When Vice President Joe Biden sat down with ABC’s Robin Roberts and ruminated that he would have made “the best president” had he chosen to run in 2016, he was no doubt being sincere and not conceited. A lot of Democrats might agree, even though Biden has a well-deserved reputation for being a gaffe machine. The party of Jefferson, FDR, and JFK is about to nominate an aging, corrupt harridan who stands a good chance of losing to a megalomaniac real estate tycoon. The Democrats’ other choice is the venerable socialist from Vermont.


Biden is also almost certainly right that his declining to run for the sake of his family was the correct course of action. The most crushing experience that anyone can have is to outlive one's offspring. The death of Beau Biden from cancer last year will weigh on the vice president’s mind until he draws his last breath. With that kind of burden, who can devote himself to trying to become president.

To be sure, a third Biden attempt at the presidency would have been entertaining. He has a tendency to say alarming things at any moment.

Biden would not have been assured of winning. His runs in 1988 and 2008 were less than inspiring. He lacked the charisma and smarts of Barack Obama when he became the current president’s running mate. Sarah Palin, his Republican counterpart, gave him an epic thrashing during the vice presidential debate that year.

On the other hand, not even Biden would have had the temerity to promise a crowd of coal miners that he was going to put them all out of a job, as Hillary Clinton did in West Virginia.


Biden has been around politics for decades and has absorbed at least one rule. That rule is to never promise registered voters that you are going to shaft them, even (especially) if you are planning to do so. That knowledge gives Biden at least one advantage over the Democrats’ probable (barring an indictment) nominee. Needless to say, the vice president is tanned, rested, and ready should Hillary Clinton be led away in handcuffs and the Democrats are not able to stomach feeling the Bern for the next few months.