In an extended, and sometimes poignant interview with Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show,” Vice President Joe Biden discussed the loss of his son, Beau, and calls for his tossing his hat ring for president. Joe Biden is no doubt a really nice man and loving father and husband but even he expressed doubt last night that he has the heart, the soul or the energy to make that run.
“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president; and two, they can look at folks out there and say, ‘I promise you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion,'” he told comedian Stephen Colbert in an interview on CBS’ “The Late Show.”
“I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there. I’m being completely honest,” Biden continued. “Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are.”
As Charles Pierce at Esquire Politics put it, “it was powerful television, but it doesn’t mean he should run for president.”
This is a guy who already had more tragedy than a merciful god would have allowed and that was before his son, Beau, died earlier this year. Of course, the man broke down. The wonder is that he ever gets out of bed in the morning. What he should do is continue as best he can to be the finest vice-president of my lifetime. What he should not do in his current state of emotional turmoil is run for president. [..]
Joe Biden shouldn’t run for president because he shouldn’t do it to himself. He has earned a unique place in the country’s heart, which is a far warmer place for him as a human being than shivering in some cornfield outside Ottumwa in the cold winter winds. A presidential campaign is a soulless mechanism designed to grind the human spirit into easily digestible nuggets. Moments of profound personal pain and loss are as unavoidable as are concussions in the NFL. It was almost unbearable to watch him speak of his son’s death even to someone as profoundly compassionate as Colbert. I would hate to see him coin that grief into political currency, or fashion it into a portion of a stump speech that would become banal the second time it was delivered. I think, at some level, he would come to hate himself for having to do that. It’s not that I wouldn’t vote for Joe Biden, though I probably wouldn’t. It’s that I don’t want to see him hurt any more.
Like Charlie, I admire Biden as a person but he is as hawkish as Hillary and just as friendly to Wall Street and the banks as Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. His record as a senator would hurt him just as Hillary’s is hurting her, the nonsensical e-mail tempest aside. The Democratic Party needs to stop tacking right and embrace the popular policies of Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).