Vice President Joe Biden is a complete idiot. That truth, reinforced by a string of recent foreign policy gaffes, is supported by evidence too great to summarize in one article. Suffice it to say that Uncle Joe’s incompetence is stipulated by all political parties. He apparently believes he still has a shot to be President. There is no chance of that–but on Nov. 4, Biden could suddenly become the most powerful man in the U.S., and therefore the world.
That is because the fight for control of the U.S. Senate is shaping up to be far closer than it ought to be, in a year when President Barack Obama’s approval rating hovers in the 30s and Democrats must defend several Senate seats in states won by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. Weak incumbent Kay Hagan is hanging on in North Carolina; in Kansas, of all places, a Democrat-leaning independent may unseat the GOP’s Pat Roberts.
If Democrats can hang onto four toss-up seats, but no more than that, the Senate that emerges on Election Day will be deadlocked in a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats (including three independents that caucus with Democrats). According to the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 3), the Vice President “shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided”–i.e. if there is a tie.
With the House of Representatives still controlled by Republicans, and the White House controlled by Obama, the Senate will remain the key to unlocking government gridlock. But while Majority Leader Harry Reid may retain his post and procedural control even in a 50-50 Senate, he will be significantly weakened by his party’s losses. On key issues–especially judicial nominees, now subject to simple majority vote–he will need Biden.
So, too, will House Republicans, if they want their legislation passed through the upper house. And so, too, will President Obama himself. Nothing either side wishes to achieve will move forward unless Uncle Joe gets his way. Crucially, as the two sides position themselves for the 2016 presidential contest, Biden will be able to set the framework of debate, perhaps even manipulating outcomes to pit Republican candidates against each other.
President of the Senate may not quite be the height to which the excessively self-regarding Biden hoped to rise. But the role suits the one skill set he actually possesses–namely, the ability to cut backroom deals. That may be good for the country as a whole. On the other hand, it could create new opportunities for corruption, and for Biden’s eccentricities to run wild.
Biden is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser in Los Angeles Monday.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak