The conventional wisdom, one also supported by more than 50 years of survey research and data points on the nominating process, argues that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not replace Vice President Joe Biden, D-Maryland, on the Democratic Party's presidential ticket in 2012.
After all, Biden is an accomplished, national-level public official and foreign policy expert, and aside from his almost-regular gaffes, has amassed more than a modest amount of credits in President Barack Obama's first term. His lobbying work on Capitol Hill helped the administration pass both the emergency legislation that stabilized the banking system and credit markets during the financial crisis' acute stage in the fall 2008/winter 2009, and he also swayed votes for the near-$800 billion fiscal stimulus package that helped end the Great Recession.
On the foreign policy front, Biden, like Obama, can point to the continued wind-down of the controversial war in Iraq, a framework for an end to the Afghanistan War, and one incontrovertible accomplishment: the capture of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States.
In other words, from an accomplishment standpoint, Biden hardly warrants being replaced. And that's where the VP-on-the-outs talk should end.
But of course it hasn't ended, and perhaps the youthful Gov. Cuomo's rise is responsible for some of the continuing buzz. On Tuesday Cuomo bobbed and weaved, but never flatly said no as he was repeatedly pressed by reporters in Buffalo concerning whether he would be willing to succeed Biden, The Pocono Record reported.
That's just political chatter and silliness, Cuomo said several times when quizzed about The New York Post's report of a leading Republican's prediction that Obama would choose him to run for vice president next year.
I'm governor of New York, I've been governor for six months; there's a lot of work to do, Cuomo added, after he was asked what he would tell Obama if he was offered the nation's No. 2 job.
Again, an Obama overture to Cuomo is not likely, on a 0% to 100% scale, put it at 5%.
That said, there's always 'the other side of the argument,' and with the aforementioned in mind, what would be the reasons Obama might sub Cuomo for Biden?
1) Protect Your Liberal Flank - The Tea Party faction of the Republican Party may be surprised by this, but many liberal Democrats view Obama as being too moderate -- that he essentially compromised too much with moderates, in his first term, delaying the liberal public policy agenda. Placing Cuomo, a public official with strong backing from liberal interest groups, on the 2012 ticket would signal to the Democratic Party's liberal wing that Obama will redouble his efforts to enact liberal reforms and policies.
2) A Governor of All the People - That said, for all of his liberal cred, Cuomo has shown an ability to adeptly go counter-base: he passed a property tax cap in New York, enacted budget reforms that will help right the fiscal ship in the Empire State, and also marshaled both ethics reform and same-sex marriage bills through Albany. I.E., he's loyal to his base, but he is not an absolutist regarding his backers: he's shown the courage to go against his base's wishes, if the interest of the broader state of New York is stronger.
3) The Bridge to 2016 - Putting the youthful Cuomo on the ticket also creates a bridge to the future for liberal Democrats. Assuming the U.S. economic expansion continues, and Obama's second term is deemed a success, a Cuomo vice presidency would strategically position Cuomo for a presidential run in 2016. That should delight the party's liberals, who want the presidency in liberal Democratic hands for at least 16 years, in order to make up for the disastrous, neoconservative-led George W. Bush presidency, 2001-2008.
Again, a Cuomo vice presidential candidacy is not likely in 2012. But sometimes in U.S. presidential politics, the unexpected occurs.