Seriously, what is Joe Biden waiting for?

You don’t have to be a Democrat to wonder about this: “[Joe] Biden placed a personal call to Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters, early Friday morning to discuss his potential candidacy and a strategy to win, Schaitberger said.” Look, it’s mid-October. There are a bunch of things that candidates to have to do in order to get into the various state primaries. Those primary deadlines are tick-tocking away. If Joe Biden doesn’t make up his mind, then his mind will be made up for him.

…At least, that’s the conventional reasoning. Basically, everyone is assuming that Joe Biden is ambivalent about running for President. But what if he’s just scared?

We know that the man wants the job: Joe Biden has run several times for it, the last time in 2008. Besides, it’s a rare politician who can look at him- or herself in a mirror and not see a potential President looking back, and Biden is utterly conventional in that regard. On paper he’s a formidable opponent; and even in reality Biden would make more thematic sense to Democratic primary voters than Hillary Clinton would. And, speaking pragmatically: what’s the obvious downside to Joe Biden seeking the nomination, and losing? What’s Hillary Clinton going to do, hold a grudge for the rest of either’s politician’s life? – Because, let’s be honest here: that threat is a lot more significant when both parties are in their forties or fifties than it would when both are in their late sixties.

But Joe Biden still won’t take the plunge; and I think that it’s because he doesn’t want to take the rap for the Democrats losing the election. Because there is a downside to Joe Biden announcing a run. If he jumps in and Hillary wins the nomination anyway, Joe Biden will get blamed for weakening The First Woman President just enough to give the Republican candidate the victory in the general election. If he jumps in and gets the nomination, he’ll be blamed for shoving aside The First Woman President in order to aggrandize himself (and lose the election). But if he ultimately doesn’t jump in… well. The narrative will become If only Joe Biden had been running as Barack Obama’s third term! Surely we would have won with Old Joe there, ya, you betcha.  Which is not exactly a bad reputation for a Democratic elder statesman to have.

Bear in mind: I still think that Joe Biden will eventually jump into the ring, if only because he really is hungry for the job.  But the man clearly understands on at least some level that he’s going not going to be the next President of the United States; and that’s causing Biden to hesitate.  Which would be a pity, except that we’ll have fun either way.  Man… it was good thing that Joe Biden didn’t run as Barack Obama’s third term! Surely we would have lost with Old Joe there, ya, you betcha…

Moe Lane (crosspost)