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first of all a howdy to all of you, and you kno which president said, "fuc king big deal" |
*For most of American history, the vice president served as an item of furniture, unnoticed and next to useless. Joe Biden has been just the opposite: way too noticeable, and often of use to the opposition party. His unguarded use of the F-word in a comment to President Obama yesterday -- caught on an open mike -- should be a reminder to him that the less news he makes, the better.
Biden does not have -- as Sen. Eugene McCarthy once said, snarkily, of Walter Mondale -- "the soul of a vice president." An ideal veep would be self-effacing, comfortable out of the spotlight, and fiercely committed to serving the interests of his boss. Biden, by contrast, is never happier than in front of a camera or a microphone, and he often seems to forget that Obama, not he, is the star of this show. When Biden is the center of attention, it's never for a good reason.
He has an irrepressible urge to show he's a regular guy, and he lacks a certain gravitas. Both of those traits makes him prone to mistakes of the mouth, like this one. Most vice presidents, contemplating the signing of a hard-won, historic measure, would be sobered by the moment. Not Joe. Few things seem to have a sobering effect on him.
Biden is a politician of vast experience, considerable knowledge and often sharp opinions. I don't doubt that he has been helpful to Obama as an adviser on many issues behind the scenes. But he's made it clear that behind the scenes is where he should be.