There's nothing in the Constitution that requires term-limits for the Vice President of the United States. With that in mind, why isn't Vice President Joe Biden part of the mix when it comes to those being contemplated as possible running mates for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?
Sure, he's not a minority or a woman like many of the other candidates for the VP slot. And yes, by nature of being the sitting Vice President, he's part of the Washington establishment. There's no way around it.
Still, if much of Clinton's strategy, at least in the primary election, has been built upon the premise that she plans to embrace a continuation of the Obama Presidency and his policies, then why not send the ultimate signal by literally keeping the Veep in the White House?
After eight years of Democratic Party rule in the executive branch, President Obama's popularity will weigh heavily on the 2016 general election. Since Clinton served in his Administration and the two share the same party label, much of her ability to win in November will be a function of how voters feel about the President and his party. Either way, it's impossible for Clinton to detach herself from Obama, so why not double-down and permanently weave together his team with hers?
There's actually no better way to send a signal of carrying on the Obama legacy than hiring the Administration's current number two aboard the Clinton general election jet that's about to take off.
Besides the downsides of not meeting the criteria of being female and the fact that he's another white guy, there's actually quite a lot that the Veep brings to the table for Clinton.
For starters, he's got that unrivaled, gritty and authentic Biden hutzpah. He's someone who tells it like it is, is gutsy, goes for the jugular and can speak off-the-cuff. All of these attributes would be key assets for Clinton in a hypothetical matchup against the candidate full of incendiary rhetoric, the entertainer-in-chief and Republican billionaire, Donald Trump.
With a face-off against a megalomaniac like 'The Donald,' Clinton will need a battle-tested teammate to serve as her pit-bull against the train-wreck that is the Trump attack machine.
Biden has served in such a role now twice. He did it in 2008 against then-Governor Sara Palin, and in 2012 against the now-Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Neither of which was a cake walk.
Beyond proving himself as a devout defender of the top of the ticket, Biden could deliver several other benefits to Clinton's campaign.
As the story has been told umpteen times, Biden was born and raised in a small, working-class town called Scranton in Pennsylvania. His deep roots in the state could help translate to a Clinton win in a crucial purple-ish state for the general election. Plus, even though Biden embodies the Washington establishment, his folksy demeanor, small town background and down-to-earth persona will bode well for Clinton in terms of generating a contrast with the mega-wealthy billionaire and helping to appeal to more low-income and working-class voters in the all-important general election swing states.
Additionally, with all the talk of the rushed VP vetting process, and much of it beginning now, the fact is that as the sitting Vice President, Biden has been vetted, three times, first initially by the Obama campaign in 2008, and then by voters in 2008 and 2012. There's really nothing left to vet with Biden. And, his placement on the ticket would surely represent a safe bet and avoid a possible Sara Palin-like debacle.
At a time with so much animosity between Clinton and her current adversary, Senator Bernie Sanders, both Vice President Biden and President Obama, who sat on the sidelines for the primary, won't just have an incentive as leaders of the party to bring together the warring factions, but Biden will be personally motivated to do so as it'll increase his chances for success in November should he be placed on the ticket.
Another benefit of Biden on the ticket relates to how America projects itself and manages world affairs. With so much volatility and instability around the globe, from ISIS to North Korea, Russia, Syria and more, a Clinton-Biden ticket would represent a steady hand that would guide the nation through uncertain and unforeseen stormy waters. Such a move would set up a sharp contrast of experience and pragmatism on the Democratic side versus an unstable, impulsive, thin-skinned and erratic ticket with Trump at the top, on the Republican side.
Moreover, having Biden officially glued to the Clinton ticket could open the floodgates to the Obama grassroots donors which represented the lifeblood of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns' war chest. In 2016, Clinton has raised millions upon millions online, but the majority of her donations have come in big chunks from maxed out donors, unlike her competitor Sanders. Biden could hold the keys to unlocking the Obama-Biden ticket's trove of low-dollar donor data that could potentially flood Clinton's campaign with much needed low-dollar contributions.
The reality is that the Democrats have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to possible running mates for Clinton. All of which, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Deval Patrick, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Federal Housing Secretary Julián Castro, Senator Tim Kane and the myriad others who have been explored are exceedingly talented and would be formidable on Clinton's ticket. But given President Obama's high favorables, not just with the base of the Democratic Party but also across the board, coupled with Clinton's message and policy proposals intertwined with his, one must wonder why Biden isn't getting a serious look for the VP slot.