by Jonathan Singer, Wed Jun 27, 2007 at 07:10:57 AM EDT
I've generally shied away from offering much coverage of Joe Biden's campaign, either positive or negative, given the fact that it's not clear to me that he's actually running to become President or if he's running to get more air time. Well, courtesy of The Hotline's Norah McAlvanah, it looks like we may know more about that unknown posed above: Biden cares a lot about getting his face on TV and his name in David Broder columns.
With the second quarter coming to a close 6/30, Joe Biden gathered his high-dollar donors at the Phoenix Park Hotel last night and gave them this assessment: fundraising isn't everything. During the meeting --- part status report, part pep talk-- Biden said he's expecting to raise between $2-3M. Probably not the big gains they were hoping for, he realizes, but rest assured: the proof is in a different sort of pudding. It's in the press.
The message here is one of classic Biden assurance: what he lacks in money, he makes up for in money shots. "The press wants me in this thing," he said confidently. Biden instructed the group of $10K-and-over-donors to take a look at the papers and the recent slew of great coverage he's getting. And as if announcing endorsements, he proudly noted the winning reviews he's been receiving from David Yepsen, Adam Nagorney, David Broder, Mark Shields, and Eleanor Clift. [emphasis added]
Trying to lessen the meaning of a lack of grassroots support and even much financial backing by pointing to "winning reviews" from columnists who were more revelant in 1988 than they are for 2008 (that is, of course, if they were ever really relevant to the race in 1988...) is spin -- and pretty weak spin at that. And as noted above, it does little to shake the notion that Biden is not in fact in it to win it but rather in it to get on "Hardball" and "Meet the Press."
And it makes more clear Biden's June 2005 appearance on "Face the Nation" in which he announced that he would be running for President. In retrospect, this announcement was an effective way to keep Biden's name in the media's eye for a remarkably long amount of time by forcing reporters to at least consider his actions in the frame of his presidential bid. What's more, it enabled him to get on the cable talking head programs and the Sunday shows more easily.
I don't mean to begrudge Biden for how he's running his campaign. After all, there have been many candidates over the years who have run to advance a cause -- or even raise their own profile -- understanding that they have little to no hope of securing their party's nomination. But it's still interesting to see Biden be so open about his motives, even if unintentionally so.