‘Likable’ Biden could give Cuomo’s needed leg up

The big news is that Vice President Joe Biden is considering a run for the presidency. We are told that his recently passed son, Beau Biden, spoke to him right before he died and pleaded with his father to follow his dream and run for the top job.

Certainly Biden has made no secret of his desire to be president. He has run twice and been forced out both times. He has a reputation for shooting from the hip and saying things that don’t always add up in the logic department.

Nevertheless, he is a sympathetic and decent man who people like. That “likability” factor is in contrast with the increasing numbers of people who the pollsters tell us don’t really like Hillary Clinton.

Right now, Hillary’s only real competition is Bernie Sanders. But while many people worship Bernie, the great middle class — often conservative voters — presents a bit of a problem for the senator from Vermont. So increasingly, Biden looks like someone who could mobilize a lot of people.

Of course, many Democrats already have announced that Hillary is their candidate. People make the point that it is time for this country to elect a woman president. I couldn’t agree more. It is unbelievable that a progressive country like the United States has never had a female chief executive.

Nevertheless, there is this “likability” issue. The Republican machine, believing that Hillary would be the presidential candidate of the Democrats, has been concentrating their propaganda fire on Hillary, in particular her emails and Benghazi.

Along comes Joe Biden who not only lost his son but had an earlier family wiped out in a terrible automobile accident. He’s done a superb job helping the president deal with Congress and is clearly liked by many Americans in a way that Hillary is not.

Biden came to New York and appeared with Andrew Cuomo to announce that the federal government will put a ton of money into the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport. So far so good. Then Biden, who has a reputation of not thinking through his off the cuff remarks, told the crowd that Andrew Cuomo is the just about best governor in the country. That’s when a lot of eyes opened up.

To understand why, you have to get where Andrew is right now. The governor’s popularity is decreasing. He has a number of career choices coming up. He could run for a third term as governor but if history and the trajectory of his popularity are any indicators, he will not do as well as he has in his past two runs and if ill winds are blowing, he might actually lose to a moderate Republican.

He might go into the Cabinet, but he was previously the secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Clinton.

He could aim high at the Secretary of State’s job or the Attorney General job but it is unlikely that he is qualified for either. He certainly has not demonstrated a lot of insight or experience in foreign affairs, nor is he regarded as one of the great legal minds in the country.

So there is one more job that could position him for the presidency, the ultimate job that most Cuomo watchers think he wants

That, of course, is vice president.

Would a President Biden trust Andrew enough to make him his No. 2? Biden is clearly very dedicated to his family and his friends. If Biden thinks that Andrew is a political genius in the way Eisenhower perceived Nixon to be, might he choose him?

Of course, that would hardly be a balanced ticket since both men are Catholic and both are from the East. Biden is a man who thinks with his heart and if he believes in Andrew maybe, just maybe, he might choose Andrew.

That might be just what Andrew needs to get to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 8/8/15

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