To put it mildly, this week has been amazing for Vice President Biden. This week, the VEEP is celebrating a number of the administration’s lame duck session triumphs — the passage of the Tax Cut bill, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (which has been collecting dust on the White House task list since the Clinton years), and most importantly, the development of a new course for Iraqi government, the ratification of the new START treaty that Biden worked so hard for. He’s appeared on On Meet The Press Sunday and Good Morning America this week.
In a nutshell, VP Biden has proven he has what it takes to get things done in Washington, to reach out to colleagues from both parties, and to make a strong, rational case for the administration’s objectives. The media has been unusually kind to the vice president. From the New York Times and Washington Post to Fox News and The Huffington Post, journalists have been reveling in this marvelous new vice president we see.
One could argue Joe’s been sequestered away for two years. He’s been schlepped off on low-profile missions to keep an eye on stimulus dollars, champion small business around the nation, and meet with a foreign leader here or there. Lately, Biden has been publicly flexing his political muscle on Capitol Hill. He’s been asked to step up and be Obama’s wing-man as he tries to court Congress. He’s come across as a real partner and trusted confident — not some gaffe-prone ticking time-bomb who needs to be hidden from the public. Sure, he still makes some comments that Gibbs has to later clarify, but for the most part, our trusty vice president has done a smashing job.
It’s not that Biden hasn’t been doing a lot of this work already. It’s just that he hasn’t been all over the media, front and center, like we’ve grown to expect vice presidents to be. After all, Cheney was in the news just about every day speaking on behalf of the administration. “The story line emerging – Rahm’s gone, Joe jumps in – I have been doing this stuff from the beginning,” Biden says. “I’ve been dealing with Republicans from Day One, and I’ve showed up at every critical juncture when we needed the House. Last year the guy Nancy [Pelosi] wanted to come and speak to their retreat was me.”
Will the Obama-Biden team continue on their bold initiatives and ambitious agenda for the next two years or will they be shut-out by an unresponsive Congress hell-bent on making Obama a one-term president? Biden believes, “Don’t be moved by all you hear and take a look at what their needs are. . . . We don’t have a whip hand, but it’s not so clear they have one. There’s going to be a lot of room here. It is not set, match, in my view.”