At long last, all of the unsolicited “Draft Biden 2016” emails can finally stop.
Vice President Joe Biden can finish his second term presiding over the Senate and being a key part of the Obama administration. There’ll be no onus of facing a third attempt to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Biden decided this week to stay out of the 2016 presidential race.
That was an incredibly wise thing to do.
The 72-year-old former senator from Delaware with the Jack Nicholson smile and the gift for gab has endured a lot — the recent death from cancer of his son Beau and all of the turmoil that goes with being in the White House for close to eight years.
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He probably got a taste of what running for president would be like these days with the recent flap over his comments on the slaying of Osama bin Laden. Biden said he had privately told President Barack Obama to go ahead with the May 2011 Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan after initially urging more caution at a Cabinet meeting.
From the blowup in the news media afterward, Biden, no doubt, could just envision himself in the hot seat like Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who faced another congressional grilling Thursday over Benghazi that lasted into the evening.
Biden, who was first elected to the Senate in 1972 at age 29, would likely confront a similarly hostile panel of Republican lawmakers demanding great details and paperwork on his and Obama’s involvement in the Navy SEAL operation against bin Laden.
It’s old news, but so is the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, involving Islamic militants who stormed the American diplomatic compound. U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was among the four Americans killed in the attack. The others were foreign service officer Sean Smith and two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty.
If Biden were to have entered the 2016 presidential race, the raid on bin Laden’s compound would have become new political dirt to be twisted and whipped about on talk shows and in congressional hearings by the Republicans. Politically, it would be like one of those massive sandstorms that occasionally assault Phoenix.
Biden would have little time or energy to talk about just what he would like to do for the country and the American people. He would be so swept up with commenting on the hearings.
It’s the 21st century method of dragging down a presidential candidate’s poll numbers. That was House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s take on the intended outcome of the Benghazi hearings on Clinton.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s standout performance in the Oct. 13 presidential debate closed the political back door to any new White House hopefuls. Some Democrats keeping it open were hoping that Biden would enter and be a more marketable candidate for the party. That was an unnecessary political tactic.
If Biden had taken the bait, it would have ended the Democrats’ chances of holding on to the White House and tanked their hopes of recapturing the House and Senate in 2016.
With the political speculation behind him, Biden now can finish his time with Obama and then relax, enjoy his family and bask in being an untarnished elder statesman.