Why not Joe? Clinton should consider Biden for VP.

It’s gotten to that point in the election cycle where candidates are starting to think about who their running mate is going to be. It feels a bit early, especially on the Republican side where the race hasn’t clearly been decided yet, but that’s where we are.

According to the New York Times, a “cautious but confident” Hillary Clinton has begun the process of narrowing down her picks, starting from a list of 15 to 20 names that includes at least one woman. As Clinton adviser Anita Dunn explained, “There is some precedent for having a running mate of the same gender,” so it shouldn’t be considered at all weird to see an Elizabeth Warren or Kirsten Gillibrand on Clinton’s short list. Seems legit.

However, there is one name that has curiously been kept out of the veepstakes discussion, and I’m not sure why. We’ve heard vice presidential speculation about figures ranging from Tim Kaine to Julian Castro to John Hickenlooper to Deval Patrick, but we have heard no indication that Clinton may be considering Joe Biden as her running mate.

This feels, to me, like a bit of a shame.

Seriously, why not Joe? There’s no rule that puts term limits on the vice presidency, and our current vice president seems to be doing a fine job. As far as the politics are concerned, he is well-liked by the progressive base and he’s already been thoroughly vetted — to say nothing of already carrying near-universal name recognition nationally. On the policy front, he has close ties to Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle and he’s played a crucial role in high-level foreign policy negotiations during the Obama presidency.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were considering Joe Biden as a potentially serious candidate for the presidency itself. Many of his political strengths line up with Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses, which means that adding him to the ticket could help blunt them. What’s more, while he did previously rule out running for president, saying that he couldn’t give it the 110% needed in order to win, he has also said that he regrets that decision “every day.” If offered, he would definitely be up for getting back on the campaign trail. He clearly feels that he has more to offer, especially considering that he has said he plans on staying involved in the political process even if he doesn’t hold office.

Finally, and most importantly, it seems as though Biden is a one-to-one match with Clinton’s criteria for a vice presidential pick. From the Times again:

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Joe Biden, via Marc Nozell / Flickr

Mrs. Clinton has offered general guidance as her team begins the search: She cares less about ideological and personal compatibility than about picking a winner, someone who can dominate the vice-presidential debate and convince Americans that Mrs. Clinton is their best choice.

She also wants a partner who is unquestionably qualified for the presidency and would help create the strongest contrast with the Republican ticket, which could be dogged by questions about Donald J. Trump’s fitness for the presidency or Senator Ted Cruz’s unbending conservatism, according to those interviewed. And she wants someone who could be an effective attack dog against either candidate.

Joe Biden is 2-0 in vice-presidential debates, having taken both Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan to school in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Any questions about his qualifications to be president have long since been answered. What’s more, he is already serving as President Obama’s attack dog against Trump, Cruz and the GOP more generally. Hillary Clinton has cast her prospective presidency as protecting and building on President Obama’s legacy. What better way to represent that than by replacing Obama’s vice president with, well, Obama’s vice president?

None of this constitutes a full case for Biden’s third term as VP. He isn’t from a swing state; he may be too old; just because there isn’t a rule against three-term vice presidents, that doesn’t mean the voters will like the idea. Still, it’s at least a bit odd that he isn’t part of the conversation. He’s too qualified and too well-suited for the role to completely ignore.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • idendoit

    Even before she resigned from the Senate, Babs Boxer entered the political dialog around the Presidential election and has been giving input ever since.. She holds some liberal views but she is a war monger extraordinaire. I believe her hubby is a consigliore for arms dealers. She’s my bet for HRC’s VP pick.

  • ECarpenter

    Clinton is old – we need a younger VP, someone charismatic who is also capable of taking over should she become incapacitated.

  • Krusher

    What the fuck does it matter?

  • Krusher

    In that picture Sanders looks like Il Duce, if he’d lived that long. Or Eva Peron.

  • Krusher

    I got no problem w/Uncle Joe as veep, but I bet he’s sick and goddam tired of the job by now.

  • dcinsider

    I agree that as a minimum he should be part of the conversation unless he absolutely rules out the possibility.

    However, below Becca and Naji Pallida make the point that the ticket should be forward looking, and I agree. She’s probably better off with Castro or someone of his generation. If she goes old, she should go with Bernie. :)

  • Gabriel

    Billary

  • Gabriel

    Oh Shillary

  • andtoconclude

    I like Joe. Like him a lot. But even if Hillary picks him to be VP, I still won’t vote for her. Joe should not agree to it. She tarnishes everything she touches.

  • Michael Allen

    “…there is one name that has curiously been kept out of the veepstakes discussion, and I’m not sure why.” Surely you jest. And your brief bio says that your graduated with high honors? Perhaps it’s your youth.

  • Bush and Cheney were from the same state so Cheney changed is “residence” to Wyoming (where he had lived in the past) to make that work. Clinton could “move” back to Illinois or Arkansas. This is an easily solvable problem.

    Traditionally, nominees looked for regional balance on the ticket. It was unusual in 1992 for Clinton to pick a veep from a neighboring state. But since candidates can’t guarantee their state any more (neither Romney nor Ryan carried their home states in 2012), I’m not sure that matters any more.

  • I have no objection to four more years of Joe as veep, but if Clinton is the nominee she will need to make a peach offering to the Sanders supporters and the traditional way to do that is to pick someone that represents the other major faction of the party for that slot. Warren’s name is floated a lot although I think she’s far more effective as a Senator than she could be as VP. But someone like that will be her best choice (or at least someone popular with the same voters).

  • Lorilweaver2

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  • Only pretty solid rumors – I’ve heard enough to be almost certain he’s a gay.

  • emjayay

    Corey has always seemed gayish, now that you mention it, but also seemed to me to be a black metrosexual, which may be indisingishabe from actually gay. Any more on this?

  • What a cruel joke to play on a person.

  • hiker_sf

    While I love Biden’s personality, he’s from our own “Panama” – Delaware, a state that helps companies avoid paying taxes. Come to think if it, maybe he is a good match for Clinton. Together, they can continue help the wealthy fleece the middle class.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Is there any reason Trump can’t run as VP on the Dem ticket as well as on the GOP ticket? I mean, that’s as big a guarantee for Hillary as possible, and a good hedge for Trump, right? He’d never want to be second banana and it’s also a guarantee he’d lose the general election, but it could happen..

  • As much as I think Biden is a likable guy, I just don’t see it happening. The VP choice needs to be looking forward, not back, and Clinton needs to actively stand on her own without a shadow from previous administrations. But really, above all the VP choice needs to be someone who will appeal to younger Democrats, those who need that extra incentive to actually get out and vote. As well, the choice needs to appeal to those people who are less than enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton to begin with. I don’t think Biden really offers either of those things; if he was chosen it would be a giant flag saying “More of the same!” and serve to actively suppress the vote. Honestly, I’m surprised names like Cory Booker and Gavin Newsom haven’t really been thrown around much.

  • Interesting thought, but if Clinton wants to have her own presidency, she needs to make her own choices, not retreads from the previous administration. Joe’s a great guy (mostly…I still haven’t forgiven him for his appalling treatment of Anita Hill), but he doesn’t really bring anything to the table in terms of electoral advantages. Other than being a familiar face.

  • Bill_Perdue

    They’d make a perfect pair. Biden is the former Senator from Bank of America and HRH HRC is the former Senator from Walmart.

    “Gotta Love it” would echo from the board rooms of Goldman Sachs, BofA and the mansions of Sam Waltons litter. They might even get the Koch brothers in on that.

    Biden is an anti-worker hypocrite of the worst kind. As the Senator from Bank of America he did what he was told to do by the banks. Biden’s Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 should have been renamed the Predatory Lenders Enabling act of 2005.

    His Bankruptcy Act made it much more difficult for workers and consumers to file for bankruptcy and erase debts to predatory lenders and was part of the bipartisan package that included Clintons signatures on NAFTA and the law deregulating predatory lending practices, the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act. Biden is a slick cold war liberal who morphed, like HRH HRC into an oil war liberal. He voted for the Paytriot Act and it’s renewal. He voted for DOMA.

  • HKAnders

    No, the 2016 Democratic nominee needs to be someone who will be a credible candidate for the top job in 2024. I love Joe, and I think he has done a fine job as VP, but he’s not that person.

  • I don’t think AmericaBlog understands how much the country wants change. Biden was a good VP, and he’s obviously a Bernie supporter more than a Hillary supporter, and it’s just time to move on. HRC should pick a populist running mate if she wants to get any of the younger vote or the Bernie or Bust movement. Warren probably wouldn’t run with her and Cory Booker would need to come out before he could run with her – although having him come out and run with her might be a good scenario.

  • goulo

    “There is some precedent for having a running mate of the same gender.”

    That was a good point, and clever. :)

  • judybrowni

    No, WTF Joe — AGAIN? Is the question.

  • Tangent: Clinton and Gillibrand are from same state so can’t be on same ticker per Constitution.

  • confusion

    This idea is very puzzling.. Hillarybots , REPENT!!! before it’s too late

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