Vice President Joe Biden has “run for president twice before and didn’t miss by inches either time; he bombed.” Those runs, in 1988 and 2008, foundered early in the primaries. And Biden has hinted often about his desire to run again.
But what if he’s serious this time? What can we expect to see in a Biden 2016 campaign?
If 1988 is any indication, the Vice President may want to take better care in choosing who’ll guide him along the trail.
…[C]ritics say his campaign seems unable to settle on a message, shifting from one transcendent theme to another.
Likely they meant Biden’s sonorous speeches about “the Democratic party and its commitment to equality of opportunity,” or a grab-bag of issues, ranging from “American idealism and the revolution in superconductivity and the failures of the Reagan Administration’s policy in the Persian Gulf…. Mr. Biden himself says all the talk of message and strategy only complicates a process that’s ”not like making rockets.’”
Words to thrill any campaign handler. The New York Times said that the Biden team in 1988 “made a strategic blunder by promoting Mr. Biden’s oratorical abilities, raising expectations that can only sometimes be met.”
That’s come to be a recurring theme with him, hasn’t it?
Let’s peer into the future. In his next campaign, Biden might brag that he could easily beat his political foes in a touch-football game, even after a long day of laboring in the mines. Or express utter amazement, during debates, at Marco Rubio’s English-speaking skills.
But how can we know what’s possible, without looking at how the public feels about our potential candidate. So, where does the Vice President stand today? According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center:
Forty-two percent of people have a favorable impression of Biden, and 42 percent have an unfavorable impression of him.
That’s the lowest favorability rating of any recent vice-president “around the time they started their second terms.”
Why? Not Biden’s verbal gaffes, says Michael Dimock, Pew’s director, but his increasing partisanship. Events like this aren’t likely to help that any.
Which is a shame, since who doesn’t love Biden when he nails a zinger: