The Best and Worst Vice Presidents Ever

Published: Fusion (October 4, 2016)

As Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, and Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence prepare to square off in this year’s sole vice presidential debate, it’s worth taking a moment to analyze the history of the office they seek to occupy next year.

The story of the vice presidency, like that of the presidency, is perhaps best told through the experiences of those individual vice presidents who left the biggest mark on the office. While there are many presidents whose names are widely known, only a handful of vice presidents are remembered—and with good reason. As one vice president famously remarked, the authors of the Constitution so neutered the position that in its own right it is “not worth a bucket of warm spit.” More than two centuries later, however, the position is much stronger than our forefathers had ever conceived of it—although even during the early years of the republic, it was always full of colorful characters. read more

Biden: The president we deserve, but not the one we need

Published: The Good Men Project (October 22, 2015)

To paraphrase a famous line from “The Dark Knight”: Joe Biden is the president we deserve, but not the one we need.

I’ve written quite a bit about Biden over the course of my career because – as a PhD student focusing on American political history – I can’t help but admire such a quintessential throwback. We live in a time of “authenticity” rather than authenticity, one in which presidential candidates can skyrocket to the top of the polls for blatant pandering and demagoguery that seems “real” rather than offering actual substance. By contrast, Biden has always been a politician who speaks his mind from a clearly genuine place (even if that makes him a bit gaffe-prone), usually with the underlying message that we need to create an America which focuses less on partisan bickering and more on helping those who need it most. read more

Why Biden’s Decision Matters (for the Vice Presidency)

Published: The Good Men Project (October 20, 2015)

As America prepares for Joe Biden’s decision on whether or not to run for president next year, it is perhaps appropriate to reflect on the impact his choice will have on the office he currently holds – the vice presidency of the United States.

In one sense, Biden’s legacy as vice president is already secure. While scaling back the excesses that caused his predecessor, Dick Cheney, to be widely viewed as the secret power behind the throne, he still played a key role in shaping and pushing for the Obama administration’s agenda on issues ranging from fiscal policy and gun control to the war in Afghanistan. He also deserves a great deal of credit for improving his commander-in-chief’s political fortunes, in particular turning attention away from Obama’s poorly-reviewed performance in the first 2012 presidential debate by decisively besting Paul Ryan in the vice presidential match-off. Despite occasionally attracting the wrong kind of attention with highly publicized gaffes, Biden ultimately falls into the modern tradition established by predecessors like Walter Mondale, Al Gore, and even Cheney himself – namely, that of an important player in the administration of the president whose name will always be associated with his own. read more

Stop telling Joe Biden to run for president

Published: Salon (September 17, 2015)The Daily Dot (September 14, 2015)

Perhaps it was inevitable that the Internet would want Joe Biden to run for president. After all, Hillary Clinton has maintained a massive lead in national polls since the beginning of the 2016 presidential election cycle and seemingly inevitable elections are kind of boring—especially when compared to the heated 2008 contest between Clinton and then Senator Barack Obama. Because he is one of the country’s most prominent Democratic politicians, has made two White House bids in the past, and also served in the Obama White House, Biden is a natural choice to face off against Clinton. read more

Joe Biden’s Legacy for Battered Women

Published: The Good Men Project (August 25, 2015)

I have a guilty conscience. Although I respect Vice President Biden quite a bit, I recently wrote an op-ed arguing that it would be a bad idea for him to run for president. My concern (then and now) is that Biden, despite being a qualified statesman, simply doesn’t have the political chops or base of support to mount a viable campaign against either the Hillary Clinton juggernaut or the Bernie Sanders insurgency. If anything, a Biden campaign would only weaken the Democratic ticket in November by dredging up all kinds of mud against his opponents – one of whom, of course, will eventually be the party’s nominee. read more

Should Joe Biden run?

Published: Salon (August 9, 2015)Good Men Project (August 4, 2015)

Should Barack Obama’s vice president seek a White House term of his own?

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No. Definitely not.

This article is a response to the recent rumors that Vice President Joe Biden is going to make a run for the White House in 2016. I’m not going to speculate as to the man’s intentions (I have no way of knowing them), but rather discuss in a point-by-point fashion why a Biden presidential campaign would be a bad idea. Let’s start from the top:

1. He could never beat Hillary Clinton … or Bernie Sanders, for that matter. read more

Why Joe Biden Should Run For President in 2016

Published: mic (July 17, 2013)The Morning Call (July 17, 2013)

According to a recent Politico article, Vice President Joe Biden is being criticized by some of his backers for not doing more to promote his 2016 presidential candidacy. Should Biden choose to run, he would, no doubt, face a formidable opponent in Hillary Clinton, the erstwhile first lady, senator, and secretary of state who is widely considered to be the Democratic front-runner. It’s right that she should be considered a top contender for the Oval Office, given her impressive resume and long history of remarkable political resilience. But there is also a strong case to be made for Biden’s candidacy. To whit: read more

Joe Biden Gaffe: VP’s Jewish Comments Were Not Anti-Semitic

Published: mic (May 25, 2013)

While Joe Biden is notorious for his gaffes, his recent comments in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month should not be designated as such … despite the outcry from some critics claiming otherwise.

First, let’s take a look at what he said:

“The truth is that Jewish heritage, Jewish culture, Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it’s fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage. The Jewish people have contributed greatly to America. No group has had such an outsized influence per capita as all of you standing before you, and all of those who went before me and all of those who went before you.” read more