Is this fanciful? One might have thought so—until last Monday. For in his May 14 commencement speech at Barnard College, President Obama seemed to be beginning subtly to pave the way for the switch.
In the more than half-hour-long speech, Vice President Biden is a nonperson, nowhere mentioned. Dr. Jill Biden isn’t mentioned either. Hillary, on the other hand, is praised effusively, as “doing an extraordinary job as one of the finest secretaries of state America has ever had.”
What’s more, in his remarks, President Obama went out of his way to point out, “Today, women are not just half this country; you’re half its workforce. . . . You’re more than half of our college graduates, and master’s graduates, and Ph.D.s.” Yet surely he’s aware that right now women fail to constitute even half of his presidential ticket. President Obama, sensitive to such matters, knows the devastating message that sends to young women—and to all the “Julias” of whatever age whom the Obama campaign considers its prototypical clients and supporters.
Even more fundamentally, as President Obama said at Barnard, “we know we are better off when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect of American life.” True. And is it fair if the buffoonish Biden gets a second shot at being vice president of the United States while Hillary Clinton, after the “extraordinary job” she’s done, is retired to private life?