Suddenly, Joe Biden is everywhere. Are prospects for a 2016 run improving? (+video)
Vice President Joe Biden is leading the gun-control task force and also recently sealed the fiscal-cliff deal. It's possible that his old-school, backslapping style of politicking may be coming back in vogue.
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Liz Marlantes covers politics for the Monitor and is a regular contributor to the Monitor's political blog, DC Decoder.
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As U.S. News & World Report's Ken Walsh writes: "Americans in recent years have mostly elected Washington outsiders or fresh faces to the presidency, such as Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Being a Washington insider such as Biden no longer has much appeal in either major party."
But the recent health scare and hospitalization of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who's been widely regarded as the Democratic front-runner should she decide to enter the fray (though she's hardly a fresh face, either) has added a touch more uncertainty to the 2016 field. If Mrs. Clinton decides in the end not to run, then it becomes a wide-open race – with Biden's chances to win the nomination as good or better than anyone else's.
And it's possible that Biden's old-school, backslapping style of politicking may be coming back in vogue – in part because it stands as such a sharp contrast to what has become the chief criticism of his boss: the widespread lament, even from many Democrats, that Mr. Obama is too "aloof," "condescending," and generally too above-it-all to dirty his hands in the Washington mud pit.
That's why the image of Biden as a "closer" is a shrewd one for the veep's aides to circulate now – since it speaks to the general longing for Washington to get things done. Their guy may not be the flashy starting pitcher, as the analogy goes, but he's the one who ultimately wins the game.
It's true that Americans don't like the way Beltway politics are played. But electing someone who's reluctant to join the game can lead to nothing happening at all. With Washington gridlock seeming more and more intractable – even as the challenges facing the nation become more and more pressing – an old-fashioned dealmaker in chief like Biden may seem like just what the country needs.