Vice President Joe Biden, the three-time candidate for president of the United States, appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show recently. Vanity Fair noted that a hint of seriousness permeated the usual jocularity that characterizes late-night banter.
“But after the first commercial break, Colbert went in on a tougher line of inquiry: ‘Mr. Vice President, you want to talk about issues, but a lot of people want to talk about your gaffes,’ he said. ‘You have called yourself a gaffe machine…. In the last few weeks, you’ve confused New Hampshire for Vermont, said Bobby Kennedy and MLK were assassinated in the late ’70s, assured us, ‘I’m not going nuts.’ Follow up question: Are you going nuts?’”
“Biden, who obviously knew the question would come up, came prepared with a joke: ‘Look, the reason I came on the Jimmy Kimmel show is because I’m not,’ he cracked.”
The response was witty enough, similar to the one that President Reagan gave during the second 1984 debate with Walter Mondale when asked, essentially, about the issue of age in the executive. “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Even Mondale laughed at that quip. Reagan’s 49 state landslide was assured.
Colbert also asked Biden about appointments should be become president. Newsbusters notes that the late-night host offered a couple of intriguing ideas. First, one about former President Obama.
“During a lightning round of questions near the end of the lengthy interview, Colbert asked Biden about Obama: ‘Have you called him for advice?’ Biden replied: ‘I’ve called – I talk to Barack…I guess now it’s about three, four weeks ago.’ Colbert then proposed a new job for the former president: ‘Would you appoint him to the Supreme Court?’
Biden replied, “Hell yeah.” The audience erupted in jeers.
The exchange has been taken as a joke by most media analysts. However, the idea of Justice Obama is not as crazy as it would seem at first glance, at least from the leftward perspective.
He is a Harvard Law graduate and, as Colbert noted, did teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Obama’s status as a former president of the United States is also a resume enhancer. William Howard Taft was an American president who later was appointed to the Supreme Court.
Colbert went on with the line of questioning.
“Colbert then asked if Biden ever ‘asked Michelle Obama for advice?’ Biden joked: ‘Only to be my vice president.’ After more cheers and applause, he clarified: ‘I’m only joking! Michelle, I’m joking. That was a joke.’”
Or was it?
Michelle Obama has been touted by some Democratic insiders, not as a candidate for vice president, but for the top job. She has been voted the most admired woman in the world on several occasions.
She would greatly enhance Biden’s chances of being elected president if she would agree to be his running mate, if only for the fact that she would step into the presidency should the man known as a gaffe machine were to have a breakdown. The example of Hillary Clinton presents itself, though she was a senator before her first run and a secretary of state before her second. Also, Ms. Clinton lost quite unexpectedly to Donald Trump in 2016.
Several things stand in the way of Ms. Obama getting into elected office. One of her initiatives, to get public school students to eat healthy lunches, was a public policy disaster.
Students rejected the meals in droves, throwing them in the trash as inedible, and sneaking onto various school campuses their preferred meals, junk food to be sure, but at least they would not choke a goat.
The main reason that Michelle Obama will never run for elected office is that she does not want to, and certainly as second fiddle to Joe Biden. As she knows from first-hand observation, elected politics can be very hard and exhausting. She has decided, according to insiders, to stay out of the fray and rake it in with her husband.
Biden knows that Michelle Obama is not going to be his running mate. That’s why he reassured her and Colbert’s audience that it was a joke, albeit with a hint of wistfulness.