No Joe: Biden’s not running, and what that means for Hillary Clinton

Vice President Joe Biden announces he will not run for president, Oct. 21. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin)

Vice President Joe Biden announces he will not run for president, Oct. 21. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin)

Joe Biden is staying out … via the AJC’s man in Washington, Daniel Malloy:

“Vice President Joe Biden will not run for the presidency, he said today at the White House, ending months of frenzied speculation about whether he would shake up the Democratic race.

“Biden announced a Rose Garden appearance just minutes before he walked out with President Barack Obama and his wife, Jill.

“Biden has flirted with a bid for months, a very public indecision combined with grief for the death of his son Beau. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton raced to build support and lay the groundwork for a national campaign — includinglocking down Georgia’s Democratic heavyweights.

“Biden said he concluded that his family is finally mentally healthy enough for a presidential campaign, but the window for one had closed:

“‘Unfortunately, I believe we’re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination. But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.’

“Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had staked out ground to Clinton’s left, stoking the party’s liberal base. It left Biden without a natural space in the race — establishment or insurgent — and with all the drawbacks of getting in late in the game.”

Biden didn’t have a space to run in, and Clinton remains the heavy favorite to win the nomination (as I believe she would have been even if Biden had joined the fray). But he did have a role to play in the race, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Democratic primary plays out now in message and tone, even if the outcome is not in serious doubt.

As I wrote after the Democratic candidates’ first debate last week, Clinton is the clear favorite but Sanders is the stronger gravitational force within the party right now. His call for Americans to make a great leap forward to socialism resonates strongly with a party that has drifted further to the left than most of its supporters want to admit. His surprising success in the polls — combined with his obvious intent to shape the party’s platform rather than actually win its nomination — is pulling Clinton to the left. While no one would mistake Biden for Jim Webb, much less Sam Nunn, his entrance into the race probably would have pulled Clinton more toward the middle.

That won’t happen now, and no amount of “speak(ing) out clearly and forcefully to influence” his party will give Biden the same political weight that Sanders, as an actual candidate having relative success, will continue to wield.

In the same week that congressional Republicans may go a long way toward determining the GOP’s tone and message, by their united embrace or divided rejection of Paul Ryan as a potential speaker of the House, Democrats may now have their own marker for the moment their direction as a party was solidified.

Reader Comments 0

31 comments
lvg
lvg

Did Hillary promise Biden the Secretary of State position ????

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@lvg He previously said that'd be a demotion, so I doubt it.

JoelEdge
JoelEdge

"Biden didn’t have a space to run in,..."

He does. He can run in that "space" that Hillary is vacating chasing Bernie. But that would make Hillary fight on two fronts (so to speak) and cause her some inconvenience, so we can't have that.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

"...a party that has drifted further to the left than most of its supporters want to admit."

You have to wonder whether the traditional big money Dem supporters, like the Hollywood/media types, are getting a little nervous - now that they and their net worth are in the crosshairs. 

straker
straker

Rafe - "awful intercity violence"


Is that on the President's job description?


Or is it mainly the job of the community and the police.

M H Smith
M H Smith

@straker

It's the job of this nation and since OBAMA is President he is at the top of this nation and the chief law enforcement officer, so it all fits in the scope of his job description.

Dusty2
Dusty2

Well, I like Biden.  He has had more than his share of grief.  But his presence  always seems to bring a better atmosphere.  I wish him well.



That said, I would not have voted for him. To copy or support Obama may be loyalty but it  does not lead to good governance as we already know. 


So, our hope is Jeb Bush as Trump is a "flame thrower", not  presidential material.  Americans MUST realize we need a learned, experienced, straight forward person in the White House, not one who will blast away the ship of state.  Histrionics make news but  not " good sense" for America.   .     

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The only question I have about Hillary's positions on issues is what are her plans for curbing this awful intercity violence.  Does she follow Obama with more yawning indifference, or does she revert back to Bill's mid night basketball strategy? 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

What it means for Hillary is that the fix is in.

Too big to prosecute.

Caius
Caius

While not a supporter of Biden politically, I have enormous respect for Biden the family man.


The timing, the day before Clinton's appearance before the Benghazi committee, is a salute to someone's political sense of smell. Biden cannot give her anymore help than that.


Now Republicans need to settle on someone by April/May.


bu2
bu2

@Caius

It means $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for Hillary.  Money she won't have to spend to fight a battle on two fronts.


She'll be in a better position in the summer.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I never did get what ideological point there was in a Biden candidacy. It always seemed something that would only make horse-race sense if the front-runner had seriously stumbled.

There just isn't much daylight between Biden and Clinton, I don't think, in their public policy positions; were Biden to have run he'd have to pry those little cracks open for it to seem like he was much of an alternative.

