[guest post by Dana]
This weekend Maureen Dowd looked at how a Biden run might impact Hillary’s campaign:
Having Mr. Biden as an opponent could help Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in its efforts to shed the perception of inevitability that hurt her with Iowa caucus-goers in the 2008 contest. Back then, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Biden sparred on the debate stage before Mr. Biden withdrew from the race after receiving less than 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses.
Going up against Mr. Biden again in the first Democratic debate in October could help Mrs. Clinton hone her skills and appear to be working for the nomination, said Steve Elmendorf, a veteran Democratic strategist. “You’re a better general election candidate if you have competition,” he said. “The vice president would be a formidable opponent.”
Dowd notes that President Obama is playing it close to the vest:
Mr. Obama has been careful not to undermine or wholeheartedly endorse his former secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton, or his vice president. “The president has said that the best political decision he’s ever made in his career has been to ask Joe Biden to run as his vice president,” Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, said last week.
With that, Monica Crowley points out that Obama has not publicly committed to backing his former secretary of state in her bid for the presidency. As such, she floats an interesting idea that President Obama is quietly waiting for Biden to announce, and when he does, he will throw the full weight of his office behind Biden and simultaneously work to dismantle Hillary’s campaign:
The Clintons and the Obamas have a long history of bad blood, dating to the 2008 primary race. After Mr. Obama creamed her, he offered her the plum gig of secretary of state. Friends close, enemies closer. She tried to get her dirty tricks consigliere, Sidney Blumenthal, a top position in the State Department, which Mr. Obama pointedly denied. So she hired him anyway through the Clinton Foundation.
Through Mr. Blumenthal, she was fed all kinds of intelligence on global hotpots such as Libya, much of it inaccurate, as she circumvented traditional government communication chains via her private email server. What was she hiding from Mr. Obama? And why? Perhaps because she trusted Mr. Obama about as much as she trusted Bill.
Mr. Obama didn’t trust her, either. In a recently disclosed email, Mrs. Clinton complained that she heard “on the radio” that there was a “Cabinet meeting” that morning and wondered if she could attend. The secretary of state — fourth in line to the presidency — was frozen out, so she set up her own fiefdom.
Mr. Obama needs a successor whom he can control to ensure that the “fundamental transformation of the nation” continues. He cannot control either of the Clintons. In a revealing “tell” this week, he said, “In 18 months, I’m turning over the keys. I want to make sure I’m turning over the keys to somebody who is serious about the serious problems that the country faces and the world faces.”
So here’s the likely plan: Mr. Biden will announce that he is running for president (the reported dying wish of his late son, Beau). After a respectable amount of time, Mr. Obama will announce that while he admires all of the Democratic candidates, Mr. Biden has earned his particular loyalty. Following his presidential endorsement, Mr. Obama will then support Mr. Biden with the full weight of the White House, including the sophisticated technical infrastructure his campaigns used to win in 2008 and 2012. For years, Mrs. Clinton has begged Mr. Obama to turn it over to her, and he refused. He’s been saving it for someone else. Mr. Obama will also use his considerable influence with black and Latino voters to support Mr. Biden, which may be enough to help him significantly….
Read the whole thing.