Stay Out, Support Strong Woman Should Joe Biden Seek Presidency?
BALTIMORE — For the first time since the four-term reign of President Franklin Roosevelt, Democrats have a chance to pick a real progressive and could well make history by nominating a woman. Now a moderate like Joe Biden is close to entering the Democrats’ already crowded field, but his policies smack more of the moderation of Barack Obama, the man he served as vice president for eight years. At this point, the nation needs the progressive promises of free health care and higher education, not the same old, same old. Biden has done well with women voters over the years and likely would do well again next year with moderate women who voted for him and Obama in 2008 and 2012. By staying out, Biden could set the stage for well-qualified women like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris. As president such a woman would not shy away from raising tax rates on wealthy individuals and corporations or repairing the damage done to the country by four years of Donald J. Trump. “The value of having multiple women candidates is that they force us to think about women candidates in a way that is not monolithic,” noted Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics. The women running for president may soon be joined by others. Popular talk-show host Oprah Winfrey has been mentioned repeatedly, but significantly never has issued the Shermanesque oath named for the Union Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. When his name was mentioned as GOP candidate, he declined saying: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” And Hillary Clinton repeatedly has said she does not intend to throw her hat in the ring. Most people say they take her at her word, but they are aware of the famous quip by Democratic Rep. Morris “Mo” Udall, a candidate against Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson and Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential campaign. “The only cure for presidential fever is embalming fluid.” It doesn’t seem likely Udall’s quip will be heard again. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is the oldest candidate at 77, but recently gave a two-hour speech to 15,000 supporters in a Brooklyn park and didn’t miss a beat. Biden is a year behind at 76. None of the women in the primary come close, with Elizabeth Warren the oldest at 69. Watching her campaign in person or on TV, she seems considerably younger. The second oldest women candidate is Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 58, but a candidate’s age doesn’t appear to be a major concern this time around. May the best man or woman win.