Also, he's run and lost twice already. Who wants to face the prospect of likely defeat a third time?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Visual_Cortex If he ran, he'd most likely go out a loser instead of a winner -- and a loser who hurt his party in the process, to boot.

I didn't really understand why he would run, but I did think that a Biden candidacy would cool of some of "the Bern" and allow Hillary to tack back toward the middle before the primaries were over. Also, as Biden would almost certainly have run explicitly as Obama's third term, his campaign would have been inherently more status quo-ist and thus less radical. Not sure those are "ideological points," but they would have influenced the ideological position of the eventual nominee, presumably Hillary.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

"His call for Americans to make a great leap forward to socialism resonates strongly with a party that has drifted further to the left than most of its supporters want to admit.'

no, The cons , esp the Freedumb Coalitionones have fallen off the right cliff!


"Clinton is the clear favorite but Sanders is the stronger gravitational force within the party right now. " 

His "gravitational force" is alot weaker than the force the Freedumb Coalition will have in making Hillary look both moderate and left. Once the head clown... er...repub nominee is selected, then you'll see the leftmost come back to Hillary.

straker
straker

"Clinton remains the heavy favorite to win the nomination"


But...but...but...but...but....the FBI investigation and the Benghazi committee will surely find enough crimes to stop her.


Won't they?


Huh?


Won't they?

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@straker Let the next inquiry begin! And again. and again  ....but this does not waste time or money, does it???

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Let the coronation begin!  Barring indictment, of course.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@RafeHollister

Let the coronation begin!

There is the matter of five more debates, and primaries/caucuses in all 57 states.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Visual_Cortex More debates with Bernie high-fiving Hillary, O'Malley auditioning as Hillary's inoffensive running mate, and Chafee merely consuming (I think) oxygen? May as well cancel them.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Biden's speech was excellent, except for the fawning drivel about preserving Obama's legacy. (What legacy is that exactly, Obamacare (failing) , the Iranian capitulation deal (which Iran uses daily to embarrass Obama and America or our wonderful economy that has no place for 94 million folks looking for full time work.)


Anyway the speech sounded well written and very uplifting, as if it was his announcement speech.  It made you wonder if he changed his mind at the last minute, and thought the speech was too good to waste.  Did the party pressure him to forgo his campaign?   Would have been nice for once if the Dem candidate actually had some competition and had to spend some money to win the nomination, but in that party, it seems competition is frowned on.  2008 unexpectedly turned out well for them, you would think that would encourage more competition instead of less.


Well let the coronation begin!

Caius
Caius

@RafeHollister "...2008 unexpectedly turned out well for them,"

Wow. What planet were you living on in 2008? The Democrats had the White House locked down on 1/1/2008.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Caius @RafeHollister Yeah I get that Bush's unfavorability had set the stage for the Dems.  What I meant was that unexpectedly the competition worked out great for the party, stoking the low info's on the Obama persona, as he whacked ole Hillary about.  You know the party would have eschewed the competition, if they had their way, as Hillary was set for the coronation, when Barry jumped the line.

bu2
bu2

@Caius @RafeHollister


It an even race 9/1/08.  But then the stock market crashed and so did McCain's support.

M H Smith
M H Smith

Uh three guesses I'll use only one. 


Hillary is the Democrats choice if the emails don't remove her from grace then it will be Sanders. 

So it is probably Trump against Hillary.   

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Not sure what changes at all for the Democrats without Joe in the race. "Same as last week" would be my take.  If Biden actually is vocal about the direction of the party, it's a welcome infusion of dialogue.  Of course, I was hoping there would have been more dialogue a few months back with more candidates than the current batch. 

Mostly, it's because I'd rather have a good, viable alternative to another Clinton in the White House. If not, Clinton is still a better choice than any of the Republicans. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Joe's speech was a real hoot, all this talk about bolstering the Middle Class. The Administration he represents has done NOTHING to benefit the middle class, marginalizing and attacking it economically and socially at every opportunity while their actions further enrich the 1% they purport to target.  Glad though to see one less hypocrite/demagogue in the race, though you can never trust anything they say.

PJ25
PJ25

@DawgDadII As much as I can't stand Obama, he did benefit part of the middle class and that is the part smart enough to put money in the stock market for their retirement.  Much of the middle class was just as capable of buying Goldman Sachs and Apple stock as T-Rowe Price and Berkshire was.  If any lesson was to be learned by the middle class during the reign of Obama, that is D.C. will always bail out the wealthy by grossly over-inflating the markets with "easing" when necessary. 

lvg
lvg

Obviously  Kyle not listening to Party spokesman, El Rushbo who was spewing forth hatred of Ryan and the need to elect a  speaker who will not compromise or give an inch to the opposition. I guess those are happy and optimistic  messages.