Sunday , May 19 2024
Is it time for Vice President Joe Biden to enter the POTUS 2016 race and challenge Hillary Clinton? Vote in our poll.

POTUS 2016 Poll: Should Joe Biden Challenge Hillary Clinton?

The political question of the day? Should Vice President Joe Biden enter the 2016 POTUS foray and challenge up-till-now presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton? As we speak, the Vice President is weighing his duty to run, his desire to be President, the likelihood of a successful run (after two unsuccessful bids), and the grief still weighing heavily on his heart. Not to mention the practicality of entering the race long after the chessboard appears to be set. But I’d love to see him in the game. Really. Because his country (or at least his party) needs him. Why?Should Biden enter the Dems POTUS race?

Hillary’s Heavy Baggage

I’ve never been 100 percent comfortable with Hillary Clinton as candidate. It’s not that I think she’d be a bad POTUS. And I’d certainly vote for her over any of the Republican choices, and without hesitation. But I’d like an alternative. I don’t want to see the Democrats’ chance to hold on the White House frittered away because Hillary is anointed.

I think the problems that Clinton bring to the 2016 presidential race are of two kinds. First, I think if she’s the nominee, all the Swift Boating we’ve seen in past races will pale in comparison to what will befall Secretary Clinton. They’ll be like the wasps of autumn buzzing endlessly around every bit of baggage she brings to the race. Vicious and aggressive, a blitzkrieg of attack after attack ad infinitum. This is not her fault, let me emphasize. But, as we have seen, the way she handles attacks and her critics is a problem for her.

The email “scandal” (and whether it’s a “real” scandal or another Benghazi remains to be seen) is a case in point. For weeks, she’s brushed off questions and critics, defensive and/or sarcastic (or both) in her responses, seeming to ignore the fact that this is (at least) a political issue for her. The way she’s handled this whole affair is what really worries me about Clinton. In a year that seems to scream for openness and forthrightness, Clinton is caught acting too much the politician, and not enough the passionate advocate who will change the way government will respond to the issues now killing our country. The candidate who will deal head on with climate change, gun control, poverty, institutional racism, income inequality, and our crumbling infrastructure.

Feeling the “Bern”

I love Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). My politics line up with his very closely (Okay, so I’m an admitted Leftie). He’s badgered by the “Socialist” label. But when most people think “Socialist,” they have visions of the USSR dancing in their collective heads, and not Sanders’ Socialist Democrat side of the coin–the one that lines up pretty closely with the ideology of many Americans, and is the underpinning of most Western democracies, including Canada, the U.K., Israel, Scandanavia, and much of the rest of Europe.

But, realistically, I don’t think Sanders is “electable,” at least not in the current political climate. He is not a left-wing Trump, however, as some in media have characterized him. He’s a knowledgeable, savvy, politician, successful at governance. I remember voting for a similarly progressive candidate in my very, very first election–George McGovern, who in the midst of the Vietnam war could not beat Richard Nixon in 1972. The memory still sends shivers down my back. (And I still have my “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for McGovern” lapel button!) So, as much as I’d love to #FeelTheBern (and I do), my pragmatic side says, “Not to be.”

The other candidates? Who are they, again?

So that brings us back to Biden

Yes, he’s elderly. Yes, he’s tried this before (twice). But he’s served eight years in the White House, a heartbeat away from the very successful presidency of President Barak Obama. Yes, Biden speaks his mind, gaffes galore, but this year–2015–that might not matter very much. It makes him “real” and much more of a regular guy than a veteran politician. But it gives him the air of authenticity. Bernie has it; so does this political iteration of “The Donald.” Joe Biden is middle class from a working class family. He’s a liberal with a track record of reaching across the aisle. As he agonizes over the decision, he more and more might be viewed as the war-weary, reluctant leader, stepping up to the role one last time to fix what ails us.

As I write this, Biden is scheduled to meet with the national union leadership, and the “Draft Biden” movement is now in nearly all 50 states. Earlier this week, he met with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the bastion of Democrats progressive wing. Yet, we still don’t know. Anything for sure.

“If I were to announce to run I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul and right now, both are pretty well banged up,” he said yesterday in a DNC conference call. He added that he must decide whether he still has the “emotional fuel” to mount a successful challenge.

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About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (

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  1. I am supporting Hillary but if she were to drop out (unlikely and I think the email “scandal” has already peaked and is going away) I would not support Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders would be my second choice. Biden is actually to the right of Clinton on many issues as part of the Obama administration. Hillary has moved in a more progressive direction (e.g., opposes arctic drilling, more ambitious goals on alternative energy, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, to name a few). Biden and Bernie are both too old, but at least Bernie is a true liberal. Biden supported the bankruptcy law put forth by the banks, co-wrote the 90s crime bill, and is just not that progressive.
    Hillary has my vote as long as she runs.

    • I agree totally. As to the argument that Hillary will be hit with more swift boating than any other candidate, I think she is the most prepared to deal with it. Ted Cruz made jokes about Biden only days after his son died. The Republicans will swift boat anyone.

      I love Bernie’s policies and I’m glad he’s in the race pushing Hillary to the left, which I think is where she is actually comfortable, but which she abandoned due to political considerations.

    • I don’t think it’s so much the scandal (non-scandal), but the defensiveness and dismissiveness she showed in response to it. She just seemed incredible tone-deaf that this was at least a political problem for her. I worry about that for the general election. I love Bernie. I have a FeelTheBern bumper sticker (I’ve not yet affixed it to my car), but wonder how he’ll fare in the general. True, Biden has a history of being a moderate and no liberal bastion. His best bet is the scenario wherein he teams with Warren and does a one term stint.