Upon learning that Vice President Joe Biden had met with Elizabeth Warren in secret, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb quickly jumped out of their kindergarten seats yelling, “Me too, me too; I had a meeting with Joe Biden!”
The difference with Warren is that she could be a critical aspect of Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination. Not so much, for O’Malley and Webb.
Hillary, even to Democrats, is a less-than-ideal candidate. Democrats today are having an acid flash-back to the “inevitability” of 2007. There is no Obama on the bench, or even within hailing distance of the nomination, this time around. Hillary’s numbers are fading; the e-mail issue won’t go away; the issues related to the Clinton Foundation are an investigative headline away from pummeling her numbers further. The same goes for Benghazi.
There is a strong argument to be made that Progressive Democrats would prefer Warren over Clinton. Clinton’s strong ties to Wall Street are a fundamental concern to the Progressive Left, as is her lack of engagement and energy. Hillary’s campaign, to date, has been the same old, same old, and the Democratic activist base is not thrilled. Tellingly, no reports have surfaced of Chris Matthews experiencing a Hillary-induced thrill up his leg.
In this climate, Uncle Joe can do three things that could nearly assure a path to the nomination.
First, get Warren to agree to running as his Vice President, and announce it at the same time he announces his candidacy. Go with a twofer.
At the same time, commit to one term. That manner of announcement will accelerate the energy on the Left, which will be fully prepared to wait four years for an Elizabeth Warren presidency while rallying to the short term stewardship of Biden.
Biden can also make the case that he is the only one who can assure the Obama coalition that the Obama agenda and policy initiatives will be protected and continued. After all, he’s been there, on the inside, and knows where the bodies are buried. Hillary has faced significant challenges in attempting to reconstruct the Obama coalition, and it remains a serious question whether she can do so, despite her excellent pandering skills.
Joe’s path to the nomination is clear: recruit Warren, announce the alliance early, commit to one term, and promise to extend the Obama policy initiatives.
That is not to say this is an assured path to a Biden presidency, but it will force Hillary to further differentiate herself from the Obama policy initiatives – which makes winning over the Obama coalition a lofty challenge.