I argued today that VP Joe Biden has become an embarrassment to his boss. It looks as if the Obama team agrees. Biden was bumped from a primetime speaking slot, which is the equivalent of locking up the crazy uncle in the attic.
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams told me: “After four years in the Obama administration, Joe Biden is clearly not better off than he was four years ago. The vice president has repeatedly thrown President Obama off message with his hilarious gaffes and proven to the Obama campaign that he is not ready for prime time.”
Biden is a drag on the ticket. (“Just 28 percent of registered voters said they had a favorable view of Mr. Biden in a CBS News poll last month, while 37 percent had an unfavorable opinion and the rest did not know.”) The take away is that Biden isn’t good enough to go into primetime because he might mess up Obama’s reelection plans, but he’s fine to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. For all the liberal pundits’ certitude that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was an awful, dangerous choice for Mitt Romney, it appears that it is Biden who must be hidden from view. But, alas, defective VP choices are only grist for the media mill when they are Republicans.
Ryan drew a primetime speaking slot and is getting praise from Republicans. His favorables are strong (in the recent CNN poll he enjoyed a 49/38 percent favorable split), and he has contributed substance to the campaign while proving his retail political skills. He was in Colorado Springs today:
It is useful to recall the 2008 VP picks. Then a rotten choice for VP, according to pundits, was evidence of poor judgment, lack of managerial skills and impulsiveness by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) But for all her faults, Sarah Palin didn’t have to be stashed away during primetime.
Whether Ryan makes an electoral difference ( e.g., helping to carry Wisconsin) remains to be seen, but he has made the presidential nominee better and by his performance demonstrated Romney’s good hiring judgment. That’s more than the Democrats can say about Uncle Joe.