In the Arena

An Argument for Biden

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I try to stay out of the vice presidential speculation because (a) I am historically awful at speculating and (b) it is the most over-covered aspect of any given presidential campaign, given the relative unimportance of the choice, usually, to the political process. But the vice president has become a very important player–in the last two Administrations, at least–when it comes to actually running the government. The next Administration is going to have to pass important stuff through Congress, especially regarding the economy, alternative energy and health insurance. My guess is the vice president, on either side, should be someone who can help with that–and the best choices are probably current or former members of the Congress who are known and respected by their colleagues. And so this testimony yesterday, from Mike Gerson, on Joe Biden’s role in passing the AIDs legislation, is not insignificant:

When I asked one administration official to identify some heroes in this legislative fight, he responded: “Joe Biden.” “Biden was unbelievably professional,” he said, “patient with the hysterics of other senators and always looking for compromise.”

This is not to endorse Biden. There are other members of the Senate with similar experience and patience–Evan Bayh of Indiana comes to mind. On the Republican side, former Congressman Rob Portman of Ohio certainly fill the bill. But it does call into question the efficacy of Obama naming a governor like Tim Kaine or McCain naming Mitt Romney.

Of course, given my vice presidential track record, this will probably prove completely wrong. But it’s not a bad argument, is it?