According to Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine, the Clintons are ready to unleash unholy opposition research on Joe Biden if he decides to get into the race. Frankly, though, I don’t think they have much that Matt Yglesias hasn’t already unloaded on him. And if I were to make a similar list of Hillary and Bill’s heresies, missteps, and bad policies, it would look at a lot worse to the average Democratic voter.
After all, as Nate Cohn points out, Biden would almost definitely emerge as a stronger challenger to Clinton than Sanders. According to a new field poll out of California, 63% of likely Democratic primary voters want Joe Biden as an option on their ballot. Despite its size, California will likely have no impact on the nomination because their primary is scheduled for so late in the process, but it’s still worth mentioning that the biggest blue state is interested in a Biden candidacy.
I can understand why Ed Kilgore is growing impatient with Biden’s Hamlet routine, but I still think he should take his sweet time making a decision. The filing deadlines will begin soon, so a decision is not too far off.
Now, if you’re already solidly in Hillary’s camp, you don’t want Biden to run and I can understand the desire to try to scare him off. Poll after poll shows that Biden would take more of Clinton’s votes than Sanders’, and that would make for a longer, more expensive and perilous contest for the frontrunner. But I think the people who are obsessed with those numbers are putting the cart before the horse. The polls in New Hampshire are solidifying for Sanders. It’s to the point that articles have begun to emerge suggesting that Clinton should abandon her efforts in the Granite State because it’s a poor investment in a state she is destined to lose. I think that’s bad advice for several reasons, including that she’ll really want to win New Hampshire in the general should she have the opportunity to be the nominee. But there’s a problem here, and you shouldn’t try to dismiss it by suggesting that Vermont’s Bernie Sanders has some big home field advantage in New Hampshire. The two states are less alike than you might imagine. For one, New Hampshire is a swing state and Vermont is about as far away from a swing state as you can get. That ought to tell you something.
Frankly, I don’t care what numbers you look at, Clinton is underperforming and moving in the wrong direction. And if you want to look at those plain facts and argue that everyone should just get out of her way and stop making life difficult for her, then maybe you’re just overconfident about her skills and prospects.
[Cross-posted at Progress Pond]