The Biden Campaign: One Hand Clapping

I just love the way this stuff is being reported right now:

Vice President Joe Biden has extended his window for deciding whether to jump into the 2016 presidential campaign, several Democrats say, allowing the contest to play out even longer before he answers one of the biggest questions hanging over the race for the White House.

He is not preparing for the first Democratic debate on October 13 in Las Vegas and is not expected to participate, people close to him say, because he feels no pressure to reach a decision by then. He is likely to reveal his plans in the second half of October.

That’s from CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, and you don’t need any crib notes from me to notice that he’s reporting lack of activity as activity and Biden’s continuing stasis as a plan “he is likely to reveal” on down the road.

The speculation about Biden’s future has reached a fever pitch, fueled by Democrats searching for an alternative to Hillary Clinton or a backup plan in case her candidacy falters. But with every passing week, many Democrats close to Biden are hardening in their beliefs that he will ultimately decide against challenging Clinton and the rest of the party’s field.

I will observe that there’s somebody other than Democrats fueling the “speculation” about Biden that has “reached a fever pitch:” Republicans looking for any sign of HRC weakness, and of course, the MSM, which has let itself be played by the Draft Biden people, all three or four of them, into thinking the campaign is right there at the failsafe point, loaded with money and volunteers and just awaiting word from The Chief.

Why isn’t Biden squelching all this talk if, as even Zeleny reports, the people closest to him don’t think he’s going to run? Well, for one thing, a career pol who’s run twice for the presidency is probably constitutionally incapable of turning away the attention. And then there’s always the chance something really weird happens to HRC’s campaign early next year–you know, like Bernie Sanders emerging as a real threat to win the nomination, which would certainly panic Democratic elites.

For now, though, all this noise about Biden ’16 is like the old zen koan about the sound of one hand clapping. If you really hear it, it’s probably in your head.

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.