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Biden Presidential Run Won't Stop Hillary

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 20/10/2015 Earl Ofari Hutchinson
JOE BIDEN © Win McNamee via Getty Images JOE BIDEN

The on again/off again media tease of a Joe Biden presidential run has been a long-running political soap opera. Now that there's actually tangible hints courtesy of some purported Democratic Party insiders that Biden will jump in the race, the tongues are wagging even more furiously about what actual effect it will have not on the Democratic race, but on Hillary. The answer is simple. It will have none.
The Biden-for-president talk has always been driven by a mix of misgivings about or outright hostility to Clinton as a presidential candidate, both within and without the Democratic Party. This was the big reason that more than a handful of nervous Democrats have relentlessly implored Biden to jump into the race. It's worth noting that Biden, during the long-running mostly media drama about whether he will or won't jump in, has publicly at least breathed not a single word about his intentions.

Biden is too savvy and experienced a politician to tip his hand on that score. But Hillary has had much to do with that and that has nothing to do with her sterling, near flawless performance at the first Democratic presidential debate. Clinton has had months to formally, and more months informally, to build a strong support base among Democratic Party state and local leaders, corralled endorsements from labor and education unions, a slew of top Democratic Party congresspersons and senators, as well as state and local elected officials. She has secured a king's ransom campaign war chest, and locked down support among many black, Hispanic, LGBT and women's group leaders and organizations.
She's done something else that Biden has had to take note of. The rants, hectoring, harangue, and Inquisition-type, near hysterical efforts by the Republican National committee; a gaggle of ultra-conservative Super PACS; the parade of right-wing bloggers and websites; and witch-hunting GOP-controlled congressional committees on Benghazi -- as well as her State Department emails -- have collapsed in disarray. Then a candid admission from GOP congressman Kevin McCarthy that the hearings were a blatant politically hatched effort to derail her presidential candidacy.
There's also Bernie Sanders. His challenge to Clinton is both healthy and real. However, he's still miles back of her in the percentage of those who say they'll back him in the key Southern and Western primaries that will come this spring.
Then there are both the polls and Biden's past performances as an actual presidential candidate. Polls show him lagging Sanders, and badly lagging Clinton in Democratic voter support.
Biden has proven less than a stalwart pillar of Democratic strength on the campaign trail in his two prior residential efforts. In 1988 he was dogged by accusations of plagiarism and fabrication in his speeches and self-aggrandizing references to his past. He soon dropped out of the race.
In 2008 he did even worse and didn't get a single percentage point in the first out the box Democratic presidential Iowa caucus balloting. He quickly dropped out the race.
There's also not a whole lot to separate Biden from Clinton on. They are cut from the same political cloth: consummate party insiders, have a moderate centrist stance on the issues, and appeal to the same batch of like-minded Democratic core voters -- not to mention the top cat Democratic Party donors. In other words, Biden fishes from the same Democratic Party stream as Clinton; the difference is she's been at it a lot longer, and has done it a whole lot better.
There's no evidence that Biden, if he chooses to run, can do any better than Clinton in parrying off the assaults from the GOP over his gaffes, the hip lock with Obama, and his abysmal failures to mount any kind of credible, sustained campaign the times he was an actual presidential candidate. Worse, there's not much difference between Biden and Clinton on the big ticket issues from health care to foreign policy.
GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina gave a tip-off of the venom the GOP would throw at Biden when she lambasted him on a popular talk show as being "lashed" to Obama's supposedly failed economic and foreign policy initiatives. The GOP will go at him hammer and fist on the Iran nuclear deal that Obama cut and will viciously tar him as a candidate who put America's security at risk by cheerleading the deal. So other than a name change, Biden brings little to the top Democratic spot.
That's not to say that a Biden candidacy wouldn't add another colorful element to the hunt for the Democratic presidential nomination. He just won't add much more to it beyond that. Finally, Biden would not be jumping into the Democratic Party presidential race to rescue the Party from a supposed pack of languid, uninspiring, and hopelessly failed and flawed contenders. Clinton, Sanders, and even Martin O'Malley hardly fit that description. Biden would just add another name to the list and a name that will carry its own set of baggage.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of Torpedoing Hillary: The GOP Plan to Stop a Clinton White House (Amazon ebook). He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network

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