Picture this scenario...
One month from now, the Palin pick has proven a bonanza for the McCain campaign. A large chunk of Hillary's 18 million voters have been won over. Conservatives are unified and energized, and the previously-undiscovered "Maxim magazine vote" is suddenly giving McCain large margins among young males.
Joe Biden will disappear from the campaign trail, and we will later learn it was to see a doctor. A previously-undiscovered, vaguely ominous health issue will be discovered, and Biden will sadly announce that he cannot continue as Obama's running mate. With a sudden need for a new one, Obama will turn... to Hillary Clinton.
Call it the Torricelli gambit.
Now, Biden has always had a reputation of being a one-man gaffe machine, but his public performance as of late suggests more than mere gaffes. Take this recent appearance in Pennsylvania with Sen. Barack Obama and both candidates' spouses. Some may attribute it to over-exuberance, but others who view this clip see someone more akin to the town drunk. In the video, Michelle Obama clearly is uncomfortable and whispers to her husband before taking a seat with Biden's wife, Jill. Barack reassures her but he soon starts shuffling his feet and looking down as Biden becomes increasingly goofy. By the time Biden starts wandering the front porch from where he is speaking in search of his old friend Bobby Casey, memories of James Stockdales' meltdown in the 1992 vice presidential debate were in full bloom. Saturday Night Live's parody of Ross Perot taking Stockdale for a long car ride and attempting to dump him along the roadside became permanently etched in Americans' minds in viewing the credibility of Perot's third party bid.
Let's not forget that Biden has survived two brain aneurysms. Many aren't so lucky and those who survive often suffer permanent damage. To my knowledge, none of Biden's medical records have been released. Obama released a mere one-page statement in contrast to the hundreds of pages McCain released right down to the Ambien prescription. Most of the media have been pretty mum to date on the Biden problem. Notably, however, ABC News' Jake Tapper remarked about the goofiness of Biden's comments during a West Palm Beach, Florida appearance as staff aides struggled to get him to end his remarks. More seriously, the Obama campaign furiously worked to put out a firestorm created by alleged comments Biden made to senior Israeli officials that "Israel [would] have to reconcile itself with the nuclearization of Iran." Yesterday, Biden told a campaign audience in response to a question that an Obama-Biden administration would pursue criminal charges against top members of the Bush administration if the Democratic ticket wins this November. The continuing popularity of a video showing a seemingly drunk Biden singing The Villages jingle isn't helping matters. Nor is his Michael Scott moment from his failed presidential campaign where he cluelessly slurs Indian-Americans.
After Gov. Sarah Palin's spectacular performance in her introduction to the American people at the Republican National Convention, the Obama campaign may be looking towards the scheduled Biden-Palin debate with much trepidation. Media attention to Palin's candidacy drew a television audience last night of more than 37 million, only slightly less than the audience Obama drew during his acceptance speech last week in Denver and 13 million more than the audience Biden's speech drew. A new CBS poll, which had shown a significant 8-point lead for Obama-Biden last week, now shows the candidates tied at 42%. So the whispers are beginning. The news media is too much in bed with Obama's campaign to talk too loudly about the growing Biden problem. But keep a close eye on Biden. And don't be surprised if he exits stage left never to be heard from again. Hillary Clinton may not seem like such a bad choice for Obama after all.