Joe Biden has finally been heard from.
No more of the Hamlet-esque angst, no more hemming and hawing.
No more wondering if he’ll run.
No more ‘please, please run Joe!’ cries from the peanut gallery.
He’s been an admirable public servant, and has been in the public eye for literally a half a century. And, in that time, he’s run up a large number of very good accomplishments and done much good. He’s had a good public life, we’ve all benefited and should, in turn, be grateful for his work. Democrats should be grateful because he’s been a good foot soldier for the party and has done what he can to help Democrats across the country and in Washington D.C. as well. He has a unique way of framing the issues and getting to the crux of whatever contemporary problem is vexing people on a given day.
But a presidential candidacy would have been problematic, for any number of reasons. The first is his inability to keep from putting his foot in his mouth. He just can’t help himself. He thinks he’s too clever by half and that gets him into trouble. He shoots from the hip and then has to backtrack. Remember his comments about Obama, when Biden ran for President back in 2008? Current Republican sniping aside, there’s typically a gentleman’s agreement to be civil. Oh, you disagree, sometimes vehemently, but you don’t make those kinds of comments -especially comments that can be seen as racially charged if not outright racist – of your competition. It’s not just in bad taste, it’s just bad, period.
Then we have the matter of his, ah, “borrowing” from other people’s speeches and claiming them as his own. Yes, this is old news but, nonetheless, it does go to the man’s character. Believe me, that would have been dredged up. If the Swift Boat Vets for Truth could, 35 years and numerous other political campaigns after the fact can make the claims against John Kerry that they did, do you not think Biden’s plagiarism would’ve been mentioned? If you think not, think again.
We can’t overlook Biden’s age as well. He will soon turn 73. That’s not all that old these days, really, but it could have caused concern for a number of people. And it’s basic fact that our health deteriorates as we get older. That was one concern mentioned, frequently, with John McCain’s candidacy in 2008. And with good reason. McCain had had several bouts with cancer, including fairly recently (at that time). Well, Biden has had health issues too. Recall that he brain aneurysms, albeit many years ago. Despite physicians saying that the time lapsed between the the aneurysm and currently, without relapse, means the likelihood of another aneurysm is slim, the fact that he’d had not one but two aneurysms would have been brought up by the Republicans. Fair’s fair, for Dems mentioned McCain’s health issues. And that’s the point: one’s health struggles become political fodder. Which makes Biden’s health an issue and his candidacy problematic from the start.
Personally, I’m saddened by the fact that Biden won’t have an opportunity to run. But realistically, he couldn’t have won even if he somehow made it through the Democratic primaries. He is too troublesome, with too many problems in his background to have gained popular traction.
Maybe someone acceptable to Democrats, Republicans, independents, Greens, etc., will emerge from within the Democratic party.
But Democrats can’t be wistful, and they can’t be sentimental about Joe Biden.
Thank you for your longtime service to the people of Delaware, to the Democratic Party, and to the United States of America.
Thank you may not be enough.
But it’s time to move on.