Friday, August 20, 2010

Scapegoating: The Hallmark of Public Policy

Hello, Vice-Presidenters. It's been awhile since the last regular post, what with our co-producing a show in the Minnesota Fringe Festival and the screenwriting opportunity I was recently thrown, but fear not - we are still here and loving every juicy VP tidbit, as you'll likely notice on our Facebook page, which we try to update as frequently as is possible.

Joe Biden (whose office is now considering a request for an interview, given VP Mondale's agreeing to interview) was the subject of much speculation in a recent Wall Street Journal article that asks the baseless question (that has been raised since Biden began his reign as VP) "Will Obama replace Biden in 2012?"

They name his being "gaffe-prone" as the primary reason for their own speculation, as well as the expertise as such notables as Chris Matthews and "long time Hillary watcher" Howard Fineman at Newsweek, who suggest that Biden and Clinton essentially swap spots. Really? Newsweek?

I am not an expert political scientist, or an expert historian. I'm an expert on the Vice Presidency and its role in history and amongst other political powers. What I can tell you is this - no President, especially to change his tarnishing public image and popularity - would change VPs mid-stream to half-use an existing metaphor. At least not today. It's been done before (Lincoln and FDR both had VP changes for a number of reasons) but these were the days when public scrutiny was different. Changing VP meant a change in direction. Today, with rapid-fire, thoughtless analysis (see the Wall Street Journal), any such change - though it might please those who think they are political analysts because they can also use the word "gaffe" in a sentence - would be seen as weakness. Joe Biden is the very symbol of Obama's dedication to his choices - he lets Biden speak his mind. He could easily shut the man up, reign him in - Biden is the "tell it like it is" guy and Obama - well, frankly, he's resorted to it lately, too. He has little choice. He just uses fewer F-bombs.

Jason C. Klamm, B.A.

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