Biden His Time?
03-26-2009
I saw a brief clip on the news last night of Vice President Joe Biden lunching on Capitol Hill with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and it occurred to me that we just don’t get to see Joe very much anymore. I remember the old, pre-2008 presidential election days when you couldn’t go one weekend without Biden appearing as a guest on multiple Sunday morning chat shows. I always loved that at some point in the discussion of a particular topic, Biden would support his position by mentioning that as a senior Member of Congress, he was privy to important information on the issue that he just couldn’t share with the rest of us. Given his history, this new lack of visibility as a spokesman for the Democrats is really quite remarkable.
 
So what happened here? I remember during the vice presidential selection process, Biden said his requirement for accepting the job was that he be in the room to give his best counsel to President Obama on the major decisions of the day. Since we don’t hear from him very often, there is really no way to verify that this is taking place, although Obama appeared to genuinely value his advice throughout the transition period. And, of course there is the perennial concern that Biden’s occasional verbal gaffes could sidetrack the Administration from the efficient pursuit of its agenda.
 
But it may also be the case that Biden has now chosen to be more of an inside operator along the lines established by Dick Cheney, allowing the Administration to speak with a single voice, while quietly working the process he knows so well (hopefully to less questionable ends). My guess is that at some point we’ll learn more about what Biden is up to these days, and whether he is quietly helping to drive the Obama agenda, or instead has been relegated to rearranging the stuff on his very nice desk. In either case, I now realize what an integral part of my political television viewing experience Biden has been over the past 20-plus years.


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