Isn’t This a Good Thing

I thought the big “downfall” to Biden was his big mouth:

More than three weeks into the transition, and Vice-president elect Joe Biden generates less buzz than the non-existent first puppy.

The vice president-elect has not spoken publicly since the election, and was at Barack Obama’s side just once this week as the president-elect delivered a series of grim news conferences on the economy.

Obama instead appears to be at the center of his longtime Chicago circle.

Good. I like Biden as a person, but after Darth Cheney, I am all about limiting the standing and authority of the VP.






47 replies
  1. 1
    Bobzim says:

    Boy, Biden sure is a spoil sport. He doesn’t even have the decency to attend a turkey slaughter! Doesn’t he realize he wouldn’t even be where he is today if the MSM hadn’t put him there with their overwhelming bias for Obama?

    Come on, Joe, you fucking ingrate, do something stupid and make Halperin happy!

  2. 2
    mikesdak says:

    My understanding is that Biden’s strength is foreign policy, which hasn’t been the big newsmaker (until the Mumbai attacks,anyway). I suspect he’ll be more of an advisor and diplomatic operator. The dynamic between him and Hillary at State could be interesting.

  3. 3

    Nor has his role as vice president, a high-profile office with at best nebulous powers, yet been defined, leaving a vacuum filled only with speculation.

    Lord, the Politico does suck copious amounts of ass.

    The role of the VP wasn’t nebulous until Cheney selected himself for the post so the only vacuum here is the one between the writer’s ears. Jesus Christ, do these people get up and hit themselves in the head with sledgehammers for a half hour in order to reach the appropriate level of stupid?

  4. 4
    His Grace says:

    Wait, we should be concerned with the fact that the President-elect himself is front and centre in making policy decisions and communicating them?

    You just know that if Biden was even remotely behaving like the Politico is implying he should be, the concern trolling would be about how Obama was a figurehead President.

  5. 5
    jon says:

    Biden as Veep has about as much relevance as the Office of the President-Elect: somewhere between "meh" and nil. And no offence to him, but that’s about how it should be.

    Also, I love the previous two posts. If there was a middle post saying what a great first half that was, then it would have been set-up to perfection.

  6. 6
    WereBear says:

    I’m more interested in limiting the standing and authority of Cheney.

  7. 7
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Obama will doubtless make use of Biden’s foreign policy expertise to craft policy – which Hillary will carry out. He’ll likely make more use of Biden’s 35 years in the Senate to help in framing legislation and directing the strategies to get it passed. Harry Reid will finally find the job for which he’s best suited: figurehead.

  8. 8
    DrDave says:

    I think Biden’s big mouth is for the most part the same sort of over-hyped bullshit not unlike Obama’s "most Liberal voting record."
    Biden will not be a levers of power pulling douche bag like the guy he is replacing since his record seems to indicate some sort of respect for the Constitution and the rule of law.

  9. 9
    Tymannosourus says:

    The dynamic between him and Hillary at State could be interesting.

    I smell SITCOM!

  10. 10
    myiq2xu says:

    Nor has his role as vice president, a high-profile office with at best nebulous powers, yet been defined, leaving a vacuum filled only with speculation.

    Nebulous powers? Last time I checked the VP’s job was to break ties in the Senate and wait for the Prez to die or become incapacitated.

    Attending the funerals of foreign heads of state is a unwritten fringe benefit.

  11. 11
    lovethebomb says:

    While all the above is true, I think there is obviously a calculated strategy to keep him unavailable as a media target right now. For the reasons above, it sends the message that the VP role will return to normal and positions Obie-mama as the primary and singular decision maker, authority and voice of the new administration. This may seem self evident, but the O team are all about media strategy. Biden could very well be giving speeches somewhere but he’s obviously been given the muzzle. It’s more smart.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    Good. I like Biden as a person, but after Darth Cheney, I am all about limiting the standing and authority of the VP.

    I think you might be making the tragic invisible man fallacy. Just because Biden isn’t hogging the limelight on cable news doesn’t mean he has surrendered all of Cheney’s Fourth-branch powers. I prefer my politicians to remain in plan view where I can keep an eye on them

    That said, if you don’t think Biden shoots his mouth off, you’ve never heard him talk. SNL had him spot on, joking about how often he invoked (and subsequently ripped on) his home town of Scranton, PA. Or the debate performance where he simultaneously praises McCain’s character and completely trashes him as an irresponsible wacko. This wasn’t a bad thing, but it definitely separated Obama and Biden in rhetorical style.

