Viewpoint

Run, Joe, run!

A Joe Biden candidacy might at least make Hillary Clinton tackle some tough issues.
A Joe Biden candidacy might at least make Hillary Clinton tackle some tough issues. AFP/Getty Images

There aren’t many people who think Vice President Joe Biden could be elected president. But he is said to be thinking about running because Hillary Clinton is conducting a terrible campaign, and Biden’s beloved son Beau urged his father to run before he died of brain cancer.

If Biden can stomach it, he should run because he would make the Democratic race more interesting, and he would make Clinton a better candidate.

With the Republican race currently Trumpified, the American people are getting short shrift. Too few candidates are talking seriously about issues that really matter – including Clinton.

She refuses to give her views on matters like the pending trade deal and Keystone XL pipeline on grounds that it is up to the Obama administration. She parrots the phrase “Black lives matter,” which is the same as saying “Honesty is the best policy.” Well, duh. But we’re still waiting for a bold vision from her on anything.

Obama has done some good things for this country but has not been able to convince people of that. Biden, unbridled from being a loyal back bencher, could more forcefully defend the administration and express his thoughts on what it has failed to do.

This election should be a referendum on the last eight years and a national discussion on where we want to be headed.

That independent senator Bernie Sanders has a cult following among progressives should not be a surprise. But Sanders cannot be elected president. It is clear that Clinton does not take him seriously and that she has no intention of moving to the left, which would be a disaster for her in 2016.

Maryland’s former Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Gov. and Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia are all nice-guy Democrats, but they have no traction. Biden has more clout.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll indicates that Americans are worried about their economic future in a global economy that is leaving the middle class behind. We need to hear Biden’s views on why 65 percent of those surveyed insist the country is on the wrong track. That is worse than similar sentiment during peak years of dissatisfaction with George W. Bush’s presidency.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida is slipping fast in the polls. It’s looking like another Bush/Clinton slugfest in 2016, but you can hear the national sigh of disappointment.

Most worrisome to Democrats should be the lackluster and flawed campaign Clinton is running. Americans want a candidate of optimism, not one mired in past scandals and unanswered questions. Nor one who can’t shake a cloak of arrogance.

Biden may lack charisma but he has been heavily involved in the mechanics of government for decades and should be able to answer any questions we put to him. This may well be an anti-establishment, anti-Washington election. But for now we say, bring it on, Joe. Let’s talk.

Ann McFeatters is a columnist for Tribune News Service.

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