Biden or No Biden: Mrs Clinton Is Dominant for 2016
Matthew JAMISON | 31.08.2015 | WORLD / Americas

Biden or No Biden: Mrs Clinton Is Dominant for 2016

There has been a swirl of DC speculation lately that Joseph Biden – the 72 year old Vice-President of the United States – will enter the 2016 Democratic Party Presidential race, challenging front-runner Mrs Hillary Clinton for the party's Presidential Nomination. 

This is not due to any overwhelming enthusiasm or excitement about a possible Biden administration. Rather, it is an indication of a broader and deeper anti-Clinton faction in the Democratic Party, who are averse to a Clinton restoration at any cost, even if it means handing the White House over to Republican control rather than Hillary Clinton in 2016. They simply do not like her, on a personal level, for whatever reason.

So what would the rationale be for a Biden challenge? There are no major philosophical or ideological policy differences between Hillary and Joe. The policy roll-out of the 2016 Clinton Campaign has been every liberals dream and builds on the legacy of Obama's legislative achievements. In terms of domestic policy, there is virtually no difference between the positions of Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. Both are conventional, moderate liberals situated in the center-left of the Democratic mainstream on economics and social issues. Both, in their different ways, have charted a course of foreign policy and national security hawkishness. Biden, like Mrs Clinton, voted to authorize the 2002 Iraq intervention.

A Biden Presidency would also be quite long in the tooth. If elected, Biden would be 74 years old. That would make him the oldest person to become a President. If he decided to hold on to power and seek a second term in 2020, which would be his constitutional right, he would be 78.

Joe Biden would bring nothing to the table in terms of radical new ideas and policies. It would add nothing in terms of energy or experience that Mrs Clinton has not already demonstrated. It would add nothing in terms of political strategy. Vice-President Biden has already run – twice – for the Presidency, and twice failed to win any Caucus or Primary or build a significant voter coalition. As a vote getter, Mrs Clinton far surpasses Mr Biden's electoral record and appeal. Remember, Hillary amassed a record breaking 18 million votes in the highly competitive Democratic Primary of 2008. Mr Biden, on the other hand, managed only to secure a few thousand votes in 1988 and 2008 and never stayed in until the end of the primary calendar.

In terms of history – a Biden candidacy – would be unremarkable. After all, how many elderly, white men have become President of the United States? How boring from History's viewpoint a Biden Presidency would be? So why would Biden step in history's way and dash the hopes of millions and millions who have longed to see a woman President of the USA in their lifetime?

I get the sense there is a bit of a political tussle going on the White House. If I were a betting man I would wager that President Obama is invested in Hillary's candidacy as his anointed successor. However, I sense Mrs Obama and her close friend – the enigmatic Valerie Jarrett (the real Vice-President) – are going out of their way and doing everything possible to sabotage Mrs Clinton's campaign. Mrs Obama and Ms Jarret tried to draft Senator Warren into the race unsuccessfully. Now, they are no doubt whispering into Vice-President Biden's ear, preying on an ego of a 72 year old man, who just lost his son. Which brings us to the subject of Hillary's State Department emails and the explosion of the story back in March.

I wonder... of all the people to hack their email accounts in the world how did the Romanian hacker decide to set his sights on Sidney Blumenthal's AOL account? Sidney Blumenthal is hardly a house hold name. The Romanian hacker was tipped off by someone with knowledge of Hillary's email arrangements and her relationship with Blumenthal. That person in all likelihood was the Senior Advisor to the President... Ms Valerie Jarrett.

However it remains to be seen what President Obama will do. After all his Justice Department can shut down the email saga once and for all. Which leads us to Vice-President Biden's recent meeting with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. If Joe Biden enters the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton, he will enlist the support of Senator Warren, the Harvard academic and de-facto leader of the populist left-wing of the Democratic Party. I wouldn't be surprised if perhaps Biden picked Warren as his running mate, even straight away with his official announcement. There is already speculation of a Biden-Warren alliance and possible joint ticket. That would, so the calculation goes, ease the resentment of female voters by having a female VP and Biden could announce he would only serve one term, setting up Elizabeth Warren as his heir for 2020, and riding her populist coattails with the left wing liberal base of the Democratic Party in the primaries.

However, whether it be a Biden entry or a Biden-Warren joint ticket straight away, Hillary Clinton is still the overwhelming favourite of the Democratic Party and Joe Biden is no Barack Obama. If Joe Biden runs against Mrs Clinton, the only way he will be able to make any inroads into her base of support, is to go negative, very negative. Unfortunately, a Biden campaign would be built around a Republican Party talking point, in essence that Mrs Clinton is corrupt. That is the only wiggle room he has to catch up with her. It would be a disgrace for a fellow Democrat to run against another Democrat purely on the basis of Republican Party talking points. However, American politics, like politics the world over, is anything but graceful. Many Democrats loyal to the Clintons, which stand in their millions, will likely stay loyal to Mrs Clinton, even with a Biden-Warren ticket.

Recent polling has shown, despite the Republican and right wing onslaught bashing Mrs Clinton daily for her email practices while Secretary of State, this has had no impact on her standing with Democrats in the crucial first in the nation Caucus in Iowa. Indeed, Iowa seems to be solidifying fast as indomitable Clinton country. The latest Suffolk University Democratic Party Iowa Caucus Poll reveals despite all the white noise regarding emails and servers it is a blowout for the Clinton Campaign...

Hillary Clinton:  54%

Bernie Sanders:   20%

Joe Biden:        11%...

Martin O'Malley:  4%

Jim Webb:         1%

Lincoln Chaffe:   0%

Hillary Clinton's path to the Democratic Party Nomination is in many ways looking pretty good and secure. The Clinton campaign has learned the mistakes of 2008 and is going all out to build up the strongest possible firewall in the first in the nation Iowa caucus. Their thinking is if Mrs Clinton can storm out of the gate with a huge Iowa win unlike her 3rd place finish in 2008, she can utilise that victory and margin to ride a wave of populist goodwill into New Hampshire where she bested Mr Obama in a breath-taking and stunning Comeback. If Hillary can win Iowa and pull off another New Hampshire win and then wrap up the Nevada Caucus (which she won in 2008), all she will have to do is tread carefully in South Carolina and then go all out on the first Super Tuesday leading to an inevitable nomination beyond March. That is why, Biden or no Biden, Mrs Clinton is still the one to beat and still on course for the White House in 2016.

Tags: US  Biden  Clinton