This is your occasional reminder that the two times Biden previously ran for president were not master classes in campaigning. https://t.co/nQgQwIT6SB
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) March 6, 2019
Certainly the Horse-Race Media Touts want him to get out in the scrum again, but I don’t get the impression he’s all that enthusiastic about the idea. In fact, I’m getting a strong flavor of Teddy Kennedy’s reluctance before his disastrous campaign against Jimmy Carter (which, as we only discovered after Teddy’s death, was because he was credibly afraid of being murdered like his brothers).
There is, or was, a weird theological argument / superstition among working-class American Catholics that used to be called “Irish Jansenism”. Basically, it held that the right ethical choice was the one about which you felt the least enthusiastic or the most conflicted — “If being virtuous was easy, anyone could do it.” It was widely influential when I was growing up, and I assume at least as popular in Joe Biden’s formative years.
Biden’s certainly old enough, and experienced enough, and has done enough for his party and his country, that an honorable retirement has to be tempting. He doesn’t talk about wanting to be President any more; he talks about the urgent necessity of removing Trump, and hints about promises made to his dying son. But he sounds, to me, like a man trying to talk himself into an unpleasant duty because he “should”, not like the happy warrior he’s always played on the national stage.