BOSTON (CBS) – Former Vice President Joe Biden is on a book tour and mincing no words when it comes to his opinion of a possible 2020 presidential candidacy.
“I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president,” he said. “The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I’ve worked on my whole life.”
No question, Biden’s resume – six terms in the Senate, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and two-term vice-president – stands out from the pack. But does that matter as much as it once did when it comes to presidential politics?
As we mark the passing of the most qualified president ever, at least on paper, it’s worth noting that since he won in 1988, traditional credentials have seemed to matter less and less.
George H.W. Bush, a former congressman, party chairman, ambassador, CIA director and vice-president, lost the White House to a man who’d been governor and attorney general of one of the nation’s smallest states.
Bill Clinton’s vice-president, Al Gore, a former congressman and senator, lost to a man with just four years of elective-office experience as governor of Texas.
John McCain, a war hero, congressman, and five-term senator, lost to Barack Obama just three years into Obama’s first term in the Senate.
And then there was Hillary Clinton, a former First Lady, senator and, later, secretary of state, beaten first by Obama in 2008, then by a businessman seeking elective office for the first time at any level.
Joe Biden might turn out to be what the people want in 2020. But if he’s counting on resume mattering the way it once did, he may be in for a shock.
And with the Democratic race for the nomination of their divided party shaping up as a free-for-all – not unlike the Republicans the last time around – it’s entirely possible that political experience will matter just as little.