Apparently a record number of people watched the vice-presidential debates on Thursday, and I’m assuming most of them wanted to see if Sarah Palin would make it through alive (which of course she did). Joe Biden, the democratic nominee, was somewhat lost in all the attention given to his opponent.
However, I think he’s quite important – and not only because surely anyone watching the debate who does not feel that Biden would make the more natural transition to the presidency should something happen to the candidates must have an ulterior motive – but because of his rousing answer to the question of whether, as Dick Cheney believes, the vice-president can act as “part of the legislative branch.” Now, Palin said that she and McCain see a lot of “flexibility” inherent in the office, which amounted more or less to a “yes, we agree with Cheney.” Biden, on the other hand, completely denounced the idea as flagrantly unconstitutional and an attempt to consolidate the “unitary executive” position by the Bush administration.
See what he’s doing? He is literally claiming less power for his own position than either his opponent or the incumbent veep. Not only is this rare, but it provides the strong distinction from the previous administration, which I think almost all of us would agree that we want. Biden is important because he understands the government – not just as a Beltway insider, but as in “he is actually educated on the division of power in this country.” And that’s an immensely good thing, if you ask me!
And on a somewhat tangential note, what is all this business bringing up Bill Ayers again? The loss of Michigan seems to have sent the GOP into a tailspin of negativity …