Man oh man does nature abhor a vacuum.
Even the slightest pause in the Republican campaign allows a space for other noise to fill the void, and one of the noises currently making up the cacophony of American politics is the notion that Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as Obama’s VP, and then Biden will be named Secretary of State. Originally proposed, at least for my sight, by Robert Reich, the New York TImes has promulgated this nonsense today.
But it isn’t going to happen.
Let me explain why in the form of a pop quiz: who was the last President to change Vice Presidents at an election when the VP had himself been elected to the Vice Presidency? (This excludes Ford, who replaced Nelson Rockefeller with Bob Dole in 1976, but Rockefeller was appointed VP when Ford assumed the Presidency on Nixon’s resignation.)
The answer? Franklin Roosevelt.
Don’t get me wrong: this gets discussed all the time. Every presidential election someone suggests a change, and massive amounts of ink—or, now, pixels—gets spilled discussing the permutations of the possibility of who, what, why, when and where. Speculation is more intense when the VP is obviously weak, as, for example, Dan Quayle was in 1992…. but it still doesn’t happen.
Why? That’s easy: the negatives far outweigh the positives. Even if the change were to do a president good—and I’ve argued previously that the VP choice is essentially meaningless—there would be extraordinary speculation about the change: is the administration in trouble? Is there chaos at the top? Was there a palace coup? Is Barack Obama a man of his word? Did Biden do something wrong? (And, indeed, I might add: how is Biden a problem for Obama, exactly, such that he should be dumped? Or how is Hillary so great that she needs to lose actual power as Secretary of State to be given a job John Nance Garner (one of FDR’s THREE VPs!) once described as “not worth a bucket of warm spit”?)
Such speculation is all noise, and life is noisy enough right now. Waste time thinking about something else. Play with your dog. Enjoy the lovely “winter” we’re having. But move on. It ain’t ever gonna happen.