Vilsack’s Slap in the Face to Joe Biden

Like everything else, it was eclipsed a bit by Donald Trump’s shenanigans in Iowa yesterday. But Hillary Clinton was endorsed for president by former Iowa governor and current Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (following pretty close on the heels of former Sen. Tom Harkin’s HRC endorsement).

You wouldn’t think Vilsack’s gesture would surprise anybody, since he endorsed HRC in 2008 after his own short-lived presidential campaign folded. But some of the coverage seems to be playing this as a slap in the face to Joe Biden, since Vilsack’s the first Obama Cabinet member to endorse Clinton, and we’re supposed to think Obama’s secretly egging Biden on, right?

But the journalists playing this angle seem, so far at least, to have missed a very rich angle: Vilsack (and his wife, Christie) were Biden supporters way back in 1988, when he briefly ran for president the first time. So this is really a slap in the face to an old friend. Or maybe Biden’s actually not running.

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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.