I am a big Joe Biden fan. That is why I hope that announcement he is (supposedly) about to make will be that he’s staying out and letting the Democratic contest unfold.
Here’s the simple, brutal logic, as I see it:
1) Unless “something happens” to Hillary Clinton, he’s not going to beat her in a head-to-head race. She has money, commitments, organization, recent practice on the stump, recent momentum from the debate, the “first ever” historical role. And even, relative to Biden, the youth angle. He will turn 73 this fall; she will turn 68.
2) If “something happens” to Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden will still be there as an obvious alternative, whether he declares now or not. The “something” could be a health issue, a revelation of some sort, or anything from the realm of misfortunes that can happen to anyone and could happen to her. In those by-definition unforeseeable circumstances, normal rules would be off. A sitting VP Biden would be as well positioned as anyone to step in if needed.
3) Joe Biden is more popular now than he would ever again be if he declared. At the moment, no one in America has a reason to dig up dirt on Biden or point out his flaws. The moment he announces, the best-funded other Democratic candidate, and all of the Republicans, would have exactly that incentive. Right now, no one says “The problem with the Obama administration is that damned Joe Biden.” He becomes part of the problem as soon as he announces.
It’s a trap, Joe! Don’t fall for it.