    I, personally, would like to know more of what Biden is up to. I just can’t believe Obama won’t be moving one of the Senate’s most influential players to an advantage.

  13. 13
    Gwendy says:

    I have to admit, I sort of miss Biden on the Sunday shows. I like his Amtraky Scranton style, hair plugs, and shark-smile.

    Politico needs to get a grip. They were birthed on the high news turn-over rate of the campaign trail and since then everything is a frickin’ "vacuum" to them. They’ve broken stories from time to time but they don’t seem to have anyone with the capacity for critical thought or well thought out opinion there.

  14. 14
    Nick says:

    Off Topic–Just noticed the Pajamas Media banner–sending the MSM down the river—-

    Ironic that those who support the party of the Southern Strategy would advertise with a phrase originally used for the slave trade.

  15. 15

    If Biden starts making appearances on Imus in the Morning again then you’ll know he hasn’t been muzzled. He was a regular on the show for years.

    I think you might be making the tragic invisible man fallacy. Just because Biden isn’t hogging the limelight on cable news doesn’t mean he has surrendered all of Cheney’s Fourth-branch powers. I prefer my politicians to remain in plan view where I can keep an eye on them

    Bingo. Most of the Bush/Cheney War Crimes and extra-constitutional activity was conducted in the shadows under the guise of National Security.

  16. 16
    Punchy says:

    He’s just Biden his time……

  17. 17
    mellowjohn says:

    if joe is looking to kill some time, i’ll be happy to show him around chicago. i’m off till monday, so just have the secret service call me and i’ll come down and pick him up.
    i’d avoid michigan avenue today, but we could pop into billy goat’s for lunch (tho i prefer the burgers at poag mahone’s). maybe go for a wendella boat ride, and hit lincoln part zoo. and i’d be happy to take joe down and show him him bridgeport (it might remind him of scranton), and we could probably use his position as vp-elect to get a tour of u.s. cellular field – the ballpark where real baseball fans go.

  18. 18
    kay says:

    @Zifnab:

    The MSM and the Right never got Biden’s appeal to rank and file older Democrats. Here locally, (Ohio) they really,really liked him.

    They LIKED the gaffes. They thought (correctly, in my view) that his sometimes wacky verbal tics were not on matters of importance and made him accessible and "real".

    He’s also funny. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes not.

    There are a LOT of 60ish white guys like Joe Biden, gaffes and all, slight propensity to doofishness and all.

    People said things like "his heart is in the right place".

    He helped Obama, and in the end, that’s the VP’s unofficial role.

  19. 19
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Biden earned my undying admiration when he said of Rudy Giuliani; "There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/ 11,"

  20. 20
    Tattoosydney says:

    @myiq2xu:

    myiq,

    People on here always told me that you used to be funny, until you had your funny turn.

    I was probably rude to you on several occasions during the election. I don’t apologise for that, because frankly you usually behaved like a dick…

    However, I’m happy to get the chance to see you being clever AND funny…

    Welcome back.

  21. 21
    Brian J says:

    There are a LOT of 60ish white guys like Joe Biden, gaffes and all, slight propensity to doofishness and all.

    People said things like "his heart is in the right place".

    He helped Obama, and in the end, that’s the VP’s unofficial role.

    I don’t think he was ever really a doofus. I think he was, as you said, real.

    But yes, he did help Obama. And he will help him once he’s in office, but the role probably isn’t as discussed right now because (a) his strong suit is foreign policy, which isn’t really what’s on everyone’s mind right now and (b) it might not the sort of relationship that fleshes itself out once they are both settled in. After all, the vice president’s job appears to be more of what the president wants it to be.

    By the way, I just got back from the hardware store, where I saw a bumper sticker that said "1-20-2009 – The End of An Error." I have no idea if it is new, but man, did I like it.

  22. 22
    ET says:

    So Biden is going to treat the Vice Presidency as it has historically – i.e. it is not the Presidency. Which is in strark contrast to Dick Cheney who assumed the role of the man behind the curtain creating the illusion of the Great Oz. And they say there is a vacuum? Sigh. The role that Cheney assumed is going to be filed by… Obama. You know the President. Perhaps Biden feels that the President-Elect is the one that should be front and center. After all that person is going to be head of the government not the Vice President.

  23. 23
    Emma Anne says:

    I liked the Clinton/Gore model, where Gore was given a useful project to work on. The re-inventing government thing was actually well done. As a patent attorney, I saw some changes that made my job easier and more efficient.

    I don’t think keeping a smart active person away from any useful work is a great idea.

