Biden on Biden

During a campaign speech in Boston today, the Associated Press reports that Vice Presidential candidate Senator Joseph Biden stated:

Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be Vice President of the United States. Let’s get that straight. She is qualified to be President of the United States of America. She is easily qualified to be Vice President of the United States of America, and quite frankly, might’ve been a better pick than me.”

Certainly this can be interpreted as a sort of gaffe; Biden is as famous for making these as he is for being a plagiarist.

Another way to interpret this statement however, is to simply take it as a face-value assessment by Biden of how he sees himself. He is at least sanguine enough to know that he is not the sharpest crayon in the Democrats’ box. What is more concerning however, is why he wants to be Vice President at all. If Biden does not feel that he is the best-qualified candidate available to be Vice President, why is he running for the post? Shouldn’t the second highest office in the land be occupied by someone who feels that they are the best choice for the job? It isn’t as though Biden had no job to go back to when his Presidential ambitions were stymied.

And that raises an intereseting point. At one time, and indeed on more than one occasion, Senator Biden thought that he was qualified to be President of the United States. Most recently, he ran for that post against Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. Thus one way to read Biden’s comments could be that Biden still thinks that he is the best-qualified candidate to be President, even if virtually no one else did.

What about another possible interpretation, perhaps one that is a bit more charitable? Can it be that Biden was so humbled by his experience campaigning, that he now thinks himself to be not even the best first choice for Vice President, let alone President? That hardly seems likely. Humility is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Senator Biden.

Or is this statement a Freudian slip on Biden’s part, and thus more telling than any of the preceding possibile interpretations? Perhaps these are the words of a man who had his arm twisted by the DNC to be Obama’s running mate, the Lloyd Bentsen or Dick Cheney of the inexperienced Presidential candidate. It may be that Biden himself, who after all has managed to win re-election many times, was subtly questioning the wisdom of his new boss and of his party in not vetting Hillary Clinton for the post that has now fallen to him.

Time will tell, and fairly soon, what will happen with the respective campaigns. However, it does have to strike some concern in the Obama camp that their own number 2 is questioning the suitability of himself as candidate for that post ahead of more qualified alternatives. And in this case, over an alternative who was extremely popular and who many felt was treated badly both by her party and by Biden’s running mate.

7 thoughts on “Biden on Biden

  1. >I think your comments are a tad unfair. You are right to point out his myriad character flaws – he is rather frank about this himself. But regardless of what one thinks about his liberal political orthodoxy and bitter confirmation fights (to cite one example), it is difficult to argue that he is not qualified to be President or Vice President. Being humble does not mean that he questions his ability. There is a lot of room for debate over Biden, but this is a strange way to make an arguement against him.Even more strange is how you frame an argument which applies even more appropriately to Mrs. Palin. I will not discuss whether she is qualified. She does that for us:”But as for the V.P. talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it, exactly, that the V.P. does every day?” 31 July, 2008 CNBC’s Kudlow and CompanyOn the prospect of becoming a candidate for Vice President:”It kind of cracks me up. It is so far out of the rrealm of possibility and reality. 14 August, 2008 Financial Post


  2. >I’m thinking this is the groundwork for the announcement that Obama is going to replace him with Hillary.Why else would he be talking her up if not to ease the swap?


  3. >Actually, Mr. Ewing, you are incorrect. Nowhere in this piece do I “argue that Mr. Biden is not qualified to be President or Vice President”, to use your words. I simply quoted the Senator, and then offered several interpretations of what he said. I gave no opinion on whether or not I believe him to be qualified for either post. If you had read what I wrote carefully, rather than reading into it your own assumptions of what my opinions, in fact, happen to be, you would have noticed this fact.


  4. >I totally agree with your observations. In addition, while Biden surely wasn’t intending to do so, he’s calling Obama’s judgement into question for not picking the best possible VP candidate. That can’t make Barry happy.


  5. >Just to follow up on the above post, I see with a careful re-reading that you’ve essentially made the same point. Except that I really don’t think his perceived questioning of Obama’s wisdom comes across as being subtle (then again, nothing that comes out of Joe Biden’s mouth is subtle).


  6. >Interesting in that, when asked the question as to whether she was ready to be Vice President or even President if need be, Mrs. Palin immediately and unflinchingly said yes.John, you made an additional interpretation there that was quite good, I had not thought of that one.


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