When I saw Jules Witcover's "Biden 2016? It could happen" in this morning's Washington Post my brain somehow assumed the absent How it could happen--that Witcover had divined the secret strategy by which this most human of all vice presidents could reignite a kind of Obama Redux against the Clinton Wrecking Machine and secure the next Democratic presidential nomination.
That Biden wants it, there's no doubt. That Biden will seek it--through at least behind-the-scenes maneuvering, if not a primary brawl--is almost as certain. That Biden could win it?--that he could overshadow "the looming specter of Hillary Clinton," as Witcover puts it, "Or Mark Warner. Or Martin O’Malley. Or Andrew Cuomo"? Those final three Biden could dispatch with some ease, I think, especially Warner and O'Malley. Cuomo is problematic but beatable. But lightning won't strike Clinton down twice.
Her advantages are as self-evident as they are widely rehashed, and they would have serviced her triumph in 2008 had it not been for that most egregious, preexisting mistake of her political career, her Iraq war vote. That issue, to most folks, though, is now deader than Marley, plus Clinton will possess four redemptive years of universal acclaim as Obama's secretary of state.
Next time, Hillary Clinton will be unstoppable. And assuming she preemptively secures the Democratic money network, she'll be unopposable.
My grudge toward the pols who supported that vastly ill-advised, hideously idiotic Iraq war--a grudge not toward those simply too stupid to know better, but too demagogically clever, or so they thought, to oppose it--has mitigated but little. Biden, with his eyes on the White House, joined the jingoists, but at least Biden later apologized. That humble act, Clinton has always refused. And I can't quite get over it.
Still, there's something else that restrains my Clinton enthusiasm--that being this dynastic grinder in which we as a political nation seem to be caught. In 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2004 there was a Bush on every presidential ticket; we had a Clinton either on one or running strong in 1992, 1996, 2008, and will again, it seems, in 2016--a year that will just as inevitably see yet another Bush on the ticket. Egads, I just realized that Chelsea will be 40 in 2020--five years delinquent in her constitutional availability. If her mother's elected in 2016 and then reelected, Chelsea will just have to wait her turn--against, no doubt, another Bush--in 2024.
If only Jules Witcover had revealed "How it could happen"--how Joe Biden, our most human of all vice presidents, could have a realistic shot at the 2016 nomination.