(Above: Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner in Uvalde, Texas, September 1942. Left: FDR and John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner, campaigning 1932.)
Candidate Obama dashed to New Hampshire this day in order to perform heavy-lifting (above) against the RomneyRyan2012 ticket -- and mostly to direct trash-talking at Paul Ryan. Candidate Obama is freshly threatened by Ryan's energy and reputation. The expectation is that Candidate Obama will direct his best taunts at Mr. Romney. Not today. Mr. Obama has chosen to play 1 against 2 after Joe Biden's bizarre behavior these last days. Joe Biden is now a naked liability for OFA, and the challenge for the next twelve weeks is how to hide VPOTUS in plain sight so that he does the least damage. Before the "chains" episode, there was a strong case that Candidate Biden was useful for the deeply Blue states, where an occasional gaffe was welcomed as refreshing. That option is gone. Bidenism are now a laugh line for the Leno that no one much watches (boomers go to bed early like all oldsters); and Biden is too old for Conan O'Brien to use much. This creates friction for the campaign staffs -- a reverse Sarah Palin problem: Biden is VPOTUS and the Democratic Party wishes he were not; while Palin wasn't VPOTUS and the GOP wishes she were POTUS. My guess at how OFA will handle this mess is that it will not. Biden is like an August squirrel hanging around bird feeders. The squirrel will have his way no matter if it is practical or even desirable.
FDR and Cactus Jack, 1940.
A case can be made that the split between FDR and Cactus Jack Garner after 1938 is a model for how POTUS Obama can shed troublesome Joe Biden and still point to victory. Garner broke with FDR over much of the melodrama of the New Deal (NRA, court-packing, recession) and announced that he would make a run for the presidency in 1940. Garner bluntly believed two terms for FDR was enough. FDR delayed his decision to run for a third term all the way to the convention; and only last moment manipulation by FDR's agents prevented a floor fight and made it possible for FDR to to claim the nomination. FDR had jettisoned Warner at last, replacing the conservative, cherubic and cunning Cactus Jack with the elfish and romantic Henry Wallace. (Nevertheless, Garner remained critical to the Democratic Party apparatus long after his retirement: see him with six-gun-toting Senator Harry Truman, the rising star who would replace Wallace in 1944 and then replace FDR in 1945.) Will Obama fight Biden? Unlikely. Does Biden plan a presidential run in 2016 regardless of the outcome this year? Likely. Joe Biden, Unchained Melody (see below).