Posted: Aug. 14, 2013
ONLY BEAU KNOWS
By Celia Cohen
Whenever a Biden is involved, there almost has to be a tease.
The political set across the country is fixated on whether Joe Biden will run for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton or no Hillary Clinton, but here in Delaware, there is practically equal fixation on what Beau Biden is up to.
Joe Biden is being gabby about it, a master of malarkey saying everything and nothing. Beau Biden? The cone-of-silence treatment, the equivalent of name, rank and serial number.
The father is off to Iowa, the state that votes first, with a wink and a fancy sidestep, after peppering a recent interview with GQ magazine with the reminder that his office displays the portraits of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two vice presidents who became president.
"I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America," Joe Biden told GQ, "but it doesn't mean I won't run."
The son, meanwhile, is a human hieroglyphic. Figuring him out can be open to interpretation.
Beau Biden's campaign operation is ramping up really seriously toward the 2014 election, when he is up for a third term as the Democratic attorney general, with two splashy fund-raisers coming up. He has also spent his current term delving into policy, but not just with a focus on guns, child predators and other matters typical for an attorney general.
He has taken on issues such as mortgage foreclosures, environmental regulation and the Blue Cross Blue Shield merger like a, well, like a governor.
Before too long, Delawareans may find themselves experiencing an eerie sense of deja vu, because Beau Biden with the 2014 election approaching looks a lot like Jack Markell with the 2006 election approaching.
Back then, Markell was running for his third term as treasurer in what was knowingly regarded as a dress rehearsal for governor in 2008 and a collision course in a Democratic primary with John Carney, then the lieutenant governor, without a comparable Republican candidate in sight.
Biden has that same air about him, not least because one of his upcoming fund-raisers in particular is not just any fund-raiser, and not to belabor the parallel, but Matt Denn, the current Democratic lieutenant governor, is out there with an interest in becoming governor, nor is there a comparable Republican candidate in sight.
The first fund-raiser is "Beau Biden By the Bay," to be held next Wednesday at the Lewes Yacht Club with tickets modestly priced at $100. The host committee includes Pete Schwartzkopf, the Democratic speaker, and Rhett Ruggerio, a former Democratic national committeeman.
The second fund-raiser on Sept. 28 is the one to get people talking. It is a high-dollar affair with tickets going for $1,200, the maximum contribution for statewide campaigns, and it is being held at the vice president's home in Greenville with Joe Biden expected to be in attendance.
If a fund-raiser like that does not flash the political muscle that says it has the power to pre-empt the future field for governor, nothing does.
Biden, by the way, has yet to draw a Republican opponent for his re-election candidacy and went into 2013 with almost $100,000 salted away in his campaign account and another $15,000 in Beau PAC, his political action committee.
Denn is in the neighborhood with $92,000 in his campaign account as of the end of 2012, after he was elected to his second term.
If Biden is re-elected in 2014, he would have another four-year term to serve, but it is an exercise in futility to ask him if he is committed to staying for all of it.
"I haven't made any decisions about what I'm doing beyond running for re-election," Biden said.
So it goes with the father and the son. Joe says nothing by saying everything, and Beau says everything by saying nothing.