Commentary Magazine


Caught In The Crossfire

Joe Biden can’t get a break. No visibility, no portfolio. And now the Blago scandal is shedding light on his own unseemly stunt with the Delaware Senate seat. Gail Collins writes:

Look at Delaware, where the election left yet another Senate seat vacant and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner quickly announced that she’d be appointing Joe Biden’s longtime aide, Edward Kaufman, to the job. Given the fact that Biden wants his seat to eventually go to his son, Beau, who is currently serving in Iraq with the Army National Guard, some observers found it a tad convenient that Minner happened to choose a person no one has ever heard of who is intensely loyal to the Biden family and has already promised not to run in the next election.

The New Republic’s Michael Crowley had similar thoughts:

Amid all this talk about how not to handle an open Senate seat–not just in Illinois but in New York–it’s worth recalling the somewhat tacky move Joe Biden and company pulled in Delaware, which installed a longtime Biden aide as a placeholder in his former seat, apparently to pave the way for Biden’s son to succeed him in two years.This is obviously more comparable to the Caroline Kennedy scenario, and the complaints that choosing her would be anti-democratic, than to the naked corruption of Blagojevich. But it still wasn’t exactly played by Fred Wertheimer rules.

Beyond Biden, that’s the “beauty” of Blago-gate — it illuminates all of the seedy self-dealing and seemingly benign activities that don’t normally attract attention. When Governor David Paterson declares with regard to the open New York Senate seat that Blago-gate “made him ‘more resolved’ to find someone based on ‘merit’ and to pick someone who can win in 2010,”we saw the beneficial impact of the Illinois scandal, but also the sad truth that without Klieg lights pointed their way most politicians never bother much with “merit.”

So Blago-gate has nicked Biden a bit, but he’s topped out on his career, and provided he doesn’t resume his gaffe-spree (unlikely since he’s under careful watch), he’ll remain on the ticket in 2012. As for everyone, they should beware. The media and voters are watching.