}

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Joe was right

Today Vice President Joe Biden announced that he won’t run for president. I think he made the right decision for everyone, most especially himself.

In his announcement, Biden said, "Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time," and he was absolutely right: It’s too late for another candidate to join the Democratic field—money and volunteers are already being scooped up. Biden was also frank about how his grieving over the death of his son, Beau, is nowhere near over. He has every right to decide that for himself alone, and no one has any right to judge him for it. He needs to heal, and only he can determine when the healing has begun.

Joe has been an excellent vice president. The Democratic National Committee sent out an email today urging supporters to sign a card thanking Vice President Biden for his service (the image above is from that email). It was a nice gesture, one I take at face value. I added my name.

However, I’m not sure what, precisely he would have added apart from not being Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders, but, presumably, with enough name recognition to compete with them. He’s a bit more liberal on most things than Clinton, but less so than Sanders. If Clinton is thought of as an insider, then Biden is the epitome of an insider. If Sanders is the candidate confounding pundits, then Biden has made a career of that—and confusing them, too.

Biden was a little TOO close to Washington insiders for my taste, and a little too quick to side with big business. For those reasons, I definitely think that this was not the year for him to be running, not when voters are looking for change.

Even so, Biden has been good about a number of things. He prodded President Obama to support marriage equality, and whether that was accidental or planned doesn't really matter: It shifted the debate in the USA, and even helped win passage here in New Zealand. And sometimes even his turns as “Crazy Uncle Joe”, as pundits called him, we useful in clearing the air of the stench of Washington bovine excrement.

So, I like Joe—I even met him once, a long time ago. I think he’s been an outstanding Vice President, and I admire him personally. But I think his opting not to run for president is the best decision for all concerned.

All that aside, thanks, Joe. It’s been a grand ride.

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