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).