CNN grimly holding a debate chair warm for Joe Biden.

Desperation makes for an awful cologne: “Vice President Biden could qualify to participate in the first Democratic debate even if he did not decide to enter the race until debate day, according to participation criteria released by  host organization CNN on Monday.” Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air concentrated on how this position is showing special consideration for Joe Biden, which it totally is. But putting aside the question of why Democratic primary candidates are being treated in a gentler fashion than Republican candidates were*… there’s a question here over just why CNN wants Joe Biden on that stage. Why CNN needs Joe Biden on that stage.

The easiest explanation is that CNN – like all good Democrats, everywhere – have looked upon the works of their primary process, and are appalled. Their front-runner is old, and awful. Her current top challenger is old, and a socialist. The next two candidates after that are both former Republicans: and frankly? The Democrats were welcome to them. …And then there’s Martin O’Malley, serving as a capstone to the entire failed process as only Martin O’Malley can. Joe Biden would shine in this field like saltpeter crystals do in a dung heap**.

But perhaps this is being too mean to CNN. From a business perspective hosting a Democratic primary may not not be the smartest thing that a news network ever does. The August Fox debate and the September CNN one had 24 and 23 million viewers, respectively: and those numbers are in fact stratospheric. While the Democratic debate in October should have decent ratings – it’s one of the only Democratic ones happening during a weeknight, which matters – nobody’s expecting that it’s going to have the same draw. And note that I wrote ‘should.’ The whole thing could have the same draw as Republican undercard debates*** (which averaged about six to seven million viewers, more or less).  I may not think that viewership being this low is likely, but it’s not impossible.

Thus… either way it makes perfect sense to keep a chair reserved for Joe Biden, isn’t it? If you’re a Democrat, you’d want Biden on that stage because, terrifyingly for the Left, he looks good in comparison to the existing choices. If you’re a harried CNN ad executive, you’d want Biden on that stage because, hey, it’d be dramatic and people might tune in. And I’ll admit: I fully expect the Democratic primaries as they stand to be excruciatingly dull affairs where the contestants spend two hours trying to one-up each other on Democratic Special Interest Group Bingo**** until somebody’s bladder finally explodes. Maybe Joe Biden would make things entertaining – not that my definition of ‘entertaining’ would be one that Democrats would like…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*It’s because the Democratic primary candidates are WEAK.

**They do not, particularly. But at least they’re crystalline, right?

***I should also note that, pound for pound and accomplishment for accomplishment, our undercard beats the Democrats’ first team.

****Goodness knows that the game is a favorite of their particular age demographic. …And oh, but will I regret making that wisecrack in twenty years.