What Biden’s Decision Not to Run Tells Me

Last week’s Democratic Debate on CNN clarified something for me.  Prior to the debate, I was wondering if any of the other (“other” meaning besides Hillary) candidates were really serious about the race, or if they had other motives for running, such as raising their political profiles, increasing speaking fees, or selling books. The “tell” would be if they actually took on Hillary.  The path to the Democratic nomination leads directly through Hillary.  If a candidate took her on directly, then that was a clue that he was serious about running for President.Biden

So what happened?  They’re not serious.  Even Jim Webb, whose face looks stuck on serious, wasn’t really serious.  And Bernie Sanders, who had been nipping at her heels throughout the race?  Again; not serious.  “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”  That comment basically let Hillary off the hook for her scandals and corruption.  So if Bernie was never serious about running for President, why was he running?  One possibility was that he was aiming for an inspired impersonation on Saturday Night Live.  If so, mission accomplished!

But besides Larry David’s dead on Bernie Sanders performance, there could be another reason.  Knowing Hillary was the de facto front runner, he could have wanted to be the person to push the agenda to the left, in case Hillary was tempted to slip back into the familiar Clinton territory of triangulating centrist-land.  Again, mission accomplished.  By the time we get to the Democratic convention, Bernie’s 18 Trillion dollar price tag will just be the down payment.

So that brings us today’s announcement that Vice President Joe Biden will not run for President.  There is no doubt the public discussion of will he or won’t he revolved around the very real grief he and his family are suffering through due to the loss of his son.  If grief is the only standard, it’s unlikely that Biden would ever be ready to run again.  He will age out of his window of opportunity long before he may feel he has the strength to do more than nurse his pain.  But I don’t think that is the only consideration.

Like all of the other so called “candidates,” Biden’s path to the nomination would lie right through Hillary.  However Biden is a part of the administration that is actually investigating Hillary’s server, her emails, and whether any laws were broken or security jeopardized   Although the FBI and its investigation on whether charges are warranted is independent in theory, in this administration, nothing under the executive branch seems to be exempt from politics.  So regardless of what the investigation reveals the actual decision to prosecute would rest with Obama.

Would he?

There are some reasons to think he might.  The Obama-Clinton Feud is well known, but the consequences to the party could be severe.  So I think the dangling of the carrot the past couple of weeks was Biden waiting for Obama to make up his mind on if he would go after Hillary or not.

So my guess is not.