To this end, it’s interesting to note some of the visceral rejections that presidential candidates have received when extending a running mate opportunity. For example, when former -U.S. Senator Harry Truman was initially contacted and asked about being FDR’s vice presidential running mate, Senator Truman replied “tell him he can go to Hell.”
Similarly, many of the men who served as Vice President lamented the dull and boring nature of the position. John Adams, America’s first Vice President, once noted that “my country, in its wisdom, contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Thomas Marshall, the 29th Vice President serving under President Woodrow Wilson, commented about his service on the Smithsonian Institute’s Board of Regents (one of the tasks of the Vice President) saying “it’s an opportunity for the Vice President to compare his fossilized life with the fossils of all ages.” And George H.W. Bush, Vice President to Ronald Reagan, once noted about the VP’s job of attending the funerals of foreign dignitaries, “you die, I fly…”
This is to say that, according to many of the men who have served in the office, being Vice President is not only a dead-end job, but it can also seem quite boring. Yet Vice President Biden seems thrilled with the job-why is this so?
Most who observe him carefully laugh at Mr. Biden’s propensity for gaffes. He famously mispronounced candidate Obama’s last name back in 2008, introducing him on stage as “Barack America.” He has publicly used racial humor, noting once that “in my hometown in Delaware you can’t go in to a 7 Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts without hearing an Indian accent.” And he recently drew fire when speaking to a largely African-American audience, suggesting that Republicans want to be slave owners, and, as he stated, “want to put y’all back in chains.”
But Vice President Biden is not just famous for gaffes. In 2010, during a White House reception, he was caught on microphone responding to a question about how he likes being Vice President. “It’s easy!” Mr. Biden exclaimed, “You don’t have to do anything! It’s like being the grandpa, and not the parent…”
Do the gaffes - and the exuberance over not having to “do anything” – really add-up to a presidency? These remarks can easily be dismissed as “missteps.” Yet the “mis-stepping” has at times spilled over in to areas of foreign policy. Speaking with PBS Television’s “The News Hour” on January 27th of 2011, Mr. Biden emphatically insisted that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was not a dictator and should not resign his presidency, despite calls to the contrary from the Muslim world. Eight days later on February 4, President Obama announced America’s new, official foreign policy stance with Egypt, which was completely contrary to the stated positions of his Vice President, and called on Mubarak to resign so as to make way for the more radicalized Muslim Brotherhood government.
Gaffes, offensive jokes, a love of doing nothing and bungled foreign policy pronouncements – these are all a part of Joe Biden’s service as U.S. Vice President. Voters should be cognizant of this baggage, before they go to vote in November.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.