- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2012

President Obama should dump Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate to improve his diminishing chances of reelection. The economy is in the gutter, consumer confidence is depressed and the unemployment rate is getting worse. Mr. Obama has had three years to turn America around and has failed, leaving him with no rational argument for another four years. His only shot is to keep playing dirty pool and attacking his Republican challengers with salacious but untrue allegations. This tactic is undermined when the biggest liability on either campaign is the man Mr. Obama currently has sitting a heartbeat away from the presidency.

On Wednesday, the president admitted his veep was creating problems for him, saying, “His phrasing is a distraction from what is at stake.” That shouldn’t be a surprise. Mr. Biden has always been a perplexing pick. Not only has he defended the indefensible like China’s one-child policy, mocked deaf people and was forced out of the 1988 presidential race for an ugly history of plagiarism, he bizarrely referred to then-Sen. Barack Obama - who at the time was the only black U.S. senator - as clean. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” then-Sen. Biden said in 2007 when he too was running for president. That wasn’t a rare slip up. Mr. Biden has a habit of shooting from the hip and saying racially insensitive things, like when he warned a largely black audience this week that if the Romney-Ryan ticket wins in November, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”

Two questions are being batted around Washington in the event Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is added to the Democratic ticket. What job should the prez give Joe to placate him and keep him from running his mouth off in anger? How about secretary of state? The answers for the two overlap. First, Mr. Biden doesn’t need a consolation prize after serving as vice president of the United States. And in response to the latter, it would be crazy to put a gaffe machine in position to cause trouble in the touchy world of international diplomacy. There are many Democrats who make more sense for State, such as former presidential candidate and Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who is a serious player on the world stage. Serious is not something anyone accuses Joe Biden of being.

White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed Thursday that the president wasn’t throwing his No. 2 overboard, but such a denial by a flack doesn’t mean much. The Democratic National Convention at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., isn’t until the first week of September, which gives Mr. Obama three more weeks to change his mind about a running mate. It would be wrongheaded to suggest the thought hasn’t crossed the president’s mind. Unless campaign operatives chain Mr. Biden to the wall of a dungeon for the next two and half months, there is always a good chance he will stick his foot in it again and unload something stupid. A big mistake at the wrong time late in the cycle could cost Democrats a close election.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).