We haven't heard a lot from Joe Biden lately. Though he's undoubtedly influential within the White House, the public would be forgiven for not knowing just what kind of vice-president he's been. Given that his predecessor practically created his own sinister shadow government, that may be a blessing. But with whatever time he has on his hands, Biden has apparently been thinking a lot about whether he wants to take one more crack at the big office in 2016. At least that's what a bunch of anonymous "allies," "loyalists," and "people familiar with his thinking" told The Wall Street Journal.
It would be Biden's third run for the Oval Office, and even though the first two (in 1988 and 2008) didn't go particularly well, he's the vice president now. And no race with Biden in it could fail to be entertaining. His gaffes—and there would surely be many more—are like no one else's, offered up with his unique brand of good-natured cluelessness. Who can forget the time he said to a state senator who uses a wheelchair, " Stand up Chuck, let 'em see you. Oh, God love you. What am I talking about? I'll tell you what, you're making everybody else stand up, though, pal." And his campaigning in 2012 did produce what is probably the greatest photo in the history of American politics. Think for a moment about the entertainment value of Biden debating Chris Christie. It could well end with a wrestling match in the rec room of Biden's mother's house, with the two sweating and grunting beneath black-light Thin Lizzy posters.
Of course, the biggest obstacle in Biden's way would be Hillary Clinton, should she choose to run. And primary campaigns usually start out friendly but grow bitter and angry. The spectacle of Barack Obama's VP and Barack Obama's secretary of state going after each other with rhetorical battle axes is one Democrats would probably like to avoid. If it happens, Clinton might run an ad featuring Biden saying of her in 2008, "She is qualified to be President of the United States of America. She's easily qualified to be Vice President of the United States of America. Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me." God love him.
SO THEY SAY
"And that’s ultimately what I want everyone, but particularly future victims of crime, to take away from my story. You can’t tell victims how they should react to the crimes committed against them. That’s wrong, and anyhow it’s largely out of their control. But to anyone whose instinct is to crouch defensively and treat everyone who resembles their attackers like criminals, I’m living proof that there’s another way.
Everyone who’s ever shot me was black and wearing a hoodie. There just aren’t any reasonable inferences to draw from that fact."
DAILY MEME: SO YA WANNA RUN FOR PRESIDENT, EH?
- So, Senator Ted Cruz is Canadian.
- So Canadian.
- Well sort of. See, he of the endless 2016 speculation-mongering was born in the Great North, but his mom's American. As Wonkette puts it, "Apparently, just like the U.S. of A (#1 bitchez!!1!), anyone born in Canada is automatically a Canadian citizen and is eligible for 40 melting glaciers and a moose."
- "Given his dual citizenship, Cruz could not only launch a White House bid, but he could also run for Canadian Parliament. According to legal experts, he'll remain a citizen of both countries unless he renounces his citizenship."
- His spokesperson begs to disagree. “To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship, so there is nothing to renounce.”
- Ed Kilgore's advice? "I suppose Cruz could couple this renunciation with an attack on his native land’s socialist health care system and godless acceptance of same-sex marriage."
- In other Cruz news, a Daily Beast reporter talked to his freshman roommate (who happened to write Hangover 2 and 3, and ... Identity Thief), who said, "I remember very specifically that he had a book in Spanish and the title was, Was Karl Marx a Satanist? And I thought, who is this person?"
- Or, as the Austinist sums it all up: "Ted Cruz: A Canadian Who Had 'Creepy' Princeton Days"
WHAT WE'RE WRITING
- Abby Rapoport explains what's next for the Voting Rights Act in the wake of June's Supreme Court ruling.
- Paul Waldman defends the already-perpetual coverage of the 2016 presidential election.
WHAT WE'RE READING
- Scientists are 95 percent sure we're causing climate change. It's about time you stopped arguing with them.
- Molly Ball talks with a libertarian wonk about the ideology's hot moment.
- Why won't reporters call out presidents when they lie?
- “It became clear to me that, you know as a woman, you can’t just vote your vagina.” Susan Sarandon joins Team deBlasio.
- Speaking of which, New York City is turning into a patchy grave of plants after Hurricane Sandy.
- What will New York look like after Bloomberg?
- New Jersey became the second state to ban gay conversion therapy today.
- In which we add the Biden variable into the self-stirring pot of 2016 speculation.
- Unpacking the emotional politics of mandatory minimum sentences.
- "Over the past 30 years, the average white family has gone from having five times as much wealth as the average black family to 6.5 times."
POLL OF THE DAY
A few conservative politicians, like Senator Chuck Grassley, have recently been trying to lift a ban on politican endorsements from the clergy. It turns out most Americans don't think that's a good idea. Pew research shows that only 27 percent of Americans think religious institutions should be allowed to endorse political candidates. Among those who think religion is very important, only 34 percent think the church should get a little cozier in this respect.