifically if Joe Biden decides to run on Obama’s legacy, forcing Hillary Clinton to pick a fight with the Obama agenda, something that would go a long way towards defining her political brand.
Biden could also interfere with Hillary Clinton’s coronation, which is unlikely to win him any friends. Which is unfortunate, because he definitely seems like the type of guy who would help her relate to the middle class, by, say, teaching her how to do a keg stand.
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