I had planned on writing about this yesterday, which is when I first heard this rumor floated by an acquaintance. Since then, however, this rumor has started to gain momentum. Rush Limbaugh mentioned it during the second hour of his radio program today. Snopes now has a page devoted to it (it is ominously categorized as Undetermined). I’ve come to the conclusion that if it is true, the best thing for us to do is to publicize it as much as possible.

The rumor, which began with an
email that has been circulating for at least a week or two, is that the Obama campaign is planning on dropping Joe Biden from the ticket on or about October 5th, just after the vice-presidential debate, and swapping him out for Hillary Clinton. The email states that Biden will cite health issues (he suffered two brain aneurysms in 1988) as the motivating factor behind his withdrawal and claims to have obtained the information from a reliable source within the DNC.

Normally I would casually disregard something like this, however Biden’s behavior on the campaign trail has me concerned. As I wrote in
The Washington Gaffe Machine on August 24, Biden has a tendency to make unfortunate remarks at very public venues, and this charming character trait seems to have intensified just in the last week or so. The list is almost too long to relate, but includes some humdingers, such as:

1. Asking a state senator in a wheelchair at a rally to stand and be recognized
2. Calling Barack Obama “Barack America” and not correcting himself
3. Criticizing an Obama campaign ad that mocked John McCain for his computer illiteracy (McCain’s POW injuries actually prevent him from using a keyboard) and saying that if it were his campaign he would have done it differently
4. Claiming that FDR went on TV when the stock market crashed to effectively lead America (Wow)
5. The Big One: saying Hillary Clinton would have been a better VP choice

Biden’s problem was always going to be his habitual meandering off-script and Obama knew or should have known that when he picked him. But Biden has begun to take it even further and is starting to cut Obama out of the conversation altogether, abandoning his notes and lavishing all of the praise on himself (see this
Fox News article). If he keeps this up, Obama will have little choice but to dump him. However, this is where my skepticism of the rumor lies. There’s no way that Biden will go quietly.

The Joe Biden we all know would never bow out of the race under phony pretenses and keep his mouth shut about it, even if it meant another presidential loss for the Democrats. This guy has a Senate career and an image to maintain, after all. The real reason behind his withdrawal would be painfully obvious to the American people (especially with this rumor circulating) and he would become even more of a cocktail party punch-line than he already is. What would his mother say? “Bloody their nose,” that’s what. And don’t think he won’t.

I think whether the rumor is true or not, the Biden pick has severely wounded Obama. If he remains on the ticket, the Democrats will have to sprint toward the White House hauling his dead weight. If they drop him, Biden will tell the whole world why. What’s more, it will call into question Obama’s judgment (just like the Palin picked called into question McCain’s, remember?) and ability to close the deal, basically amounting to him asking Hillary to bail him out. And I’m still very skeptical that Hillary is even willing to lend him a helping hand.

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