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Blame the Speculators!

August 30, 2010

Joel Goldstein wrote an entire column refuting the idea that Obama will dump Biden and replace him with Mme Clinton when he’s running for reelection. Goldstein’s hope is to end the discussion thus in order to “use our time more constructively to discuss the nation’s real problems”. Désolé, Monsieur Goldstein, your column will trigger (and is triggering) a huge amount of responses that will perpetuate the VP question (like this one).

By exclaiming that something that people want to discuss shouldn’t be discussed, interest in the discussion is renewed. Quelle ironie, n’est-ce pas? But maybe this was Monsieur Goldstein’s intent in the first place? Because the French Cowboy didn’t have the impression that the VP question has been gobbling up substantive amounts of energy among the politicos. Maybe Goldstein is using a kind of rope-a-dope tactic here, in the desire to add fuel to the discussion on Biden vs Hillary?

Ah, let’s humour him then!

The reason Biden became the number 2 on Obama’s presidential ticket was because Obama wanted an old white male as an extension that could reach into the kind of electorate he would describe as bitterly clinging to guns and religion and xenophobia. Simultaneously, Biden was in no danger of grabbing any of Obama’s limelight, a requirement that was certainly just as important as the first one.

A couple of trillion dollars later, no number of old white males could convince Americans of Obama not being the arrogant, extreme Lefty he is. So that function of Biden is obsolete now. Would Mme Clinton do better in that regard? I doubt it. She is a proponent of very leftwing policies, only, like her husband, she’s willing to veer to the right to appease the electorate. But as Obama’s VP she won’t be able to do that without high political costs which she won’t be willing to pay.

While Biden is not contributing to Obama’s popularity, he isn’t really damaging it either. The VP’s gaffes are so common, and he’s taken seriously by so few people, that whatever Biden says is inconsequential — barring a very short-lived entertainment value. Yet dumping him would cast Obama into a negative light, as Goldstein mentions correctly. So the only reason Obama might replace Biden with Hillary is to keep her from challenging Obama by running for president herself.

Be that as it may, I find the question whether Obama will run for reelection in the first place more interesting. It’s just as speculative as the Biden/Hillary question, but its outcome is more relevant. So the French Cowboy would like Monsieur Goldstein to write his next column on how it’s time-wasting speculation to wonder whether Obama is planning to voluntarily retire in 2012 because he won’t/will. Merci beaucoup.

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