Joe Biden as Good Cop?

10 Nov

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Obama easily eclipses all the rest of the team, but Joe Biden definitely has skills. It’s easy to forget that while watching Joe bumble around the campaign trail making gaffes like “gird your loins”. Despite the hilarity Joe brings to the table, as a politician who has served in the Senate and moved around Washington for decades, Biden is capable of duties beyond the standard VP routine of attending state funerals/weddings of foreign dignitaries and taking a seat behind Obama during the State of the Union address. How exactly Joe Biden would emerge from behind Obama’s shadow and what role he would play seems to be gaining more discussion now. Here’s a report from Politico:

A few days before the election, a Democratic strategist privately worried that a Vice-President Joe Biden was destined for a White House career of dissatisfaction and idle-hands mischief.

“You can’t just have a guy like him at loose ends, he’d go crazy,” said a Democratic consultant who knows the affable, bright and mercilessly quotable soon-to-be ex-chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “They need to keep him busy. Nobody over there wants him getting into the Secretary of State’s [business].”

Harnessing Biden’s considerable talents and containing his flaws will be an ongoing challenge for Obama. But Democratic insiders say the appointment of tough-guy Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff — and the administration’s need to forge a governing coalition that includes some Republicans — has brought Biden’s upcoming role more clearly into focus: He’ll play the good cop.

The Democrats’ apparent failure to win the 60 Senate seats necessary to halt a GOP filibuster has created the need for inter-party ambassadors like Biden who are practiced at the art of aisle crossing. In his 36-year Senate career, Biden was never considered a bomb-throwing ideologue, and he still has plenty of chits to cash in with Republicans on the Hill.

“He’s probably got more friends among Senate Republicans than John McCain does, and that’s a huge plus for Barack Obama, who is committed to breaking the partisan roadblock of recent years,” said Biden spokesman David Wade shortly before Election Day.

And while Emanuel’s bad-cop reputation may be overstated, all those F-bombs and threats to pulverize GOP incumbents during his tenure as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee boss create an opening for Biden, who maxes out on the Mr. Nice Guy scale. 

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