After Joe Biden’s speech this weekend at Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak-fry fundraiser, it’s being widely reported that the US vice president might be thinking of replacing Obama, eyeing the 2016 race for the presidency.
“It’s amazing when you come to speak at the Steak Fry,” Biden told a large crowd on Sunday, “a whole bunch of people seem to take notice. I don’t know why the hell that is.” The vice president has certainly not yet denied the possibility of running. Not only that, but Biden has already begun propping himself up alongside Obama as one of “the only two people who never disagreed on any single, solitary subject” during the 2008 race. The message: if you want to maintain the Obama presidency for up to eight more years, you should probably only be voting for his ideological doppelgänger, Joe Biden, when the next election rolls around.
Biden is actually right in saying that he and Obama never disagreed during the 2007 debates; that is, if we forsake reality and forget some enormous differences of opinion on how the senators thought a president should best address Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and so forth. He also made a point that same year of telling Newsweek that then-Senator Obama was “not yet ready” to be president and would merely be doing “on-the-job training.” It’s funny how quickly the lure of power and position can change one’s ideas. Maybe Joe Biden had foreseen six years ago that he might one day be thinking of replacing Obama.
The most telling thing about Biden’s comment is his affirmation of what many of us already know, that there really is no “debate” over much of anything in this country. Truly, on every single salient issue, be it monetary, domestic, or foreign policy, the major candidates who are advanced during each election cycle are always in virtual agreement with one another. They succeed each other by being exactly alike, as well. While some surface issues might be dealt with differently in public debate, the advocacy of widespread government intervention is always the same from candidate to candidate.
Indeed, it remains true that there is little qualitative difference in policy even when the party in power changes. The Republican debates during the recent election – excepting, of course, the reliably libertarian-oriented Ron Paul – were full of nothing but total homogeneity, mere quibbling over who the government ought to be paying for, whether it be this corporation or that political interest group. As another politician out of touch with the reality of a Constitutional government’s role, it’s no surprise that Obama has overseen an additional $6 trillion being added to the federal debt in only his fifth year as president. Both of the major parties’ policies continue to be reflective of nothing more than bloated and unrestrained government.
As for Biden, there is no question that he knows the significance in placing himself in Iowa before the upcoming elections, the same “first-in-the-nation” state where Obama won a pivotal 2008 Democratic caucus. If he decides to run in 2016, Biden would be following his predecessor’s pattern, emphasizing the importance of middle class Americans as a measure of how well the economy is doing. He should be careful with that focus, though, considering that the middle class continues to shrink as a result of both Bush’s and Obama’s Keynesian economic approaches.
Just last year, the Census Bureau reported that US income inequality increased by the highest amount in two decades during the end of Obama’s first term. The middle class is not growing or becoming more affluent; if anything, it is continuing to decrease in its size and scope. In 2016, we may ultimately have the tough choice between this destroyer of the middle class and that one, this interventionist and that interventionist.
President Obama himself has chimed in on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that American voters “are tremendously lucky to have an incredible former secretary of state who couldn’t have served me better, and an incredible vice president who couldn’t be serving me better.” Basically, the president is fooling his supporters into thinking they will have a splendid choice: it’ll be this Obama administration official or that Obama administration official. Cronyism works! In the 2016 Republican field as well, we can certainly expect the choice to be between this neo-conservative or that neo-conservative. Ultimately, the idea of Joe Biden thinking of replacing Obama is one that should only evoke a chorus of yawns.
An editorial by Chris Bacavis