No Abiding By BidenObama should pick Hillary Clinton for VP in 2012
Staff Writer Not long ago, at a campaign event in San Francisco, Vice-President Biden ended his speech with the words “Go Giants!” This was on Jan. 18; days before the San Francisco 49ers would play the eventual World Champion New York Giants. As the auditorium filled with boos, Biden apologized. He had meant the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball. Little attention was paid to the gaffe, however, because the media, and indeed the world, is so accustomed to Biden’s verbal faux pas that it isn’t really news anymore.
The long list of gaffes include a Sept. 2008 campaign stop in Columbia, Missouri in which Biden asked State Senator Chuck Graham to stand for recognition. Biden was apparently unaware that Mr. Graham is wheel chair bound. In another instance, Katie Couric asked Biden in an interview about leadership. Biden began by speaking of how a leader must show, in times of crisis, that he knows what he’s talking about. He continued, saying that when the stock market crashed in 1929, “Franklin Roosevelt got on the television to talk.” Truly inspiring stuff, but when the stock market crashed, Herbert Hoover was President—not Roosevelt—and there wasn’t a television in anyone’s home in 1929.
The issue of Vice President Biden’s garrulousness came up early in the Democratic Primary, when moderator Brian Williams asked him about it directly. Coined in an L.A. Times article, “gaffe machine” has not only become a way of describing Mr. Biden, but the word gaffe has practically become synonymous with him. Simply type the phrase “gaffe prone” into your Google search bar, and you’ll understand what I’m getting at. Biden wouldn’t be a good President (God forbid anything happened to President Obama) because he could not show, in times of crisis, that he knows what he’s talking about. This is an ability that he himself admits a President must have. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has that capacity.
Clinton is an intelligent, shrewd politician and there isn’t anyone in the party who has had more valuable political experience. She ran on experience during the 2008 Democratic primary, during which she ran ads asking America, “Who’d you want answering the phone at 3 in the morning?” The stale air of deliberation and demagogy must be replaced with the scent of change once again, and a woman in the White House is a powerful visual symbol change and progression. It would recharge the force field of hope that negated so many of Obama’s flaws in the fall of 2008. As Robert Reich pointed out in the New York Times, Clinton would also take the discussion off of the economy, and help shift it to foreign policy, in which both she and the President have excelled.
Recall what Obama has done in the one area in which the President has near complete autonomy: he’s killed Bin Laden, ended an unwanted war in Iraq, and even at the very moment of his State of the Union Speech, the country was rescuing Somali hostages under his direction. Framing is so important when it comes to elections, and if Obama can frame the story around his and Secretary Clinton’s foreign policy victories, he can control his path to the White House. Not to mention the fact that it sets Clinton, a viable candidate, up for the 2016 presidential nomination.
All this makes one wonder why Obama chose Biden in the first place? Perhaps Obama found Biden’s inability to express simple thoughts without saying something stupid endearing. The fact is, Joe Biden is a gaffe bomb waiting to explode at any moment, and with Mitt Romney looking very likely to be the man challenging Obama on debate stages in the fall, Obama will need to make changes in his ticket. There’s talk of Romney choosing Senator Marco Rubio, congressman from Florida, as his running mate, and to combat the expected buzz around the first Hispanic Vice-Presidential nominee, Obama should play to a recently oppressed political demographic; women.
If Obama doesn’t do something to reinvigorate his campaign with the magic of 2008, he will allow himself to be portrayed as simply another politician who plays within the rules of this broken system instead of changing it. If Romney is viewed more as an agent of change then Obama is, then the President’s chances will be slim. Hillary is the perfect running mate to prevent that from happening. After all, at a rally in Nashua, New Hampshire during President Obama’s first presidential campaign, Biden himself said of Clinton, “She’s qualified to be president of the United States of America, she’s easily qualifies to be the Vice president of the United States of America, and quite frankly it might have been a better pick than me.” Respectfully, Mr. Biden, it most certainly would have.