James Smith is among those waiting for Joe Biden to run

James Smith, shouting over the band in conversation with our own Lynn Teague at the second flag rally this summer.

James Smith, shouting over the band in conversation with our own Lynn Teague at the second flag rally this summer.

Bryan was dismissing the idea that a South Carolina Democrat endorsing Hillary Clinton was news, and I begged to differ — in South Carolina, there are a number of prominent Democrats waiting for Joe Biden to get into it.

After that exchange with Bryan, I picked up the phone to talk with one: Rep. James Smith.

James was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as someone urging the Veep to run just the other day, which was a change of pace, as it seems to me that the person most quoted on the subject by national media has been Dick Harpootlian. And of course, South Carolina was where Biden chose to get away from it all last week and ponder the matter. His ties to South Carolina, and not just to SC Democrats, are noteworthy.

As James told me, it’s not just about him and Dick. “We have a long list of Biden supporters… community faith leaders, business leaders and elected leaders.” And he said “We’re building an organization, on the chance” that he’ll jump into the race.

Why Biden? Smith starts with his broad experience, with issues both foreign and domestic. He said Biden is “the leader we need for these times,” someone “respected across the spectrum,” particularly in the Senate.

“The rest are just very polarizing figures, like something from a bad reality TV show.”

I could see why he’d say that about some of the GOP candidates, but Hillary Clinton, who will likely head up his party’s ticket next November? “She can be a very polarizing figure,” he insisted.

Smith said the time at Kiawah was “a very important week” for Biden, and he seemed hopeful.

But isn’t it too late for anyone to mount a serious challenge to Hillary’s inevitability? That’s what The Fix said yesterday, in a piece headlined, “It’s too late for Democrats to start rethinking Clinton’s 2016 viability.” Aren’t the important fund-raisers and others are taken now?

“I promise you that is not the case,” Rep. Smith said. He didn’t get into specifics, but implied that some fund-raisers have indicated their enthusiasm for a Biden candidacy.

So, there you have it — a South Carolina Democrat who is definitely not endorsing Hillary Clinton at this time. And he is not alone…

13 thoughts on “James Smith is among those waiting for Joe Biden to run

  1. Bill

    The Fix? One of Wm S Burroughs lost novels…
    Too late? The media’s been running her since 2012

  2. Mark Stewart

    Biden can afford to stalk the race. There is no rush. He is in the mix.

    If he does campaign, he should go with Kristen Gillibrand as VP. The thing against Biden is his age…

      1. Mark Stewart

        Yeah, Biden is not a clean candidate. Not that there is one, but he most definitely has some very negative character traits.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I don’t think so; not really. Every “negative” thing about Biden arises from the facts that he’s a people person and loves to talk.

          Joel Lourie and I were talking about that this morning — that one of the problems with Hillary is that she hates campaigning. Not a people person, unlike her husband. Whereas Joe is all about human contact and interaction…

          1. Mark Stewart

            Making a woman that uncomfortable is a pretty big one. I had forgotten about that incident, but when I saw the photo again of him with his hands on her it’s clear that that image has the sort of resonance that he will not want hanging over his campaign.

      2. Bill

        Best looking ? Ted Strickland. But he’s Running for Senate..
        After that endless Strom eulogy,imagine a Biden’ state of the union adress

  3. Phillip

    Maybe not for the country’s sake, but for his own sake I hope Biden does not run. His stature is at its highest point, the respect he has from a wide spectrum of both the electorate and leaders on both sides of the aisle…it can only diminish with an overt run for the Presidency. That’s especially true given his candor and tendency towards “gaffes” in his past campaigns. He would be the oldest President in history, and while he is a healthy 72, one wonders whether he would (even if he won) be seen and treated as automatically a one-term, lame-duck President. Given what he’s gone through lately, who needs this (the indignities of the slurs and arrows that will be aimed his way should he run) ?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      But — for the sake of argument — what if he can save the party, and in his view the country, from a candidate who’s running because she sees herself as entitled, and keeps getting in trouble for her attempts to wall herself off from the risky business of human contact: the uncontrollable media; prying eyes on her emails, and so forth?

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    Elaborating on this theme of Democrats looking for alternatives…

    I had breakfast with Joel Lourie this morning, who, after reminding me that he’s trying to put politics behind him, said that if Biden did run, he’d probably gravitate in that direction along with his close friend James.

    Joel reminded me that the third member of their triumvirate, Vincent Sheheen, is backing Martin O’Malley, who came to SC to campaign for him in his gubernatorial bid last year.

    So there you have three quite prominent legislative Democrats who are NOT in the bag for Hillary…

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