Yesterday I reiterated my view that Vice President Biden is likely to contest Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Today brings us more definitive evidence than I was able to muster in that post. It comes in Maureen Dowd’s New York Times column “Joe Biden in ’16: What Would Beau do?” It also comes in Times reporter Amy Chozick’s companion story “Joe Biden said to be taking new look at presidential run.”
Dowd notes that Biden is talking to friends, family, and donors about jumping into the race. She adds that he has also held meetings at his Washington residence to explore the idea of taking on Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire. Dowd reports, from somewhere deep inside the Biden family, that the vice president’s prematurely deceased son had a wish before dying:
When Beau realized he was not going to make it, he asked his father if he had a minute to sit down and talk.
“Of course, honey,” the vice president replied.
At the table, Beau told his dad he was worried about him.
My kid’s dying, an anguished Joe Biden thought to himself, and he’s making sure I’m O.K.
“Dad, I know you don’t give a damn about money,” Beau told him, dismissing the idea that his father would take some sort of cushy job after the vice presidency to cash in.
Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed. But he had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.
Now I must be a little more cynical than the average Times columnist or reporter. To me this has a slightly unsavory, slightly meretricious, slightly (John) Edwardsian feel to it. As the Latin adage has it, however, you can’t argue about taste. And taste is beside the point anyway.
Dowd’s credulity extends to her “will he or won’t he?” conclusion as well. Dowd leaves off: “Joe Biden knows what Beau wants. Now he just has to decide if it’s who he is.”
I really must be more cynical than Dowd. I think that on this point Biden knows who he is.
Dowd to the contrary notwithstanding, I infer that Biden is past the point of mulling it over. if Biden is letting it be known that Beau Biden’s dying wish was for the old man to reach for the brass ring one more time, Biden is telling us he has arrived at a conclusion. Who is Biden to defy the dying wish of his beloved son? Biden has a message for Dowd’s readers. Biden is telling them that he is going to run, or so it seems to me.