Put your head to the ground and listen intently.
Those of us who are interested in such things are beginning to hear the faint thumping of feet. They’re the soldiers, so to speak, who want to see one more prominent Democrat enter the 2016 presidential primary campaign.
That would be Vice President Joe Biden.
Before you dismiss it as so much mindless chatter, I’d like to remind you of a few things about the vice president.
* First, he’s not a young man. He’s 72 and will be 73 when the campaign gets revved up next year, the same age that President Reagan was when he was re-elected in 1984. Biden has always wanted to be president and this represents his last chance to go for the gusto.
* Second, he and the president, Barack Obama, have formed a remarkable relationship during their two terms together. Did you notice their embrace during the memorial service for the vice president’s son, Beau, who died a few weeks ago of brain cancer? Did you also notice the kiss-on-their-cheeks the men exchanged after that man-hug? Only true friends do that in public.
* Third, their relationship puts the president in a highly unusual bind. Then again, it’s been stated time and again that Barack Obama and the Clintons — Hillary and Bill — aren’t exactly close. Yes, the president has spoken highly of Hillary Clinton’s work as secretary of state and, yes again, President Clinton delivered that stirring 2012 oration in Charlotte, N.C., extolling the president’s signature domestic accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act. But you get the feeling deep down there’s a reservoir of mistrust. Might that feeling get in the way of the president endorsing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination?
* Fourth, the vice president — for all his well-known tendency to speak a little too freely and casually at times — is a foreign policy expert. He has built tremendous relationships with foreign dignitaries — from kings and queens on down to minister-level functionaries. He knows the ropes.
* Fifth, Joe Biden also has great friendships with many members of Congress — in both chambers and on both sides of the political divide. Those lawmakers with whom he has these friendships is dwindling, as many of them are retiring and are being replaced by whippersnappers with zero institutional knowledge of the relationships built between Congress and the White House. Thirty-six years in the U.S. Senate bought the vice president a lot of clout in the upper congressional chamber.
Maureen Dowd of the New York Times recounts a moment near the end of Beau Biden’s life that perhaps speaks to the urges that might be pushing the vice president toward one more effort to reach the brass ring.
I, of course, have no knowledge of what the vice president will do. Others are reporting that his team is “ramping up” its activities with the hope of launching a presidential campaign.
But from my perch out here in Flyover Country — where a Biden candidacy wouldn’t necessarily be welcomed — I think I would enjoy seeing this man mix it up with his party’s presumed 2016 frontrunner and the three men seeking to have their voices heard.
Run, Joe, run!