‘Aside from his advanced age … it’s not an enviable background in a country that doesn’t much trust career politicians…’
But as New York magazine reports, the potential candidate has some baggage.
Biden’s baggage is so extensive that Democrats might forgo the opportunity of going with the man many think would be Trump’s toughest opponent next year.
As a son of the working class, Biden thinks he’s just the person to appeal to the Midwestern voters who abandoned Hillary Clinton in 2016.
But first he’ll have to win the support of his fellow Democrats, and there are a number of land-mines Biden will have to clear to do so.
Among them: his tough questioning of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, and his sponsorship of a crime bill in 1994 that is despised among the Left for its role in the mass incarceration of black Americans for nonviolent drug offenses.
Then there’s the Iraq War, a seemingly endless quagmire that Biden voted for back in 2002, making him the only Democratic candidate with this blemish. And then there’s the 2005 bankruptcy bill that thrust Elizabeth Warren into the spotlight—and perhaps spurred her political career—as well as his vote for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, seen by liberals as part a dark chapter in the nation’s history.
And finally, there’s the “Creepy Joe” factor, concerning the 76-year-old Biden’s “hands-on” history with women, which raised eyebrows even before the #MeToo campaign came into vogue.
Vox blogger Matt Yglesias summarizes it thusly: “Add it all up and you get a negative portrait of Joe Biden—the buckraker who failed to protect a sexual harassment victim and spent the aughts boosting the Iraq War and bank deregulation after fueling mass incarceration and anti-gay discrimination in the 1980s and ’90s.”
Some writers on the Left go even farther. Jamelle Bouie, of Slate, noted Biden’s heavy involvement in three ’80s-era bills that administered harsh punishments to drug offenders. “Joe Biden,” wrote Bouie, “is the Democratic face of the drug war.”
And there could be more. The report says that these are hits on Biden based on publicly available information. In the hands of a credible opposition researcher, the former VP’s extensive career in public office could be a gold mine.
The conclusion of the article: “Aside from his advanced age and the risks that involves for his party, [Biden’s past is] not an enviable background in a country that doesn’t much trust career politicians. That could be the item of baggage among so many others that really drags down Joe Biden if he chooses to run for president.”
Despite the obstacles that may lie ahead, Joe Biden looks like he’s going to enter the presidential race. At least, that’s what his brother thinks.
“Now, he could surprise me,” said younger brother Frank, “but I know the family’s behind him 100 percent.”
With some centrists from the Right suggesting a split ticket, such as Biden and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, he could be poised to pursue a middle-ground pathway as many of his primary opponents veer to the center. Of course, he will have plenty of baggage as well courting conservatives following eight years as Obama’s right-hand man.
While Obama has pointedly snubbed his VP so far, at least one prominent Democrat is behind him already. Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., made news when she endorsed Biden for the position over her colleague and fellow Californian Sen. Kamala Harris.
But then again, Feinstein is also a career politician. She might view Biden’s record more favorably than the liberal activist base that will ultimately decide the party’s nominee.