Joe Biden: I Will Work Less

"I Will Work Less, So More People Can Work During These Trying Times"

A recent article on Politico details VP-Elect Joe Biden’s plan to work much less than his predecessors:

Joe Biden is laying plans to significantly shrink the role of the vice presidency in Barack Obama’s White House, according to an official familiar with his thinking.  It’s not just that Biden won’t sit in on Senate Democrats’ weekly caucus meetings – a privilege Republicans afforded outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney. He won’t have an office outside the House floor, as House Speaker Dennis Hastert gave Cheney early on.  Biden will not begin every day with his own intelligence briefing before sitting in on the president’s. He will not always be the last person Obama speaks to before making a decision.     .     .Biden by contrast is more pure politician, backslapping his way through union halls and firehouse chicken and dumpling dinners. “If Joe was going to be there and he was going to speak they knew they were going to be there for a while,” said Sam Lathem, president of the Delaware State AFL-CIO. “We always had his cell phone number. We could call him any time we want.” Lathem never got Biden’s new cell phone number. And when Biden stayed out of the limelight for first few weeks after the election, it raised speculation that he might be a sidelines vice president.      .       .Biden has expressed interest in bringing back the Al Gore tradition of hosting an annual Halloween party for the press corps at the vice presidential residence. Those parties did not continue under Cheney.

Biden’s stepping back from any serious heavy lifting in the administration will open up opportunities for otherwise unemployed policy wonks at State, Defense, Labor, etc., to have meaningful work during this recession, so perhaps the VP-Elect’s actions are selfless and altruistic. But seriously, one has to almost admire Biden’s predicament right now:  who would not want to go into a well-paying job with great retirement benefits, during a horrific recession,  where you are being universally encouraged to do as little work as possible?

The Halloween Parties should be great, though; I wonder who the Bidens will dress up as (and no, I will not suggest Mr. and Mrs. Neil Kinnock, that is too mean-spirited).


18 thoughts on “Joe Biden: I Will Work Less

  1. Joe Biden: “Not doing the job American’s aren’t willing to do!”

    I guess this news means he’s going to devote more time to his gig as a Hair Club for Men pitchman.

  2. “Joe Biden is laying plans to significantly shrink the role of the vice presidency in Barack Obama’s White House, according to an official familiar with his thinking.”

    I think this article would probably be more accurate if this sentence was changed to: “Joe Biden is laying plans to significantly shrink the role of the vice presidency in Barack Obama’s White House, according to an official familiar with Obama’s thinking.”

  3. Just hope President O doesn’t get hit by a bus. Biden will know *nothing* about what is going on and be less ready to step in with this kind of engagement.

  4. Translation — Not only is “loose lips” Joe not being trusted with the car keys, but he isn’t even being trusted with the house keys.

  5. Wow, Cheney had his own intelligence briefings, separate from the President’s? I usually look askance at all the conspiracy-theorizing about Cheney pulling the wool over Bush’s eyes on foreign policy concerns, but this has to make you wonder. What possible reason could there be for Cheney to know things Bush doesn’t?

  6. Woodward’s recent Bush largely discounts the “Cheney running a shadow government” theory of this administration; I also don’t think it would be unusual for different members of the administration to get their own intel briefings, either.

  7. Nathan —

    By sheer physical limitations, the President isn’t going to have as much information as his cabinet officials in their areas of specialization. A VP can ignore domestic policy to get extra briefing on foreign; a President cannot.

  8. “Biden is going to work less?

    Well thank the Lord for small miracles.”

    Any chance of modifying the constitution to allow for 435 co-vice presidents?

  9. If he is going to work less, then we should pay him less. More proof that Joe is not the sharpest tack in the shed. What is it about politics that it seems to bring the slime to the top?

  10. That just means he is a team player. When you are a second banana to a guy whose idea of doing his work is voting “present”, do you really have any other choice? Never a good idea to upstage your boss.

  11. Really? Delaware Joe is going to work less as VP? This candidate who had “vastly superior” executive experience compared to Sarah Palin? The candidate who was steeped in years of foreign policy experience and would be able to step in as President without missing a beat? The candidate who added “gravitas” to the Dem ticked? That Joe, huh? Good, glad we all have that straight now.

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