There are a large number of DC insider-types I know who support Biden largely because in their calculus he is the best path for their next senior gov't job. But behind the scenes, doubts are rampant, they know the reasons his. past presidential campaigns did not go well.
They expect gaffes. They are not sure whether he is the right man for 2020. They are positive he is not the right man for 2024 which poses a question about whether he increases the likelihood of a heavily contested election then. They know he has baggage.
They know on some issues his views are seriously out of date. They know he does not think well on his feet sometimes and will not do well in debate. They know that he is pure DC establishment and that creates an opening for Trump to go after him much as he did Hillary.
Most like him. Most admire his career of service. But this is not even like 2016 when Hillary was clearly seen as the most qualified candidate in the race. The support is there now among this establishment. Which is good for him. These people end up on TV a lot and write opeds.
But the support comes with caveats and doubts for many with whom I have spoken in the past few weeks. Even the old "he's the one who can beat Trump" is undermined not only by the doubts about him but by the strength of the rest of the field and by Trump's growing weaknesses.
In other way to put it, with the policy and politics types with whom I have spoken, the support is there but there is no genuine excitement except for among his inner circle. ("He wants to run on Obama's record but he's no Obama," said one good friend who knows Biden very well.)
It will be interesting to see how this goes. But already Biden's gaffe to positive headline ratio is not good. It's early days yet, but this is not the Hillary juggernaut. He's today's front-runner but we have a long, long way to go.
You can follow @djrothkopf.
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