Will Obama dump Biden?
Vice President Joe Biden is a continuing embarrassment to Barack Obama, the man whose first decision as nominee was to pick him for the ticket. Forcing his boss into premature evolution of his views on gay marriage is only the latest gaffe of the man dubbed "gaffetastic" by Michelle Malkin. But having carved out his very public role as court jester, jettisoning Joe would not be a painless move for the president.
Opinions vary widely. Joseph Curl kicked off the latest wave of commentary with his Sunday column in the Washington Times, flat our predicting HIllary would be on the ticket:
The Great One, Sir Barack Hussein Obama, will replace the bumbling, buffoonish Mr. Biden with Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, maybe at the Democratic convention, maybe just before, in a last-ditch effort to win re-election.
The wild and crazy move is all the talk outside the Beltway. One state Democratic leader even tells me the bumper stickers are already printed, sitting in a warehouse in (where else?) Little Rock, Ark. Another party bigwig says she is "99.9 percent sure" the increasingly desperate president planned the whole thing from the beginning. ("C'mon, Hill, be Secretary of State for one term and I'll make you veep the next!")
Step back a minute: What does the president get from keeping Punxsutawney Putz on the ticket? Zippy the chimp. But if he bails on Mr. Biden, picks a woman - bam, base enthusiasm goes through the roof, women come out of the woodwork to vote (for Mrs. Clinton, not for Mr. Obama), and it's 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for another four years. (Plus, Joe becomes Secretary of State, because, really now, he wouldn't know what to do if he wasn't living off the government teat, would he?)
No question, Biden is an embarrassment. William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal:
Can Joe Biden get any dumber? Just last Thursday, the vice president said he didn't blame the 41% of West Virginia Democrats who voted for an incarcerated felon over Barack Obama in the recent primary because they were acting out of frustration. Just before that, as the president put it, ol' Joe had "got out a little over his skis" by coming out for same-sex marriage while his boss was still evolving.
But McGurn also notes that Biden serves a lightning round, drawing fire for his gaffes so that the president escapes much commentary on his own string of gaffes, from mentioning 57 states to calling the Maldives the Malvinas, attempting to look smart and failing in front of a Latin American audience who knew very well the name Argentina uses for the Falkland Islands. Critics of the president know that pointing out his ignorant statements will be characterized as racist, while the very Caucasian Biden (who lacks a claim to even 1/32 minority heritage) enjoys no such immunity. McGurn sums it up:
In other words, for President Obama to remain all-wise and wonderful with this record, Mr. Biden has to be the stupid one.
Perhaps so, but the forces of the left are getting worried that Obama will not enjoy a cushion of support from female voters sufficient to overcome his unpopularity with males. Michael Tomasky, writing in the Daily Beast:
Can it really be true that Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama among women? This is whatThe New York Times (and CBS) said in their latest poll-Romney 46, Obama 44.... Obama can afford a lot of things to go wrong against Romney, but one thing he absolutely cannot afford is to have no gender gap. So pondering this situation has got me thinking for the first time semi-seriously about you-know-who. (snip)
Would it smell of desperation? Possibly. Is it still unlikely? Probably. Neither of those means it wouldn't produce a blowout
Once again, President Obama has boxed himself in. If he dumps Biden he admits he made a mistake. If he adds Hillary to the ticket. he may get more support from women, but as Rush Limbaugh points out, Secretary Clinton's popularity rises when she is invisible to the public. When she starts speaking, and voters are reminded of her views, her popularity falls. If she were on the ticket, her record as Secretary of State would be fair game, and it is not nearly as positive as the media would have you believe.