My desire to see Vice President Joe Biden join the Democratic Party presidential primary race remains intact.
I want him to run and I want him to provide a serious challenge to presumed frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton.
However, I haven’t been around Washington, D.C., the way the writer of an attached blog — Carl Leubsdorf — has been, so I respect his notion that the vice president has some serious hurdles to clear in deciding whether to run.
Hurdle no. 3 jumps out at me. It’s Biden’s presidential campaign track record.
Does he want to be known as someone who’s tried three times to get his party’s nomination, only to fall flat on his face? I doubt it. His ego won’t allow it.
I mention his ego because of something the late Sen. George McGovern — for whom I cast my first vote for president in 1972 — once wrote. He said the first thing a successful politician needs is a massive ego. That’s where it starts, he said.
I am betting Joe Biden’s ego doesn’t take a back seat to anyone else’s.
He once sought the 1988 Democratic nomination, but got derailed before the primaries began when it was revealed that he had lifted huge portions of his stump speech from a British pol, Neil Kinnock. Americans laughed at the then-senator from Delaware as a copy-cat.
He ran again in 2008, but got swamped by Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama then rewarded his former foe by picking him to run for vice president — and then after the election he turned to the other rival, Clinton, and appointed her secretary of state.
Hillary Clinton has enlisted an enormous political army to assist her. Biden is facing a serious challenge in getting up to speed relatively late in the primary game.
The ego thing well might prevent him taking the leap a third time.
Unless … something happens to Clinton’s presumed invincibility. As Leubsdorf writes:
“But a more realistic path for him to become the Democratic nominee might be to avoid a divisive fight, back Clinton and, if any of several ticking time bombs sinks her candidacy, step in then to save the Democratic day.”
That, indeed, would provide plenty of balm for the vice president’s ego.