The past eight years have seen Joe Biden become something of a political afterthought. Following his unsuccessful race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 he faded into the political background as Barack Obama’s Vice President. He was a respected legislator who was the fourth most senior senator a the time of his resignation to assume the Vice Presidency in 2009. He had previously sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988. But he was never a truly serious candidate for the office, neither in 1988 or 2008. In this past presidential election he decided to step aside and not run, but despite some popular calls for his candidacy he was probably never a serious possibility.
However, the fact that Biden was never a serious presidential candidate and is now fondly known for his smirks and verbal gaffes should not detract from his contributions to the Obama administration. First, Biden is fondly known. He maintained a favorable standing with the American public for the majority of his vice presidency. He also had a fairly collegial relationship with Congressional Republicans. Biden was able to work with Congress on numerous pieces of legislation in order to bargain for much of President Obama’s legislative legacy. Perhaps as, if not more, important was his role within the administration. Biden frequently served as sounding board, administration contrarian, and adjudicator of internal disputes. Finally, he played a lead role for over twenty years, even after he assumed the vice presidency, in legislative efforts to end violence against women.
In foreign policy, until the troop withdrawal in 2009. Joe Biden oversaw much of the administration’s policy on Iraq. He also had a significant voice in deciding policy in Afghanistan. Furthermore, he was many times handed the difficult foreign relationships to tend. Because Joe Biden is personable. His view of foreign policy rests on personality and personal relationships. He used those relationships to manage difficult foreign policy in Iraq, Columbia, Korea, and Ukraine. Many times it has been Biden’s job to “make space for things to happen”. In many ways Biden was the Obama administration’s foremost purveyor of statecraft. Many of the successes of the past eight years, both foreign and domestic, whether they are subsequently done away but the next administration, are the successes of Joe Biden.
He will soon he gone, however. The legislative and personal successes of which he has been apart may not stand the test of time and may be forgotten. He may not get his just due for these successes even if they are not forgotten. What will be remembered, what piece of Joe Biden’s vice presidency will be remembered and perhaps even celebrated, are the Joe Biden memes which will live forever online. And to be fair, this may not even detract from Biden’s legacy. They are that good. Below are just a sampling of Joe Biden memes in which he welcomes Donald Trump to the White House: