Barack Obama and the Case of the Missing Vice President-Elect

Since he was chosen to fill out the Democratic ticket back in August, Joe Biden has maintained that he doesn’t want the expansive authority and high profile that Dick Cheney carved out for himself as vice president.

It certainly made for good campaign rhetoric – it never hurts to tell voters that you’re very different from a man with a 72 percent disapproval rating – and it’s not like he had much choice in the matter, anyway: With his celebrity appeal and active interest in policy details, Barack Obama was never going to be overshadowed by his vice president, inside or outside the White House.

Still, you’ve got to wonder if Biden really appreciated what he was getting himself into. Cheney’s bargain with George W. Bush was fairly simple: I’ll handle the messy and cumbersome policy minutiae from my undisclosed location; you deliver the speeches, pose for the photos and travel among the people. Both men got what they wanted out of the deal. But is Biden really happy with his deal? While he’s surrendering Cheney’s internal power, if the six weeks since the election are any clue, he seems on pace to be just as invisible as Cheney in public.

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