Carter’s defense of Vice President Biden is both appropriate and typical. Typical, in the sense that every vice president suffers from these same types of rumors and occasional sniping. You could replace Joe Biden with almost any modern vice president’s name in the first paragraph of Carter’s post, and it would apply.
Carter’s defense is appropriate because by any standard Biden has been a good vice president. I’ve always respected Biden, and I consider him to be a thoughtful advocate of his position. I think the vice president is particularly creative for a Democrat.
Republicans could learn a lesson from the Biden vice presidency. I hope that Mitt Romney is paying attention. Vice presidents and vice presidential candidates are destined for relative anonymity compared with the president. For the most part, they make news only when they make mistakes.
Among other things, a good vice president is popular with the party, credible with Congress and a tireless surrogate. As Romney evaluates potential vice-presidential nominees, keeping the Biden model in mind wouldn’t be a bad idea, including the fact that it’s valuable to have a vice president who is not using the position to run for president.
The GOP is blessed with many credible vice-presidential candidates. But as I’ve said before, one model that should be considered is that of a mature partner in government. We shouldn’t try to be too clever and make ourselves believe that vice presidents can deliver any votes. The best we can realistically hope for in a vice-presidential candidate is someone who does no harm. In that regard, I’d like to resubmit the name of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). He has stature and unequaled experience, and he would be credible with every wing of the party. He would need no on-the-job training with the media — or any debate prep for that matter — and he would underscore the fact that Romney is serious about effective governance. And anyone who would suggest that the senator is not sufficiently conservative for today’s GOP is a nut.