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Viewpoint: Bet on 2018 being the year Biden rises again


Founding Publisher Sam Waltz

If you’re Chinese, or just like Chinese restaurants, you likely already know that 2018 is “the year of the dog.”

But you don’t need to be a Democrat to know, or at least make an informed guess, that 2018 will be “the year of Joe Biden.”

Bet on it.

Yeah, I’ve heard all the reasons against it that you’ve heard.

“¢ “He’s too old. Born Nov. 20, 1942, he’ll be 78 years old just days after the 2020 election.”

“¢ “The time has passed for his generation, the Silent Generation, born through the mid-1940s, leading up to the boomers.”

“¢ “Too much baggage from a political career as a poor boy in high office will hurt him!”

Let me lay all that to rest.

The generational stuff, well, Joe never has been silent.

And today men like Joe Biden are hitting their strides in their 70s. This is not your granddad in a rocking chair on the front porch.

Heck, one of my role models is E. Norman Veasey, former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. Norm turns 85 this year, and he’s still “full speed ahead,” in law, mediation and law education, as well as civic life, and he’s outrunning many a younger man.

Joe seems every bit as fit and able as Norm, even as a dozen Norms.

People love to whisper about baggage, and I suppose everyone has some somewhere in her or his life. David Ledford, editor of The News Journal, and I have chatted about it. Joe’s been vetted so many times he could carry his CV on a memory stick, and how much more vetting is there for a president than a vice president?

No, much as Hillary Clinton came into 2015 as the odds-on-favorite for the 2016 Democrat nomination for president, one year from this week, the TV “talking head” pundits will be all but giving Joe Biden the nod as “the lock” on the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

And, given the unlikelihood of President Trump being re-elected in 2020, if he’s even renominated, dozens of Delawareans will be waiting on their phones to ring for a job interview in the District, while thousands of others will feel some hometown pride in their boy being elected president.

I’d never describe myself as inner circle to Joe Biden, but I’ve known Joe since I came to Delaware in 1975, where I became The News Journal’s State Capitol Bureau Chief and began to cover a first-term Sen. Joe
Biden before he even was 35 years old. I know his team, I know his family, and I’ve been a guest in his home.

No, this year, 2018, Joe will be racking up his frequent flier miles, creating chits in virtually every state across this country, working for candidates, meeting and schmoozing with inimitable Biden Irish charm.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 68, will make a token effort to position herself for 2020, but really with a strategy to join the Biden ticket to appeal to the Democrat Party’s growing left wing. And Sen. Bernie Sanders, the surprise in 2016, will be on the sidelines, tainted by the fraud and corruption tied in 2017 to his wife in her job as Burlington College president.

Ironically, Delaware’s junior Sen. Chris Coons could be the loser in this.

A Biden protégé, Sen. Coons, 54, in his brief tenure has done a great job of positioning himself to be mentioned as a prospective vice-presidential candidate. But pragmatism rules out two candidates from the same ZIP code, so a Biden presidential nomination means Coons will be hoping for a call to a Biden cabinet post.

And, for the rest of us in Delaware, a Secretary Coons means the arrival in 2021 of Sen. Jack Markell, under appointment by Gov. John Carney, to fill Sen. Coons’ post, while Carney awaits the opening created by the retirement of U.S. Sen. Tom Carper in 2024.

Bet on it.

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