Goosing a Ghost With a Draft Biden Campaign

When I saw the headline and subhed for Eleanor Clift’s latest Daily Beast column I thought at first I had stumbled on something from a year ago: “Are You Ready for President Biden?
Inside the long-shot effort to get the vice president on the ballot and stop Hillary’s coronation.”

But no: there’s the date, 05.19.15, this very day. But the dude running the “Draft Biden 2016″ SuperPac sounds like he’s lost in a time warp.

“I have nothing but respect for her (Hillary Clinton), but eight years ago, she was inevitable, and look what happened,” says the group’s executive director, Will Pierce. Er, no, Will, people have mostly stopped saying that after countless reminders of the vast difference in HRC’s positioning now and in 2008, when John Edwards had a big head start over her in Iowa and Barack Obama was obviously posing a huge challenge to her as well from the moment he announced. Another Draft Biden supporter complained to Clift about Clinton’s “coronation” this year. Um, has he not heard that Bernie Sanders has announced a candidacy, Martin O’Malley has announced his forthcoming announcement, and Jim Webb could still jump in? That’s a senior U.S. Senator, a two-term governor and mayor, and a former Senator and Cabinet member. If, as expected, HRC trounces all comers, it won’t be a “coronation” but a butt-kicking.

The weirdest thing about the columnn, though, is that Clift asserts Biden himself is actively weighing a candidacy:

[W]ith Hillary Clinton so dominant in the polls, Biden is hanging back, watching and waiting to see if maybe there’s an opening. He’s telling supporters in the early states that he’ll decide in the next four weeks, or by the end of summer.

Do you believe that? I don’t. But so long as the Draft Biden people can get journalists and pundits to buy into it, I guess it’s as good a way to spend one’s time as any other aimless pastime.

The reality is that Joe Biden’s presidential prospects depend strictly on something terrible happening to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. And you don’t run campaigns around that.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.