|Biden Eyes 2016, But Hillary is the Better Bad Bet|
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, January 23 2013
With outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taking heat from Congress over the Benghazi scandal, many Democrats are looking to Vice President Joe Biden as a possible heir apparent to Barack Obama’s legacy.
Biden is courting the change in tune.
A well-sourced Politico article reports that Biden used the long weekend celebrating Obama’s second inauguration to woo top donors, activists and influence peddlers. Those in attendance ranged from the famous – like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – to the relatively obscure – such as political kingmakers in early nominating states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Throughout the networking blitz, the various attendees reached the same conclusion: Biden wants to run for President in 2016.
At this early stage in the process, he’s in the best position.
“Sheriff Joe” has been deputized by Obama to be the point man for several major initiatives since the pair took office. The two biggest entries on Biden’s vice presidential resume are as the accountability czar for the Recovery Act’s stimulus funds, and the man who put together the gun control package announced last week.
Never mind that Biden’s contributions to both amounted to little more than acting as a rubber stamp for prearranged outcomes. His association with two of Obama’s signature policies is enough to get him past first base with most in the Democratic Party.
Even Biden’s gaffe-prone cheerleading helps solidify his claim to Obama’s mantle. Though ObamaCare’s 2,000 plus pages bear none of his fingerprints, Biden encapsulated what many liberals believe when he was caught on a hot mic saying the government takeover of health care was, “A big f---ing deal.” And while preempting Obama’s announcement to support gay marriage may have angered the President, Biden’s loose lips made him a leader on the issue in his party.
Seemingly, all that stands in the way of Biden locking up the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is a bad end to Obama’s second term.
That’s where Hillary Clinton comes in. Her 69 percent public approval rating as Secretary of State will no doubt take a hit in the wake of intense questioning about the terrorist attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi that resulted in four American deaths. And yes, she will carry some baggage into the future for taking personal responsibility for the security lapses; a mea culpa that prompted Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to say that had he been Clinton’s boss, “I would have relieved you of your post.”
But the Benghazi fiasco isn’t a clear-cut case of Cabinet-level malfeasance, like Fast and Furious is for Attorney General Eric Holder. Nor is it similar to the straightforward abuse of process and crony capitalism like Solyndra and other boondoggles associated with Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Instead, the Benghazi killings are obscured in a tangle of semi-secret dealings between the CIA and State Department, with a bizarre love triangle involving the disgraced David Petraeus thrown in for good measure.
Ultimately, Clinton will benefit from all this. Opponents won’t be able to tie her neatly to a scandal that has no obvious scapegoat. Four years from now, Hillary will have had ample time to focus exclusively on mounting a presidential campaign and cementing her status as America’s most powerful female politician. Moreover, all of the signature issues Biden will lay claim to can easily be co-opted by the most convincing liberal in the Clinton family.
Biden, on the other hand, seems destined to be mired in a series of ugly confrontations with Congress due to Obama’s insistence on executive action rather than legislative compromise. Tied to an increasingly irrelevant President as the years tick by, Biden will look every bit the blustering, out-of-touch, political retread he actually is.
Ole’ Joe might have a leg up on Clinton only if the nation’s economy and employment rate improves by the end of Obama’s second term.
It’s true that a majority of Americans reelected Obama with bad economic numbers. Today’s 7.8 percent joblessness rate is exactly the same as it was when Obama first took office four years ago. Overall, the number of Americans with no work or not enough work is 14.4 percent, when categories for part-time workers wanting full-time work and those too discouraged to look for jobs are added to the mix.
The fervor for Obama – and the featherlike treatment he gets for presiding over the Great Recession – will not transfer to Biden. The only way the Vice President will ride the boss’s coattails into the White House is if the economy and the number of jobs grow over the next four years.
But with Obama promising in his second inaugural address to focus on liberal priorities like global warming instead of job creation, don’t expect Biden to get help where he needs it most.
After eight years of annual trillion dollar budget deficits and incessant fighting over social issues, don’t be surprised if Hillary convinces the Democratic Party that what it really needs is another Clinton to right the nation’s economic ship. By then, however, it’s an equally good bet that most voters will have had quite enough of any liberal experiments with our national leadership.
Related Articles :