With the second term of President Barack Obama beginning, already the news media is speculating on the likelihood of Vice President Joe Biden running for President, and the odds that he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016, and become our next President.
Biden is certainly encouraging speculation, while saying he has not made up his mind. It is clear that he would like to run, but even he admits that the success or lack of success of the first two years of the second term of Obama, on top of his first term, will have a dramatic effect on his decision to run, and the odds of his having a good chance to become the 45th President of the United States.
Biden has a long record in public office, actually greater in number of years than any President of the United States having come to the Senate at the minimum age of 30, serving six terms (36 years), and now on his second term as Vice President, which, when he completes it, will mean he has served 44 years in national office.
Biden knows Washington DC like few know it. He also knows how to work with the opposition Republican Party in a manner unseen since Lyndon B. Johnson, although Johnson had a much more unorthodox approach to bargaining, and “wheeler dealing”, than the much more proper and mannerly Joe Biden.
But he also has a long list of gaffes, most not harmful, except to those who oppose him, and his liberal views have alienated major groups, as he has worked on issues highly controversial, including gun rights, women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, foreign policy, Supreme Court nominees, and protection of the Great Society and New Deal programs, including the so called “entitlements”.
And his age, now 70, meaning he would be 74-78 in a first term, and 78-82 in a second term, is not a plus, as we only had one President beyond the age of 70, Ronald Reagan, who seemed to be in decline in his second term of office, finishing it at age 77 and about 49 weeks,
And there is the challenge of Hillary Clinton, whose public opinion ratings are higher than Biden’s, although there is much doubt that she will, ultimately, run for the Presidency. This author and blogger has already theorized, at the beginning of January, that Hillary will decide not to run. Her performance in testifying today at the Benghazi, Libya hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be crucial in any plans she might have, after a good rest and recovery period, to run for President in 2016.
And of course, there is the “younger” or “newer” generation of political leaders who have interest in running—including Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Martin O’Malley of Maryland, both taking strong leadership on gay marriage and gun regulations in their states; plus others, including Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and even possibly others, including Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado.
So the likelihood of Joe Biden running, while good, is not, automatically going to give him an edge in a field of many likely challengers. And of course, even if many Republicans like Joe Biden personally, it is certain, and obvious, that they are building up a long list of issues to use against the Vice President, should he end up as the Democratic nominee for President in 2016.