Florida Democratic Party consultant and lobbyist Ben Pollara says he “loves Joe Biden,” but that ardor does not translate into him hoping the Vice President opts to take the leap into the 2016 presidential sweepstakes.
Along with his pal Brian Franklin, Pollara created a Facebook page called, “Draft Joe Biden for VP for 8 more years” last month.
“If you do a Google images search of Joe Biden, the meme potentials are just endless,” Pollara says. “The guy knows how to wear a pair of aviators and knows how to give a pretty lady a shoulder message,” he jokes, adding that Biden “lends himself to humorous memes, so we started this awhile ago actually and it’s been somewhat dormant for the past few weeks.”
Dormant until the past few weeks that is, before the Hillary Clinton campaign began experiencing some turbulence resulting from the controversy over her home brewed email server.
The vice president’s name has always been mentioned in talk about potential 2016 Democratic presidential aspirants, and officially Biden has never said definitely that he would not run. But after the tragic death of his son Beau Biden to brain cancer in the spring, that presidential chatter seemed like a distant memory, especially as Clinton continued to such enjoy the support of the Democratic Party establishment.
But the Biden for President bandwagon started up again after New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported on August 1 that Biden was talking to friends, family and donors about jumping into the race. She wrote that the vice president was holding meetings at his Washington residence to “explore the idea of taking on Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire.” And for the emotional kicker, Dowd also reported that on his death bed, Beau Biden urged his father to run.
But Pollara, a huge Clinton supporter who worked as a fundraiser for the former secretary of state during her presidential run in 2007-2008 in Florida and currently serves on her national finance committee, dismisses such talk as emanating mostly from a cabal of conservative media commentators and/or “unemployed presidential campaign political consultants who are looking for another gig.”
That sounded distinctly like a shot at Steve Schale, the Florida state director for Barack Obama in 2008 and and Senior Advisor in the 2012 Florida reelection victory. Schale’s enthusiasm about a Biden candidacy has now led to his working with the Draft Biden 2016 team. However, he told Florida Politics earlier this week that “this isn’t about finding a campaign to work on – in fact quite the contrary, I wouldn’t mind having a quiet cycle after playing a leading role in five consecutive statewide operations.” But he says that now that Biden is seriously considering a run, “I wanted to lend my voice as one who hopes he takes the jump, and I’d energetically help out if he does.”
“I like Steve and I take him at his word,” Pollara says. “I’m not saying that Steve’s trying to gin up business for himself, but he is not the only Democrat consultant out there chattering about this, and I do think that a lot of them are trying to gin up for business for themselves, and a lot of them unlike Steve, are talking to Politico and other outlets on background on this stuff vs. Schale, who tends to come and say what he’s thinking, which I appreciate.”
Pollara says he won’t made a prediction about whether Biden will decide soon will get into the race, but says the the track record of candidates who get in this late in the race (name checking Fred Thomson and Wesley Clark) does not usually end well.
On Thursday, a federal judge said that Clinton violated government policy by storing official messages on a private server when she worked as secretary of state.
But Pollera dismisses the controversy as “inside baseball,” and one that he doesn’t see resonating with the average voter. “I think a lot of this hand wringing, and ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’ as former VP Agnew said, is from a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks who wish they had a role with the campaign and don’t. And so now they’re second guessing with the press.”