I noticed this too: Joe Biden has been unusually invisible, even for a Vice-President elect.
Usually, Vice Presidents are forgotten after their terms in office. Biden seems to be on track for being forgotten before he even takes office. His profile has been so low it’s underground, and in Biden’s case it doesn’t seem it’s a purposeful behind-the scenes stance, such as Dick Cheney’s was.
Say what you will, like him or hate him, Cheney has been one of the more dominant VPs in history. Biden so far has been one of the more comical, and Obama seems to consider him barely an afterthought. They appear to have contrasting personalities that are markedly at variance, as well.
Although Biden could hardly be compared to Sarah Palin in terms of experience or lack thereof, he’s been kept under wraps post-election in a manner that’s reminiscent of the McCain team’s early handling of the Alaska governor:
Still, being number two in the Obama campaign and then the transition has made the public persona of Washington’s most loquacious, happy-go-lucky politician nearly unrecognizable.
The lack of interviews alone is an about face. Biden was the most frequent guest on the Sunday news shows – in just 10 months, from August 2007 to this past June, he appeared on the shows at least 13 times. His interview with Stephanopoulos will be his first Sunday news show junket since joining the Democratic ticket – and he is only on for half of the hour-long show.
He seems to be stepping out a bit more lately, however. He was criticized by his predecessor Cheney, and Biden dissed Cheney right back. One of the controversies was about the role of the VP; Cheney, not surprisingly, sees it as a more powerful one than Biden does.
I never bought this “Cheney is the power behind the throne and Bush the puppet” routine. But there’s no question that Cheney wielded a much more powerful influence than the usual Vice President. This was partly because of the disparity in experience and age between the two, which reversed the usual hierarchy somewhat.
This, however, is not a given with such a differential—just look at Kennedy and Johnson, for example; no one ever insinuated that Johnson dominated JFK. To the (unknown) extent Cheney was the leader and Bush the follower, it was because Bush deferred to him.
Somehow I don’t see Obama deferring to Joe Biden. I see him marginalizing him. Which is okay with him; I’m not a Biden fan.