Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway says Joe Biden has absolutely no reason to rush into the 2016 race so long as Hillary Clinton is turning a presumed coronation into an open race.
If Biden gets in the race now it will give the media something else to talk about other than Clinton’s legal troubles and her flailing response to it, she says. A recent poll shows that nearly half of the country — including 24 percent of Democratic voters — want her to suspend her campaign while dealing with questions about the legality of her secret email server and her handling of classified information. Biden’s not like the other candidates, Hemingway says. As vice president, he doesn’t have to figure out a way to increase his name recognition, as is required of Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley.
Still, Hemingway says in a discussion with former Bill Clinton aide David Goodfriend that Biden is historically a weak candidate for president. His first campaign was dogged by character questions, and he received less than 1 percent of the vote when he ran in the primary in 2008. And Biden’s very much a figure of the Democratic establishment, not a progressive. Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, is outpolling Hillary in New Hampshire. Biden’s got to figure out a way to lock up progressive voters, which explains his recent meeting with Elizabeth Warren. If he can get her on the ticket — or even her strong endorsement — that would be a great way to enter the race and make a splash.
Biden enjoys something of a Trump effect, Hemingway says, in that his many gaffes, flip-flops, and inappropriate dealings with women seem only to enhance his reputation among fans, among which are many in the media. Still, his foreign policy legacy is full of problems, from claiming he wouldn’t have pulled the trigger to kill Osama bin Laden and that he would bet the vice presidency that he would secure a status of forces agreement to keep U.S. troops in Iraq. He failed, and the resultant lack of military presence there led to the rise of ISIS. He’ll need to figure out how to address all these issues.