First, let me draw your attention to Jonathan Bernstein, on “Why You Should Care About 2016 Right Now“:
The pollsters at Quinnipiac are preparing their first Iowa polling for 2016, and will release the results in a few weeks. If you think that’s too soon — and everyone but the most extreme political junkies thinks that — you’re right! But it’s not too soon to be thinking about and working for the 2016 presidential nomination contest, because now is when it’s really possible to push the candidates on policy, which is what’s really important….
A large part of that is finding good issues to run on. And that’s where what happens now matters. Candidates — potential candidates — are looking around to determine which stances all party candidates must take, and are also looking for good issues to help differentiate themselves from the pack. What party actors — everything from think tankers to activists — can do, at this point, is to push the candidates to adopt their pet issues and make them central to the campaign….
Keeping that in mind, Douglas Brinkley has an interview with Vice-President Biden in the upcoming Rolling Stone:
There is a keen Kennedy-like vigor to Joe Biden that overwhelms any room. As was once said of Theodore Roosevelt, he, too, wants to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. Unlike President Obama, who speaks in interviews with Hemingway-esque sparseness, Biden rambles like Thomas Wolfe, painting a robust picture of an ever-changing America where coal miners will soon be working in clean-tech jobs, gun-safety laws will be tougher and China will be reined in by the White House from poisoning the planet with megatons of choking pollutants…
What matters the most to Biden these days is whether he can persuade Congress to enact meaningful gun-control laws. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama asked Biden to head up the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Though his efforts so far have failed to overcome congressional resistance, he says that he is not giving up. If serious gun-control legislation is passed in the next three years – and Biden is convinced it will – he will deserve the lion’s share of the credit.
My takeaway from my one-hour White House interview with Joe Biden is that he must be considering a presidential run. There will be too much Obama-era unfinished business – implementing the Affordable Care Act, fighting for climate-change initiatives, for example – for Biden to throw in the towel. His strengths as a candidate are his blue-collar persona, family values, lifetime support of labor unions and farmers, foreign-policy expertise and stouthearted belief that the Obama administration’s record of accomplishment – from the economic recovery to the killing of Osama bin Laden – has been historic. With Air Force Two at his disposal and his two superbright sons, Hunter and Beau, probably working as his chief advisers, Biden can give Hillary Clinton a run for her money. Although she will have an unquestioned advantage among women, it’s not inconceivable to think that labor unions, environmentalists, African-Americans, LGBT voters and small-business owners will prefer the hypercaffeinated, hard-charging vice president. Like Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a presumed Republican candidate, Biden has learned to turn the sound-bite culture on its head by speaking from the gut. Though he’s been a major political player since the Nixon years, Biden has pulled off the trick of not seeming like politics-as-usual. It could be a mistake to underestimate his populist appeal. And it’s hard to imagine that this highly ambitious man will choose not to pursue the office he’s wanted all his life…
So… apart from getting in on the ground floor, what’s on the agenda for the start of the weekend?