December 23rd, 2008

Biden’s Bin Hidin’

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.

15 Responses to “Biden’s Bin Hidin’”

  1. WhoStruckJohn Says:

    I see this as one of the shrewder moves by the President-elect – he’ muzzled Biden, and co-opted Hillary, thereby removing some of the people who would have sniped at his foreign policy from the left in the Senate.

  2. Ozyripus Says:

    Wonderful headline! A two-fur-one.

    “Hidden” might be more factual, but love that rhyme!

    (If rhyme it is, never did get that diddly diddly stuff.)

  3. fred Says:

    It may be time to resurrect the title John Nance Garner, FDR’s V-P for his first two terms, bestowed on the Vice-President: “Your Superfluous Eminence”.

  4. galensmark Says:

    Cheney is the first VP in my memory to prove wrong the John Nance Garder quote about the office of the vice presidency as being “not worth a bucket of warm spit (piss, actually).”
    I regret that Joe will not be entertaining me with his buffoonery, but I’ll be happy if he is not allowed to embarass this country every time he opens his pie hole.

  5. scottie Says:

    I’m kind of disappointed as I always love a good comedy…oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wait for the unscripted news conferences.

    Of course, those will likely be boring as well as the media are – based upon past performance – not going to do anything but cover for Him no matter how many uhhhhs, ahhhhs, mmmms, and ohhhhs, He mutters through during an interview while trying to seem thoughtful and come up with any kind of answer.

    I’m sure such will be *edited out* for the sake of brevity and to try to polish His image as a great orator.

  6. Zhombre Says:

    After Cheney, Biden will bring the office of VP back to its traditional moorings: ballast, not torque.

  7. njcommuter Says:

    I think that Biden will be not so much ballast as deadweight and drag, with a tendency to roll and broach badly when left untended.

    It goes against the grain to hope that Obama is never forced to relinquish the presidential authority, but Biden is a far worse choice.

  8. 11B40 Says:


    I think Vice President-elect Biden is President-elect Obama’s life insurance policy. Kill me and Joey Plugs takes over.
    Biden will be treated like a ventriloquist treats his dummy.

  9. pst314 Says:

    Will Biden come out for Ground Hog Day?

  10. D Says:

    I Never bought the Cheney ruled all talking points either, if Cheney had his way Donald R would still be at DOD

    And maybe Biden will shut up his whole term

    By the way I LOVE Cheney


  11. Bob Sykes Says:

    Biden is the Dan Quayle of the Democrat party.

  12. Oblio Says:

    Interesting how reality re-asserts itself.

    Biden never had a fraction of the merits that his supporters ascribed to him during the election. It was a rhetorical necessity to treat him as a serious thinker as counterpoint to the story of Palin’s inexperience. No one was ever very interested in him; witness the complete lack of follow-up on his debate statements, some of which were laughable. He more or less disappeared from the campaign after that.

    On the basis of his long track record, I doubt we will be missing much if Biden is never heard from again. One would need to do some serious searching to find evidence that he has ever had an original thought. There are plenty of other people available to parrot whatever is the left-liberal conventional wisdom inside the Beltway at the moment.

  13. Ozymandias Says:

    From my prescient mother:

    “Joe Biden knows less than he ought to, and says more than he should.”

  14. Danny Lemieux Says:

    Vice Presidents can play many roles. Biden’s pick demonstrates that Obama knows to rely on a court jester to add levity in somber times.

  15. Richard Aubrey Says:

    It was a hoot to hear lefties complaining about Palin’s lack of intellectual stature without mentioning Biden.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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