Biden’s Running! Unless He’s Not Running!

It figures that the penultimate Biden’s Running! story comes from Mike “Win the Morning” Allen of Politico, who begins with the trumpet blare of a scoop:

He’s finally close. Confidants of Vice President Joe Biden expect him to make a decision next weekend, or shortly thereafter, on whether to launch an epic battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Several people who have visited Biden recently said he seems to be leaning “yes.”

“Nothing he has heard in the past couple of months has deterred him,” said one Democrat close to the process.

A former Senate colleague of Biden’s said, after visiting the vice president, “He loves what he does, and he has a great deal of confidence that he could contribute in a meaningful way. He’s willing to face, ultimately, having his final political expedition be a defeat.”

Ah, but then Allen starts hedging, and before you know it, the confident trumpets become the kazoo orchestra of mere rumors and guesswork:

One longtime friend said the long windup — and the fact that no staff has been hired — tells its own story.

Huh. Didn’t I just read at CNN last week that campaign managers had been lined up for all the early states? Could it be that was just another assertion by the five or six Draft Biden blind quote machines who have been more or less making stuff up for months? But somebody didn’t get the memo:

“If you’re going to run, you run,” the friend said. “Every time he pushes back a decision, that’s the ultimate tell.”

A third recent Biden visitor said: “I can’t see how he can wake up one morning and think some big tidal wave sweeps him in. The raw politics just aren’t there.”

After describing their hunches, friends and advisers almost universally added that they remain unsure which way he’ll go.

But there will be a big announcement any day now, right?

The confidants say the most likely scenario for a decision is a family council next weekend. But these sources note that the timing will be driven completely by Biden, and he has proved to be ever-unpredictable as he contemplated a race.

Under that scenario, Biden would begin calling friends with his decision next Monday, the day before the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13, which he had already decided to forgo. If the decision is a “go,” the announcement could be delayed as advisers begin assembling a campaign.

In other words, Mike Allen doesn’t have any idea at all what Biden’s going to do. But he “won the morning” by suggesting otherwise, didn’t he?

And yes, I just have to publish this video again, which is becoming painfully appropriate to all the Biden speculation:

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.