You Know Joe, He's Always On The Go
Local humor. It's an annoying ad on Iowa City cable.
But Joe Biden is on the go, and now, we know. (Sorry.) We know why he's held onto the Senate seat. He did it to travel to the Middle East, with four other Senators, on a fact-finding mission--as a Senator.
It accomplishes several things: he wants to bring back an on the ground assessment that's still fresh on Jan. 20. He's traveling with new Foreign Relations chair John Kerry. And it's a bipartisan delegation which keeps the Team Obama hand extended across the aisle.
Logistically, it's easier. Sure, there's a Secret Service bubble, but there's ONLY a Secret Service bubble. After Jan. 20 it gets harder to move Joe around, because a sitting Vice President has not only the Secret Service. He'll carry the whole military apparatus as well, as part of his Just In Case job duties. If the worst should happen, Joe needs the atomic football at his fingertips. Years ago I covered Dan Quayle, and his motorcade was the full presidential drill. This Politico article says an overseas VP trip would take as long as two months to set up.
I also think Biden was just damn proud of getting sworn in again, one part thank you Delaware and one part feather in his cap: "On Tuesday, Biden was sworn in as one of six Senators in history who have been elected to serve a seventh term." Without googling I'll name the others: Hayden, Thurmond, Byrd, Inouye, Kennedy. (But not Stevens. Stevens was appointed in `68, elected to a short term in `70, then re-elected six times from `72 through `02 before losing last November. So I guess that's six senators elected to seven FULL terms.)
So this one trip will be the accomplishment of the seventh term. He'll be a Secret Service nightmare; he told the press he was going to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan when the itenerary was still being kept quiet for security. But that's just Joe being Joe. It's his job, ya know?