I love my buddy Joe even more than I did yesterday. To be clear, no, I have never met the man. But I dig him like Republicans dig George W.: he is the chummiest man who ever lived. However, Vice President Joe Biden is a whole lot more than a goofy, self-effacing, arm-punching politician. He is, among other things, clearly one of the best at the game of navigating the sharks of Capitol Hill (without the support of a family dynasty), a strong and authentic voice on policy (let's not forget who pushed whom to come out in support of same-sex marriage), and a human being with exceptional interpersonal skills and a compassion rooted in real life experience.
But who doesn't run for president if he really stands a chance of winning? With male ego being what it is, most men would not even blink at the opportunity. Taking a peak at the GOP slate illustrates the point well enough: if anyone other than Uncle Paul sitting in his recliner watching the blondes on Fox while snacking on Lays chips encourages you to run from president, you go for it!
When one doesn't reach for that brass ring, there has got to be a good reason. And in Biden's case, there is one. Having been reared in a political family, I know from an up-close spectator's point of view that running for political office is one of the toughest undertakings in life.
None of us who have never done it understand how difficult it is to run for public office, not to mention for President of the United States. One has to be mentally sharp, exceedingly disciplined, physically fit, emotional healthy and have a temperament of Teflon. There cannot be doubt of any kind. A small crack in any area can and will quickly destroy the operation.
This is why I love Joe even more today: because he made this most consequential decision from a position of strength. He did not let his ego get the best of him. Many a weaker man would have given it the college try. He would have jumped in the race and run away from the grief following the loss of his son. He would have put his family through the sheer hell of campaigning while mourning the unthinkable. He would have disrupted his party's process with what would have been a half-baked attempt at running for the highest office in the land. He would have marred his own legacy by doing so. Instead, Joe let pass what would otherwise be a perfect opportunity to reach for the brass ring.
The story is not over for Vice President Joe Biden and his lovely Jill. They have one another, the remainder of their family, and mountains of respect and goodwill from the Hill and the country at large. I, for one, look forward to seeing what the future will hold for them.