  24. 24
    Tattoosydney says:

    "Every major decision he’ll be making, I’ll be sitting in the room to give my best advice," Biden said in the vice presidential debate.

    During the election campaign, Biden made no secret of the fact that he intended to fulfill the role of trusted advisor to the President, and his constitutional duties, and nothing more.

    Why is it now a surprise that he is behaving how he said he would, and not putting himself to the fore, rather than letting the President-Elect get on with the job of planning to run the country?

  25. 25
    Brian J says:

    Why is it now a surprise that he is behaving how he said he would, and not putting himself to the fore, rather than letting the President-Elect get on with the job of planning to run the country?

    Because reporters need something to write about?

  26. 26
    tavella says:

    I’m assuming that Obama and Biden had some discussions before Biden accepted the slot. Given that the pick was substantially to Obama’s advantage (experience in foreign policy and a blue-collar image), but not really to Biden’s, I assume that he must have been convinced that there was a worthwhile role awaiting him.

    The VP slot is normally vied for as a way of setting oneself up for a presidential run, but given he’d be 74 in 2016, this is Biden’s last job. And he gave up a job where he was a very senior senator in an increased majority. One that was essentially his for as long as he wanted to hold it, barring some unexpected scandal — he could very well have vied with Thurmond or Byrd as longest serving senators, without lingering on too long as they did, due to the fact he had barely turned 30 when sworn in the first time.

  27. 27

    Um, this is a classic slow news day, dog almost bites man story …. if it weren’t for the fact that it is not a slow news day, given the things going on in Mumbai.

    As for Biden, he is doing what he might be expected to be doing, which is working behind the scenes on the transition (including his own transition) and letting the president-elect take the spotlight.

    Also, I like Biden and his mouth. When he talks, I get the feeling that I am hearing what he really thinks, good or bad, and not some packaged and focus-grouped bullshit spin from a talking points bulletin. I like to hear real people say what they really mean.

  28. 28
    srv says:

    I’m more interested in limiting the standing and authority of Cheney.

    Rest assured, there won’t be any legal attempt to curtail Unitary Executive Theory or the Cheney Fourth Branch Theory. Leading plenty of breathing space for them to be revived in the future. Same for signing statements.

  29. 29
    srv says:

    I prefer my politicians to remain in plan view where I can keep an eye on them

    Blackwater is now a foreign corporation. I’m sure none of those missing billions is sitting in a Swiss account and controlled by anyone nefarious.

    Not like they had any problem finding that $10M missing in Iran-Contra.

  30. 30
    Comrade Desert Hussein Rat says:

    Where Biden is going to be important, and invaluable, is going to be shepherding legislation through Congress. I think this is the biggest asset he brings to Barack.

    Biden knows everybody, is liked by just about everybody, and let’s face it, has been in Washington long enough to know where the bodies are buried.

    I’d look for him to be a big asset next year on Capitol Hill. I also suspect he’ll have an advisory role with Obama.

    Let’s face it though, from what we’ve seen in his campaign, and in the past two weeks, Obama is his own man. He’s smart, self-assured, and clearly has a sense of where he wants to take the country. Biden will be there to help, advise, and work with Congress to make things a reality.

    But yeah, with all of the nonsense we’ve seen from Palin the last few weeks, Joe seems to be quiet.

  31. 31
    Brian J says:

    The VP slot is normally vied for as a way of setting oneself up for a presidential run, but given he’d be 74 in 2016, this is Biden’s last job

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden becomes Sec. of State in the final years of a hopeful (probable?) second term Obama administration, while Clinton is sworn in as vice president in order to set her up for a run.

  32. 32
    mikesdak says:

    Brian J, that is a novel thought. I can’t say whether it’s a good or bad idea, but I haven’t come across it before.

    Which made me think: Obama’s not even in office for about another 2 months, and here’s speculation about who’s after him!

  33. 33
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    However, I’m happy to get the chance to see you being clever AND funny…

    That racist PUMA is going to get laughed at by me no matter what he says. All GoatBoy is trying to do is rehab his image here after the miserable failures of PUMA and McCain/Palin, both who he loves deeply to this day. I find it amusing how he is creeping back in here after the election, trying to act like nothing has changed. Fuck him and his shithead racist PUMA friends.

    Read his (and his compatriots) posts at Confluence and see if you feel the same way afterward. GoatBoy ain’t gonna get a single laugh out of me unless it is directly aimed at him.

