Given his own introversion, it’s been President Barack Obama’s good fortune to have as his Vice President, Joe Biden. Biden, full of the charm and good humor that usually eludes Obama, has been his loyal sidekick from day one, drawing on his interpersonal skills and long years of experience in Washington to smooth the president’s path whenever he was freed to do so.
In recent weeks, however, Biden has been as good as invisible. Even during the excruciating government shutdown, when his connections to Congress were so sorely needed, and now during the fiasco that so far is Obamacare, he has been no where in evidence – a Vice President in absentia.
Why might this be? I have a theory. I’m speculating that some time back Obama struck a deal with the Clintons, in which he could count on the support of both Bill and Hillary, in exchange for hiding Biden’s light under a bushel.
The deal paid off for Obama, if only because of Bill’s extraordinary performance at the 2012 Democratic convention, when he sold the incumbent as the incumbent himself was unable to do. The Clintons came out ahead as well. With Joe these days nowhere to be found, Hillary can more easily shine, in the likely event she opts for a presidential run.
So from their point of view, the deal between them was a good one – Obama and the Clintons all came out ahead. But, from our point of view, the deal, if there was one, implicit or explicit, was bad. We, the American people, have been deprived for too long of a first rate public servant, whose political skills would be a blessing under any circumstances, and especially in a time as nasty as this one.
Of course the irony is that in the event Hillary becomes a candidate, she is by no means a shoo-in, even for the presidential nomination, not to speak of the White House. The woman’s got bigger baggage than Biden by far – which means it’s not inconceivable that it’s Joe who some day will have the last laugh.