Rich Galen

Yesterday afternoon, I was poking around the internet (while I was supposed to be working) and came across an item which was headed:

Joe Biden Passes Up Senate Democrat Invite

The lead was:

"Vice President Joe Biden declined a request by Senate Democratic leaders to brief their caucus Thursday on the administration's strategy on tax cuts, the START treaty and unemployment insurance, according to senior Senate Democratic aides."

(I Tweeted this yesterday afternoon. If you don't follow me on Twitter you should: @richgalen.)

Joe Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 and served a U.S. Senator until his resignation on January 15, 2009 to become VP.

He wasn't old enough to take the oath of office when he was elected, but he reached the Constitutionally required 30 years of age on November 30 of that year.

I point that out because Joe Biden has never done anything other than be a U.S. Senator. As you know, as Vice President he is also the president of the U.S. Senate, so he still has official duties.

The notion that he would not come up to the Hill to meet with Democrat leaders to discuss the Administration's negotiation position on taxes, START and unemployment must mean one of two things:

A. The Administration doesn't have a negotiating position on taxes, START and unemployment; or,

B. The Administration has a negotiating position on taxes, START and unemployment, but doesn't trust Biden to carry the message.

The problem with being Vice President of the United States is: Even the most junior staffer on the President's staff believes he or she outranks you and, unless your name is Dick Cheney, they are probably correct.

I got a call from a reporter for the LA Times yesterday who asked me what I thought about how President Obama was doing in his negotiating with the Congressional GOP.

I said it appeared to me that Obama didn't know how to negotiate because he'd never done it before.

He served in the Senate for about 3-and-a-half weeks before he started running for President. There is a scant record of his trying to write and pass any legislation in any committee on which he served, so he didn't learn how to negotiate as a Senator.

We know that when he was inaugurated in 2009 Obama had enormous majorities in both the House (257-178 +79) and in the Senate (60-40 +20) so his negotiating strategy with Republicans at the beginning of his Presidency involved telling Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va): "I won."

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at