    Regarding Biden, the right is disappointed because he is not being the predicted gaffe-machine and they need something to bitch about because Obama is being competent and not giving them any ammo to shoot back at him with.

    Good.

  34. 34
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Rest assured, there won’t be any legal attempt to curtail Unitary Executive Theory or the Cheney Fourth Branch Theory.

    Those means are already in the Constitution. Bush/Cheney chose to ignore them and Congress acquiesced.

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    @Brian J:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden becomes Sec. of State in the final years of a hopeful (probable?) second term Obama administration, while Clinton is sworn in as vice president in order to set her up for a run.

    I would like to see Clinton run for the presidency only if she actually accomplishes something as Secretary of State. Otherwise, I am bone tired of the myth that Hillary is the rightful heir apparent to the presidency or that she simply must… must, I tell you… be the first woman president, and that Obama must be the chivalrous facillitator of her destiny. And oddly here, there appears to be unfolding a feverish dream among some Republicans of a Clinton/Palin Clash of the Female Titans in 2012 or 2016.

    Obama instead appears to be at the center of his longtime Chicago circle.

    The punditocracy often provides endless entertainment. They alternate between complaining that Obama’s administration has too many Clinton hands, and marvelling at his Chicago inner circle. But although the leaks about Obama appointments have demonstrated that Obama’s team cannot win every battle against the press corps and the desire for insiders and potential insiders to work the media, the president-elect’s organization has been very disciplined.

    They are walking a fine line between respecting the idea that there is only one president at a time and installing a de facto shadow government in which Obama clearly manifests the all the dignity of the office of the president. Biden, and all the announced appointments have kept a low profile, unless they have been tasked to speak for or about the administration (e.g., Axelrod, who has appeared on some of the Sunday news shows).

    Obama has also been careful not to tread too hard on the authority of Congress, even though he has begun to demonstrate that he has no intention of simply rubber-stamping the proposals of Pelosi and other Congressional leaders.

  36. 36

    I’ve watched Biden unscripted working crowds on CSPAN a few times. The man is a master of retail politicking.

    I have to agree with Politico regarding the defining of the VP role. We know the Constitutionally assigned duties, but that is a different thing than the role. It has been noted that Biden is both a Senate and foreign policy expert – in the political sense – and Obama doesn’t strike me as the sort to leave quality lying around.

    The Kennedys didn’t like Johnson and didn’t use him to full advantage. That crusty old SOB knew how to get things done. Obama seems to have the self-confidence to use strong personalities and qualities without fear of being upstaged or marginalized. The proposed appointments have some pretty concerned, I’m not. What I am is more interested in seeing the directions Obama’s reality takes. I’m willing to place him left of center, but the question will be how far and how far he’ll try to take that. Anyone expecting left is making a mistake, but I am interested in margins.

  37. 37
    ThresherK says:

    Politico needs to get a grip.

    That’s not their raison d’etre. Just curious how many stories Politico has filed under "Biden’s latest gaffe", "Waiting for Biden to gaffe", "Everyone know Biden gaffes".

    And how many stories on the Violence Against Women Act? They must think it’s soooo booooorrrring.

  38. 38
    Laura W says:

    @Brachiator: So what about those Pinots you took yesterday? Anything amazing I need to know about?
    Russian River Pretty Much Anything rules in my world, but I’d be interested in the Australians you tried and any other noteworthy choices. (I’m not so much a Chard fan unless it’s nearly total stainless. Hate oak. Hate malo.)

  39. 39
    rachel says:

    But yeah, with all of the nonsense we’ve seen from Palin the last few weeks, Joe seems to be quiet.

    If the enemy is an ass and a fool and a prating coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also, look you, be an ass and a fool and a prating coxcomb? /Fluellen

  40. 40
    Laura W says:

    @rachel: Are you RACHEL MADDOW?
    (edit: by that I mean "literate". No snark implied. Or is that inferred? Don’t you HATE people on tee vee who confuse imply with infer? I sure do.)

  41. 41
    rachel says:

    @Laura W: No to the first, no to the second, and yes to the third. I just like Shakespeare, and Henry V in particular.

  42. 42
    Jay C says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    What Chuck said re JFK/LBJ.

    The Kennedys never really trusted anybody outside their immediate family – in government or out – and generally followed the good old Boston-Irish practice of making sure whenever possible, that once in office, the only people they had around them were either A) their immediate family, or B) people who absolutely depended on them for their positions/status. Johnson was neither – and, AFA they were concerned, a conniving vulgarian from Texas as well (FWIW, they were correct), and so shunted him into irrelevance – which LBJ never forgot. Ever.

