Recently vice president Joe Biden addressed a group of Harvard students and when one student introduced himself as being the VP of Student Council Biden responded, “Isn’t it a bitch…that vice president thing!” Biden’s face lit up with a toothy smile and most people in the room took it for both the humor and the truth that was spoken. Being vice president of the United States is, and always has been, a bitch.
Until most recent times the VP has done little but wait in the wings, out of sight and out of mind. While many Americans can rattle of a decent list of former presidents, how many can come up with as good a list of vice presidents?
Historically vice presidents were typically chosen as a means of “balancing” the ticket to increase the party’s chances of winning the White House. After election the VP was relegated to spending his time attending state funerals, making the occasional public appearance, raising funds for reelection, kissing babies, and hanging around the US Senate if needed to break a tie vote. FDR thought so little of Harry Truman he didn’t bother to tell Truman about the Manhattan Project. Truman was told after Roosevelt’s death and then almost immediately had to decide whether to use the bomb against Japan.
It’s only been in most recent times, possibly beginning with Reagan and Bush I, that vice presidents have been given serious responsibilities and brought inside the walls of power. Biden has said many times that he sits in on most presidential discussions.
Anyway, conservatives love a good Biden gaffe, as do I. Only difference is Joe’s mouth is what I most enjoy about him. It just shows me that the man often speaks to truth and in his error his humanity is put on display. Dick Cheney would rather shoot a man in the face than crack a smile in public. You go, Joe!