BY JOHN FUND – As President Obama sinks in the polls, Democrats and liberal pundits inevitably are searching for a scapegoat. The most likely victim appears to be gaffe-prone Vice President Joe Biden, who has become the focus of speculation that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just might replace him on the 2012 Democratic ticket.
Former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, his state’s first African-American governor, touched off the controversy. Writing at Politico.com last week, Mr. Wilder argued that Mr. Biden’s tenure has been undistinguished and chock full of “too many YouTube moments.” He charged that Mr. Biden “has continued to undermine what little confidence the public may have had in him.”
By way of contrast, Mr. Wilder says that Hillary Clinton has excelled in her role. “Clinton has been nothing but a team player who has earned good marks since being asked to serve as secretary of state.” Having Mrs. Clinton join the 2012 ticket, he said, would revive the Democratic Party and reestablish the party’s working-class voters who found her appealing during the 2012 primaries against Mr. Obama.
Pundits jumped on Mr. Wilder’s comments and expressed near-universal approval. On his syndicated national show, Chris Matthews of MSNBC assembled a panel to discuss the Wilder intervention. Howard Fineman of Newsweek, a longtime Hillary watcher, said Mrs. Clinton would accept a place on the 2012 ticket “in a second.” John Heilemann, a reporter New York magazine, said the major obstacle would be to “figure out a way for Biden to slide aside happily” and suggested that Mr. Biden replace Mrs. Clinton as Secretary of State.
Along the way, Mr. Heilemann outlined why President Obama just might want to have a steadier hand at his side for his re-election campaign: “The Republican attack on Obama is going to revolve around ‘too liberal,’ but also ‘too incompetent.’ . . . They’re going to say, ‘Look, you hired this guy. He was too young for this job. He didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t have the experience, and look what’s happened.'”
Hmmm. Sounds a lot like the campaign Mrs. Clinton ran against Barack Obama in 2008, complete with that infamous commercial asking voters who they wanted in the White House when a 3 a.m. crisis call came in.