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February 07, 2014 4:52 PM Biden: Why Not Me?

By Ed Kilgore

We’re at that silly stage of the 2016 presidential cycle where media folk are challenging potential candidates to rule themselves in or out. It’s interesting that it’s considered news today that the sitting Vice President of the United States ruled himself in until some sort of self-imposed failsafe point in the summer of 2015.

It’s pretty evident from early polling that barring unforeseen developments Biden (like ever other “mentioned” candidate) is toast if Hillary Clinton runs. One of the few recent polls (from Quinnipiac last May) rating the field in HRC’s absence shows Biden with 45%, 30 points more than any other named rival. A Clinton-less race, of course, would attract a larger field, not to mention the kind of visibility for people not named Joe, that would likely reduce his lead.

But what the hell, why should he rule himself out? Observers tend to forget he built a consequential Iowa organization way back in 1987 before the “plagiarism” scandal drove him from the race. He built another one going into 2008 before being crushed by the Big Three of Obama, Edwards and Clinton. He knows what to do when he is confronted with a bale of hay at the Iowa State Fair (climb up on it and bloviate!). And there’s really no telling who he would be fighting for the nomination; the 2012 Republican nomination contest shows it’s possible to beat a cast of clowns and ideologues with little more than high name ID and big sacks of cash.

I personally think HRC is going to run and Biden won’t, but there’s no reason to push old Joe out until a lot more shoes drop. And he’s certainly earned the right to nourish his presidential fantasies until he really just can’t.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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