First, let me say I love Joe Biden. He has what it takes to make an excellent President of the United States. The question remains, however, as to whether he has what it takes to BECOME President of the United States. And the whole point of running for the office is not who flashes the glossiest resume, the point is who can WIN, period, end of story. And that's the critical question surrounding a Biden candidacy for President. My fear is that Joe Biden is going to end up being the Hubert Humphrey of his generation, the man most qualified to BE President who never was.
Make no mistake about it, I totally respect Vice President Biden's credentials, his innate ability to be President of the United States, both as a politician and as an office holder. But there's one factor he can never escape and that's the calendar. On November 20, 2018 Joe Biden will turn 76 years old. Now the Presidency is the MOST onerous office in the world. It grinds you down and spits you out. Barack Obama didn't get all that gray hair because it was singularly fashionable. What the Presidency would do to a man who will be 78 years old on Inauguration Day is too frightening to contemplate. Even if Joe Biden promised to serve only one term, he'd still be an 82 year old President at the end of that one and only term. Again, that's just too frightening to even contemplate.
So, even though Joe Biden may be the front runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, the Democrats will need a fall back alternative. That fall back certainly can't be Bernie Sanders, who's every bit as old as Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren is a possibility, but it should be understood that Ms. Warren will be 71 years old in 2020. That makes her younger than Donald Trump but that hardly makes her a person in the bloom of her youth.
And so that brings me to the subject of Beto O'Rourke. I know the idea of endorsing Rep. O' Rourke at this stage of the run for the roses seems premature at best. First of all, there are other youthful alternatives out there who have demonstrated their desire to run for the office of President and who will vie for the nomination. But the major question before the house is whether Beto O'Rourke has sufficient potential to stand as an alternative to the alternatives.
Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are being touted by the Great Mentioners within the party and both of them bring a great deal to the table. My reservations about these people go back to the Kavanaugh hearings. When the spotlight shone on both Senator Booker and Senator Harris during the Kavanaugh hearings, both of these estimable legislators fumbled the ball. They looked like strident, petty, woefully unprepared incompetents. So much so that they created an atmosphere that diminished the standing of the Democratic Party's mid-term chances and fired up the Republican base. Instead of growing into the magnitude of the spotlight, both Senators Booker and Harris shrunk in stature. That doesn't mean either of these two can't redeem themselves in the days and weeks ahead, but it makes one wonder if they can take on an incumbent President running for reelection.
The next two years of our history are bound to be rancorous, filled with anger and vitriol. In some sense, this environment suits the more partisan Senators Booker and Harris. But when the time comes to choose the next President, I'm not sure the screamers and shouters of this world are going to be at the top of our shopping list. I think that by 2020 America will be looking for a breath of fresh air, a burst of optimism amidst all the doom and gloom. I believe Beto O'Rourke can be the kind of candidate who will point America to the way of our better angels.
Is Beto the perfect alternative? Hardly! For instance, it would have been much better for his chances for the Presidency if he had actually won election last Tuesday and faced the world as a senator himself. That way he would have carried much more gravitas to the field of combat. At the same time, however, you have to give Beto a lot of credit, especially when you compare his performance as a statewide candidate in Texas to those of Democrats past. Under the circumstances, Beto did a marvelous job.
For all I know, Beto O'Rourke doesn't even WANT to be President. And one has to wonder how a candidate who ran for a big job in a big state without the advantage of a pool of pollsters and a slew of campaign advisers can pull off running for President the same way. And if he loads up his campaign for President with a lot of political types, will that blow his reputation as an outsider and a non-politician? Who knows? But there is something about the man that strikes me as especially Presidential. I don't what that it is, but I think Mr. O'Rourke has IT. He has this inner confidence that he's on the right path and everyone else is a little off, that the others don't even seem to have a clue. So mark me down as a Beto Backer. Just remember, I thought Martin O'Malley would have made a good President in 2016 too, and we know how well THAT worked out!!
Filed under: Politics