    Somehow, I don’t think it very likely that Barack Obama has quite the same approach to staffing (and running an Administration) that JFK had. Not having ambitious brothers is a good start….

  43. 43
    M. Bouffant says:

    Of course things change, but I heard/read recently that when LBJ was Vice-President, even after being a very big cheese in the Senate, he was no longer accepted as "one of the boys," & hadn’t nearly as much influence as hoped.

    And to repeat what someone else typed: The role of the veep is entirely dependent on the president. In the current admin., when Cheney decided he needn’t search further than his mirror for a vee pee candidate, & Bush agreed, the role had been determined.

  44. 44
    John from Concord says:

    There have been plenty of reports that Biden has been in Chicago. He has been interviewing and meeting with many of the folks who have been announced for big positions. He’s been around, he’s been part of this whole process, and I’m sure he and The One talk several times a day.

    And just as certain parties (*cough* McArdle) got their panties in a bunch when Goolsbee wasn’t named in the first round of economic appointments, only to learn a few days later that he was in fact going to have a prominent job, no explicit news re Biden’s role doesn’t mean that there isn’t one for him (above and beyond the constitutional bit about nodding off at the head of the Senate, obviously.)

    That said, he is clearly holding himself (or being held) out of the limelight for a reason, and it is interesting to speculate about what that might be. I have no idea, other than maybe the obvious, "Geez, Joe, your mouth seems to get us in trouble, why don’t you shut up for a little while until I stop wincing every time somebody brings up that foreign-crisis remark?"

  45. 45
    Comrade Desert Hussein Rat says:

    @John from Concord:

    And just as certain parties (*cough* McArdle) got their panties in a bunch when Goolsbee wasn’t named in the first round of economic appointments…

    Jeebus. Who gives a shit what McArdle thinks? Then again, does McArdle think?

    That said, he is clearly holding himself (or being held) out of the limelight for a reason, and it is interesting to speculate about what that might be. I have no idea, other than maybe the obvious, "Geez, Joe, your mouth seems to get us in trouble, why don’t you shut up for a little while until I stop wincing every time somebody brings up that foreign-crisis remark?"

    I don’t think the potential for gaffes is the reason. We need to unlearn what we’ve learned out of 8 years of Bush/Cheney. Cheney was undoubtedly the most visible VP in the country’s history. In part, this was due to the strength of Cheney’s personality, but the single biggest reason is that Bush is a limp dishrag in terms of asserting himself there. Let’s face it, a strong President would have reined in Cheney 5-6 years ago, when it became obvious to most of the country that Cheney was an utterly unprincipled asshole.

    How many times did we hear from Al Gore before Clinton took office? Ditto Dan Quayle and Bush I. In fact, I can’t remember much at all in either case more than a week after election night.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    @Laura W:

    So what about those Pinots you took yesterday? Anything amazing I need to know about? Russian River Pretty Much Anything rules in my world, but I’d be interested in the Australians you tried and any other noteworthy choices. (I’m not so much a Chard fan unless it’s nearly total stainless. Hate oak.

    Sadly, the Pinots were serviceable, but outclassed by the excellence of the food served. The Chards, on the other hand, held up very well. I understand you on the oak issue, but sometimes with some grapes it makes all the difference in the world. There may be a metaphor for politics here as well.

    Don’t you HATE people on tee vee who confuse imply with infer? I sure do.

    I’ve thrown in the towel over this and most other issues of language in media. The station manager of the highest rated talk radio station in the Southern California market has mandated that a loose vernacular style be used for news stories. So instead of "three men were observed at the site of an arson fire," the reporter might say, "three guys were seen hanging around the fire scene…." And this was well before Sarah Palinspeak became all the rage.

    The Kennedys never really trusted anybody outside their immediate family – in government or out – and generally followed the good old Boston-Irish practice of making sure whenever possible, that once in office, the only people they had around them were either A) their immediate family, or B) people who absolutely depended on them for their positions/status.

    This is a very good point, and has been remarked on by a couple of historians. Obama in this regard is not like either FDR or the Kennedys, who had a large politically connected family behind him, but more like Lincoln, who had to depend on his own instincts and abilities to determine who to make part of his inner circle and governing team. On the other hand, it is interesting to note the strong bond between Obama and some of the Kennedy clan, notably Ted and Caroline (and a couple of Obama appointees have Kennedy connections).

  47. 47
    Dave_No_Longer_Laughing says:

    Biden’s strength is his respect for the 2nd Amendment.

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