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Is Joe Biden the most influential vice president ever?

Vice President Joe Biden’s role in crafting a fiscal-cliff deal that gained approval in both the Senate and the House in the past few days raises his political profile to a lofty new  level.

Michael Hirsh of the National Journal SAYS Biden’s stature as a vice president has few, if any, historical parallels:

Over the past four years Biden has insinuated himself into the White House, while seeming hardly to try, in a way that no other vice president in memory has done. He and Obama, both consummate pragmatists though they tend to be liberal in outlook, have achieved something close to a mind meld across a whole range of issues, including foreign policy, the economy, and political strategy. Biden said it outright in his speech during the presidential campaign: “I literally get to be the last guy in the room with the president. That’s our arrangement.” That’s no small thing in a town where power is often measured in minutes of presidential face time.

It wasn’t long ago that Biden’s predecessor, Dick Cheney, was seen as the gold — some might say sulfurous — standard in vice presidential power. Biden himself, ironically enough, once described Cheney as “probably the most dangerous vice president we’ve had” because of what many observers saw as Cheney’s undue influence over George W. Bush.

But in terms of the sheer number of issues Biden has influenced in a short time, the current vice president is bidding to surpass even Cheney. Fiscal issues and guns are only a small sampling of this vice president’s portfolio. Back in 2010 it was Biden’s office that, in the main, orchestrated the handover to the Iraqis. It is Biden’s view of Afghanistan that has, bit by bit, come to dominate thinking inside the 2014 withdrawal plan. On financial reform it was Biden who prodded an indecisive Obama to embrace, at long last, Paul Volcker’s idea of barring banks from risky trading, according to Austan Goolsbee, formerly the head of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. The VP also tilted the discussion in favor of a bailout of the Big Three auto companies, according to Jared Bernstein, Biden’s former economic adviser. “I think he made a difference in president’s thinking,” Bernstein said. “He understood the importance of the auto companies to their communities, and throughout the country.”

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16 Comments

  1. As a sharp debater he schooled Paul Ryan on facts and figures.

  2. Neftali

    Steverino – Name one.

    According to Politico Biden was consistently incorrect.

  3. Schooled? I didn’t realize frequent interuptions counted as facts in a debate.

    I hope good ole’ Joe brings some of those facts and figurin’ to the looming federal budget disaster.

  4. Craig Knauss

    Politico? Couldn’t find any non-partisan sites to support your misguided opinion? I notice neither of you rightwing lap dogs referenced FactCheck. Here’s a non-partisan appraisal of the debate:

    http://factcheck.org/2012/10/veep-debate-violations/

    You won’t like this because while Biden had his fair share of gaffs, FactCheck shows that Ryan clearly told the most lies. But of course you two won’t ever admit that. Will you?

  5. I’m not sure I heard Ryan finish a complete sentence, how can you be sure it was a lie?

    The most important thing about Paul Ryan is that he is correct on the math of our current budget arc as it relates to the deficit and debt.

  6. Craig Knauss

    doc says, “I’m not sure I heard Ryan finish a complete sentence, how can you be sure it was a lie?”

    Really, doc? Did you even watch the debate? Ryan finished a lot of sentences. That’s why Biden was snickering so much. And if you’d watch the presidential debates, you would have see Mitt interrupt Obama a bunch of times, and sometimes vice versa.

    I’m glad you are so enamored with Ryan’s budget expertise. I think he’s full of crap. He was in Congress quite a while before Obama became president. Why didn’t he do something about it before GWB ran the debt up to $11T?

    BWT, Chris Christy wants Boner’s nuts on a platter right now for killing Sandy aid. Interesting, huh?

  7. I suspect Boehner is done as speaker of the house. At minimum, he is going to get significant challenge to his re-election as Speaker.

  8. When it came to substance and detail Ryan really couldn’t explain how gutting programs along with massive tax cuts for the wealthy would decrease the debt. Fortunately his snake oil was rejected and old Joe captured the urban voters of Janesville.

  9. Big Dave

    Yes, how can anyone forget old Joe asking the guy in a wheelchair to stand up!

  10. “Three letter word Jobs”

  11. Brian Opsahl

    Wilson, jobs is 4 letters sir..unless you ment JOB..?
    I do remember Mr. Biden embarassing Ryan when it came time to talk about the stimulas money. Ryan railed about the waste untill Joe pointed out that Ryan used some 21 million in that very same stimulas money he was complaining about..OUCH..!!

  12. That’s not an ouch, that’s an idiotic argument from the left.

    Ryan’s job is to represent his constituents. If the money is available and he has constituents who are requesting his help in getting it then he should do his job, which he did.

  13. A well worded rebuttal.

    Also thoroughly convincing in it’s detail and logic.

    Just as convincing as Ole’ J0e when he used it in the debate.

  14. Brian, here you go and thanks for pointing out that I meant JOB like one job.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBHPvfAt5ow

  15. Ryan will have “malarkey” stamped on his forehead for the rest of his political life. Romney couldn’t get him far enough away from the campaign trail after that beating.

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