Winning the “Heartbeat Away” Argument

Winning the “Heartbeat Away” Argument August 16, 2012

Anyone else wondering why so many Romney surrogates and conservative pundits are jumping into the attack against Biden?  Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, all suggesting that Obama should abandon Biden.  They don’t actually want him to replace Biden with Hillary, of course; that would make for a much stronger Dem ticket.  But, knowing that Obama won’t abandon Biden, they argue that he should, in order to make the point that Biden is unfit to be Vice President.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence this comes right after the naming of Paul Ryan for the Vice Presidency on the GOP ticket.  Even on the Saturday when news first broke of Paul Ryan’s appointment, liberal commentators sharpened their knives and began to make the argument: “The first job of a Vice President is to be ready to assume the Presidency.  Is this 42-year-old without executive experience really ready to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office?”  (That they scoffed at conservatives who — with at least as much justification — made the same argument in 2008 against Obama, who was not going to be a heartbeat away from the President’s chair but actually in the President’s chair, is conveniently ignored.)

Anyway, the VP candidate is named for the GOP, and Republicans brace for the attack against Ryan.  Then, along comes Uncle Joe Biden, one of the most inept and yet curiously successful politicians of modern times, who delivers a complete gift to the Republicans with his quote about how “they wanna put y’all back in chains.”

Excellent.  Cue the attacks: Biden is a buffoon, Biden has lost his marbles, Biden is mentally unstable, Biden is a terrible choice for Vice President.  The attacks write themselves.

I’m not knocking it.  It’s all justified.  Ryan is a fantastic choice for VP, and the thought of President Biden is truly frightening.  But these criticisms of Biden seem coordinated and intended to place the emphasis on Obama’s dubious choice for Vice President, intended to make the argument that you should be much more afraid of a President Biden than a President Ryan.  The choice of the VP candidate is important in part because it speaks to the ability of the candidate for the Presidency to make sound decisions.  Before the Dems even got a chance to attack Ryan, Republicans were able to turn the current Vice President into Exhibit A in the argument against Obama’s sound judgment.

In other words, just when the Dems wanted to make the argument, “Do you really want Rep. Ryan a heartbeat away from the Presidency?” Republicans were able to make an even stronger argument, “Do you really want Joe Biden a heartbeat away from the Presidency?”  Brilliant.

Am I making this up?

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