On all the big questions, he has been – to put it politely – on the wrong side of history. In 1990, he voted against American forces expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. He voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and advocated splitting it into three states along ethnic lines. He opposed the Iraq troop surge of 2007 that pacified the country and rescued the US from the jaws of defeat.

Now, Mr Biden is pushing a policy of what he terms “counter-terrorism plus” – a scheme which involves a much smaller military presence in Afghanistan, with al-Qaeda elements being targeted at long range by military drones and smart missiles…

The Left, sensing that Mr Obama is wavering and beginning to rethink his campaign contention that Afghanistan was the “good war” as opposed to Mr Bush’s evil Iraq adventure, is throwing its lot in with Mr Biden. There’s a solidifying conventional wisdom in Washington that Mr Biden’s star is in the ascendant. This week’s Newsweek front cover sporting the vice-president’s steely visage beside the headline “Why Joe is No Joke” is no doubt already framed in the Biden downstairs loo. If Mr Obama really believes that’s true then we could all be in big trouble.