Subscribe

Is Joe Biden a secret Bernie Sanders supporter?

Joe Biden was quick to qualify his apparent preference for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton – his decision not to run for president appears to explain a lot.

  • close
    Vice President Joe Biden smiles after speaking at an event in Washington. Biden described Senator Bernie Sanders on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, as more authentic on economic inequality than Hillary Clinton.
    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Is Joe Biden an undeclared Bernie Sanders supporter? We ask that question because in a CNN interview broadcast Monday the vice president sure sounded like a secret member of the Feel the Bern club.

Talking with CNN’s Gloria Borger, Vice President Biden said that Senator Sanders is doing “a heck of a job” on the campaign trail. And he strongly backed the Vermont senator on the latter’s main issue, income inequality.

“Bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real, and he has credibility on it,” said Biden.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton is a newcomer to this issue, according to the VP. The implication: She’s a less authentic voice on the dangers of the concentration of wealth, a core concern of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

“It’s relatively new for Hillary to talk about that ... no one questions Bernie’s authenticity on those issues,” said Biden.

Biden has since “clarified” these statements, saying he intended no disrespect toward the former secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton has spent years focusing on foreign policy, Biden said Tuesday on NBC’s "Today", while inequality has been Sanders’s “mantra” since he leapt into the campaign.

But Biden perhaps protesteth too much. It’s no secret that he’s a liberal leaner, more inclined toward that faction that Howard Dean famously called the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” Those are the folks most excited about the white-haired, finger-pointing, New York-accented presidential contender from Vermont. They’re the ones who chant his signature lines, such as “break up the banks,” at rallies.

Nor is Biden the president of the United States. Barack Obama believes it’s unbecoming for the nation’s chief executive to endorse a Democratic candidate prior to the general election. But the VP may feel it’s OK for the second-in-command to at least hint at where his heart lies.

Plus, it’s clear Biden remains torn about not running for president himself. Earlier this month he said he regrets his decision to stay out “every day,” even though it remains the right decision for his family in the wake of the death of his son and presumed political heir, Beau.

Of course, as we’ve noted in the past, Biden actually did run, after a fashion. He consulted advisers, dropped leaks to the press, and generally acted like someone engaged in the so-called “invisible primary” stage of presidential politics.

The problem was he lost, to Hillary Clinton. She’d locked up all the establishment support long before Biden began his explorations. It seemed clear to him that he had no path to victory. That played a large role in his final decision.

So it would not be be too surprising if Biden’s feelings towards Clinton were a complicated mix of support, admiration, and resentment. In contrast, Sanders is playing the role of an emotional, populist crusader. In that sense he’s probably much closer to doing what Biden envisioned doing himself.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK