On the 101st day of the Obama administration, it became apparent for all to see why Barack Obama selected Joe Biden as his running mate.
Yep, it took the vice president's interview on the "Today" show for it all to come together (and it had to be "Today" -- the No. 1 morning show). When the president has been projecting calm in the face of the swine flu (uh, H1N1 virus) outbreak, what does his No. 2 do?
He tells people not to go into confined spaces -- like subways, airplanes. Indeed, he said, "I would tell all members of my family." Ah, just what the public needs to hear: Stay away from trains and planes! Basically, stay away from anything that transports large masses of people engaged in economic activity (including business travel).
Just the message needed during a recession -- especially for a city like New York which has both subways AND 50-some cases of the flu strain! Panic them all into not going into work -- or not traveling around the U.S. (as the EU has already suggested!)
Barack Obama -- who thinks three steps ahead of everyone else -- must have realized what a problem Joe Biden might present. So, why not use the man's foot-in-mouth disease to one's own advantage?
Why keep Biden around? In one word: Insurance.
Sure, Biden is good for some tactical maneuvers like helping reel Arlen Specter into the Democratic fold. But, he has a much more important (to Obama) value -- terrifying anyone who actually thinks about what it would be like if Biden actually became president.
Just as Democrats never dared do anything that might risk George H. W. Bush leaving office prematurely -- with Dan Quayle as his VP -- it looks like Joe Biden is providing Barack Obama with a perfect insurance policy! Heck, the fact that Biden has been around Washington for so long, yet still manages to say truly embarrassing things actually makes him more potentially dangerous were he to become president! Yes, even more dangerous than Quayle back in '89!
Seemingly, two terms of Bush-Cheney was enough for the American public. Going beyond just ending eight years of Republican rule, voters went further and decided to end more than two centuries of white males in the White House. The savvy Obama didn't just pick Biden to "balance" the ticket in November; he picked the one white male in the Democratic Party guaranteed to terrify people who actually contemplate him becoming president!
Figure that each time walking gaffe-man Joe Biden opens his mouth, Obama's own personal popularity increases! At this point, even if the unlikely happened and Republicans managed to take back Congress in 2010, think they'd try to impeach Obama (as they did Clinton)?
Are you kidding? They'd want to make Joe Biden president -- about as much as someone would want to make Bruce Banner angry!
Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots.