Political Animal


August 16, 2012 5:12 PM The Rumor That Won’t Die

By Ed Kilgore

I’m going to reprint a big chunk of an afternoon post by the Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper in the hopes that some reader can explain it to me:

President Barack Obama’s closest political adviser, David Axelrod, would not rule out dropping Vice President Joe Biden from this year’s presidential ticket when asked about the rumors this morning on MSNBC.
“All right. David, it’s Sam Stein,” said the Huffington Post writer to Axelrod. “I”m guessing you’re not taking John McCain’s advice to drop him and put Hillary Clinton? But a more serious question —”
“Far be it from me to denigrate Senator McCain’s advice on vice presidential nominees,” Axelrod joked, making a reference to McCain picking Sarah Palin for the Republican ticket in 2008.
Nevertheless, Axelrod did not rule out the suggestion, and did not definitively state President Obama’s position on the issue.

Nor, I might add, did Axelrod take the trouble to rule out the possibility that Martians might barge into the MSNBC studio with copies of Mitt Romney’s long-lost tax returns.

Yet Halper, who earlier in the day suggested the Big Switch was in Progress because the Vice President and the Secretary of State were both on Obama’s schedule (imagine consulting the top two officials in your administration!), wasn’t daunted by Axelrod’s mockery, which he suggested could be a ruse to disguise the imminent dismissal of Biden.

Why do conservatives eat up this sort of stuff with a spoon (Halper’s posts are getting lively play in the wignutosphere)? I mean, sure, speculation about Biden might have been in order a year or so ago. But less than three weeks before the Convention?

If they are really that bored, they could always join the discussion about the relative hotness of Paul Ryan, another subject of apparently endless interest on the Right that extends into the MSM.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Lifelong Dem on August 16, 2012 5:29 PM:

    Dumping Biden and putting Hillary Clinton in the VP slot is the right wing's absolute wet dream. IF Obama was crazy enough to do it, the right wing media would have an orgasm as it shot out all the video and columns it's been storing up about Whitewater, Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky, travelgate and on and on and on.

    I just have to wonder if someone in the Obama organization--hell, maybe even Axelrod himself--is "leaking" this stuff just to keep the pot stirred.

  • T2 on August 16, 2012 5:32 PM:

    "Journalists" of Halper's ilk can't waste their time revealing the myriad of lies spouted by Mitt Romney - they spend it dreaming. Apparently there is a standing Thursday lunch meeting by Obama and Biden...been going on for almost 4 years now.

  • Mimikatz on August 16, 2012 5:33 PM:

    Wishful thinking, pure and simple.

    Look, these people aren't part of the reality-based community. You have to remember that.

  • danimal on August 16, 2012 5:42 PM:

    If the conservatives are chasing this shiny, shiny object of the Big Switch, they're wasting their time. Which, from an Obama campaign perspective, is wonderful.

  • T-Rex on August 16, 2012 5:59 PM:

    Yes, I wish the right would talk more about Ryan's supposedly devastating handsomeness. The first time someone chose a Veep on the basis of "hotness," he was Dan Quayle. The second time, she was Sarah Palin.

  • mk3872 on August 16, 2012 6:10 PM:

    They are hoping to gin-up PUMA female resentment of Obama ala 2008's Dem primary by saying that Obama won't dump Biden for Hillary.

  • Ronald on August 16, 2012 6:12 PM:

    I think the republicans...ooh! shiny!

    I'm sorry, what were we talking about today?

    I think Axelrod's somewhere going 'trololololo'

  • c u n d gulag on August 16, 2012 6:16 PM:


    Maybe 'cause they want to have Ryan at the top of the ticket, and Mitt as the VP?

    The Conservatives are ALL about projection.

    It it weren't for projection, and what to be against, which is their ramifications of their own positions, they'd have nothing to be for!

    "Jeez, bro!
    How SICK are you?
    I DO NOT want to date Mom, brother of mine!
    Never MIND what I said before!
    There's a MILLION guys who can't get a date to their Prom!
    I just have no one else that will go with me RIGHT NOW, since I'm in between boyfrie..., er, GIRLfriends!, to the Senior Prom!
    So, I'm not even thinkin' 'bout it.
    YOU ARE!!!
    What do you think my chances are of getting lucky with her?
    Maybe if you're not around, and Mom's in a good mood, I have a better chance than some of the others!

    NO! NO!! NO!!!
    IT'S NOT ME!!!!

  • Doug on August 16, 2012 6:27 PM:

    Axelrod didn't rule out replacing Biden because, while the odds are infitesimal, there IS a chance Mr. Biden MIGHT be replaced. He is, after all, subject to all the same ills and misfortunes as are we and should something of that sort unfortunately occur, OF COURSE he would be replaced.
    I probably shouldn't have written that. Now Axelrod's suggestion has been corroborated...

  • JR on August 16, 2012 6:37 PM:

    When I read this nonsense, I am convinced that the GOP is not-so-secretly plotting an Obama landslide. Having HRC on the ticket would only re-energize Hillary's legion of '08 supporters, especially those who were skeptical (or worse) of Obama. In fact, the presidential race would be over.

  • TCinLA on August 16, 2012 7:04 PM:

    Do we really need further evidence that someone who is enough of a dumbass to write for the Weekly Standard probably doesn't have sufficient IQ to qualify as Homo Sapiens?

  • digitusmedius on August 16, 2012 7:15 PM:

    I actually had hoped this would happen...maybe a switch between state and the VP slot for Biden and Clinton. But then I heard that Hillary had ruled out any more campaigns for public office at any level. Even if that were just usual political boilerplate insincere denial I'd think it would be too late now. It might look desperate. I think we're stuck with Biden for another 4.

  • Jim Treacher on August 16, 2012 7:37 PM:

    Is Ed saying that these hypothetical Martians embarrassed the Obama campaign and put them on the defensive for days, just as Biden has? Maybe some reader can explain that to me.

  • TR on August 16, 2012 7:38 PM:

    This is nothing more but an obvious effort to revive the Obama-Clinton tensions of 2008. Pass.

  • rrk1 on August 16, 2012 8:56 PM:

    This is so obviously a failed effort to gin up female resentment against Obama, who has defended women's rights steadfastly, that it's not worth any discussion. The Rethugs are so predictable, but it's a sideshow at best.

    Not that anyone should believe me, but I have it on excellent authority that HRC can't wait to retire. She may come out of retirement for 2016, but at the moment she's had enough.

    This is just such nonsensical and mendacious speculation that only produces more cynicism where too much already exists. There is no end to which the Rethugs won't go.

  • emjayay on August 16, 2012 9:06 PM:

    Hillary replacing Biden might not have actually been a bad idea. But if it was going to happen, obviously Biden would have announced some months ago that after all those years in public service he was going to retire and have some time for his family and grandchildren and wife and other pursuits. He is five years older than Hillary.

    Obama would have talked about how invaluable Biden had been to him with his long experience in Congress and dedication to the middle class etc. and how he was searching for someone half as good to replace hime. Then Hillary would have made a speech about after four years of working with Obama she had come to think he was the best president ever and how she would step up to serving another four years in another capacity. Obama would have talked about how Hillary had turned out to be his best appointment and an inspiration to people particularly women and sexual minorities around the world.

    However, none of this happened and it's a bit late unless Biden conveniently has a stroke or heart attack or something.

  • lkt on August 16, 2012 9:38 PM:

    Jim Treacher on August 16, 2012 7:37 PM:

    Is Ed saying that these hypothetical Martians embarrassed the Obama campaign and put them on the defensive for days, just as Biden has? Maybe some reader can explain that to me.

    Jimbo, may I call you that? Anyho, Jimbo, only in your alternate reality has the Obama camp been on defense "for days." Over what? The "chains" comment? Oh, Jimbo. That's lame even for you rubes who have spent four + years spewing vitriolic racist crap at POTUS about, well, any and everything. So, no.

    In this reality, "defense" is when Mittens reignites stories about what he's hiding in his tax returns just to distract the press from asking why mini-Mittens is now against his own budget and explaining why he was against the stimulus before he was for it and now against it again. Oh yeah, and his plan to end Medicare...as we know it...so he can give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

    Come on, Jimbo, they have meds that can keep you in this reality.

  • August J. Pollak on August 16, 2012 9:39 PM:

    It's because Sarah Palin went on Fox News yesterday and "suggested" that Obama dumb Biden. So now right-wing blogs are claiming that "Obama would never do it now! Palin changes the game again LOLOLOL!"

    I am serious. This is how they think.

  • Ron Byers on August 16, 2012 11:20 PM:

    I love Biden. His gaffes generally make my day. They almost always put voice to something I have been thinking. I mean he is one "big f**king deal."

    By all accounts he has done a great job as VP and has been as loyal as anyone in the administration.

  • kd bart on August 17, 2012 8:29 AM:

    It's because they have utter contempt for the audience that follows them. They play them for stupid rubes who will believe every word they write and/or said. So they can state anything.

  • FlipYrWhig on August 17, 2012 8:54 AM:

    I hear that Romney might drop Ryan, because his Medicare plan and budget have put the campaign on the defensive for days.

  • Darsan54 on August 17, 2012 9:28 AM:

    If conservatives hate Biden, I like him.

  • Jim Treacher on August 17, 2012 4:29 PM:

    Oh look, you guys are in denial about the Obama campaign! That's adorable.

    Yes, hon, everything's fine. It's all going gangbusters. Nothing to worry about.