I know it’s only half-serious, but still, one of the better commentaries I’ve seen about the Democratic presidential field (actual and potential) was offered by an unnamed correspondent with WaMo Contributing Editor James Fallows, who published the bon mot at the Atlantic:

Why is Chafee running? Or, more accurately, for what is he running?

My understanding is:

* Hillary’s running for President.

* Sanders is running to make an argument, to pull the Democrats away from becoming the Grand Old (but Sane!) Party. I think he’s also very eager to make the point that the Democrats should use their tech and communications advantage pervasively, not simply for fundraising and GOTV, and that’s a message he can deliver by running for president without winning anything.

* Biden is “running” as Hillary’s VP pro tem through November 2016; if something happened to Hillary or if she had decided that she just couldn’t face two years of this, Biden would be there.

O’Malley is running for a cabinet position, or a job.

* Webb is running to be one of the founders of a new center-right party that could grow out of the ashes of the Republican party. He’s running to be John C. Fremont. See also Jon Huntsman.

But Chafee? He was adorable last night, aside from his vote to repeal Glass-Steagall, a question he fumbled so terribly you’ve got to wonder if that was intentional. But what does he want that being a candidate could help him get?

I don’t know, but I love the comment about Biden, and think the slam at Webb is at least half-earned.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.