A Stabilized Bid for the Democratic Presidential Nomination
August 25, 2015
Pilots know successfully landing a plane requires first, making all necessary preparations, which is called a stabilized approach. At some predetermined point before landing, pilots reach the correct speed, configure their landing gear and flaps, come to a normal glide path, and set their engines on the correct power. The failure to use a stabilized approach can lead to disaster or, at least, a damaged career.
According to recent media reports, Vice-President Joe Biden, is leaning toward running for President. When the New York Times first reported Mr. Biden was talking to advisors about another his third run for the Presidency, they said the reason was to honor the dying wishes of his late son, Beau. This is a noble reason for running, although somewhat more personal than the reasons usually given by those seeking the Presidential nomination.
The more recent reports indicate Mr. Biden’s interest in running for the Presidency is his belief Mrs. Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for the Presidency, would not be a good messenger for the Democratic message of social equality. While concerns about Democratic messaging is an appropriate public reason for seeking the Presidential nomination, it is unclear why Mr. Biden believes he is a better messenger than Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Biden certainly has less money than the Clintons; he also has less money than the President, Mr. Obama. The Clintons and Mr. Obama made millions by writing books and speaking. When he leaves public office, Mr. Biden will also be able to make millions by writing books and speaking. Both Biden and Clinton have been friendly to banks, he as a Senator from Delaware, and she as a Senator from New York.
The most effective messenger for narrowing the income and wealth gap between the rich and everyone else, this country has seen is President Franklin D. Roosevelt. What made him a successful messenger was the economic policy prescriptions that worked to achieve, not his impoverished background.
Whatever reasons Mr. Biden has for considering another run, there are several disturbing aspects about another run for the Presidency by Mr. Biden. Republicans, seeing their handpicked candidates swirling down drain, after being thoroughly hosed by Donald Trump, are desperately trying to mount a reasonable Presidential campaign, and perhaps, to save the Republican Party. The primary strategy Republicans have focused on is knocking Hillary Clinton out of the race or, at least, weakening her with a primary fight. Trumpeting the virtues Vice-President Biden or Senator Sanders is clearly a part of that strategy.
Unlike Senator Bernie Sanders, Mr. Biden has not fully prepared for a Presidential run. Senator Sanders concluded that, if elected, there were steps he could take to make this a better country. Then, Senator Sanders went around the country, including the former confederate states, now firmly Red, to see if there was interest and money to support his run. Finally, Senator Sanders, determined that, if not elected, his credible run could help build a progressive movement for 2020 and beyond.
Senator Sanders’s bid for the Democratic nomination seems to be considerably more stabilized than Vice-President Biden’s would be, should he decide make a run. Some unstabilized landings are successful, but like most things, preparation usually favors success.
In this case, success not only means winning the Democratic nomination and winning the general election, it also means contesting with Republicans in the Congress. Republicans in the Congress are simply not nice, open-minded policy-makers for whom a hug or policy explanation will persuade to listen to reason. Success may require brass knuckles. Which candidate will be most able to use them?