Biden Wins Veepstakes

23 08 2008

With all the chatter during the past week of Senator Biden of Delaware rumored to top Obama’s VP shortlist its not that much of a surprise that The Chosen one chose Uncle Joe even if its a little anti-climatic. I sincerely doubt that all those people who signed up for text message alerts from the campaign were got excited about Obama-Biden ticket. That said though Biden cannot deliver a battleground state and does have a tendency to talk too much, he is not a bad pick.

Consider what Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo said earlier this week.

…I think he’d be a good choice. On substance, maybe a really good choice. Most senators grasp of foreign policy is fairly thin — and it tends to be heavily influenced by whatever lobbyists or power players are in their orbit. But Biden has a pretty deep knowledge of pretty much every big foreign policy question. And his ideas and judgment strike me as fundamentally sane.

Back in 2004, when I was writing a piece for The Atlantic about John Kerry, I did long interview with Biden in his office on Capitol Hill. And I remember coming away thinking, this is the guy you’d want to have making big decisions on the key foreign policy questions. To the extent that we think Obama needs someone with deep foreign policy knowledge in a constitutional office (i.e., non-fireable) to add ballast to his foreign policy vision I’m not sure I could think of a much better person.

I largely agree with that sentiment. Biden also brings another asset to the ticket. He can go negative in a knowledgeable way against the McCain campaign in the same way that he has against the Bush administration during the last few years while Obama remains above the fray and speaks that pretty words.

Of course, there are those who may find Obama’s pick less than inspiring and even disagreeable with what Obama’s been selling the last year and a half. Ron Fournier at the Associated Press offered his bit of “analysis” earlier today:

For all his self-confidence, the 47-year-old Illinois senator worried that he couldn’t beat Republican John McCain without help from a seasoned politician willing to attack. The Biden pick is the next logistical step in an Obama campaign that has become more negative — a strategic decision that may be necessary but threatens to run counter to his image.


But as several observers have noted time and time again, Obama is a shrewd sober thinking politician not just some idealist willing to throw caution to the winds. Perhaps it would have been bolder to go with say Governors Sebelius or Napolitano (my favorite), but being a change candidate does not necessarily preclude recognizing how to enhance his chances in November by inoculating himself against perceived weaknesses.

More importantly, as Ryan Lizza observed in his thorough and lengthy profile of Obama in the New Yorker several weeks ago the Illinois Senator has never been shy about courting more experienced hands to better manipulate the levers of power. In fact, its been critical to how he engineered his rise from the bowels of local Chicago politics to national prominence. And Biden is part of that insider crowd. But just because Obama picked Biden as his VP does not mean that Obama will become Biden after 8 years in office.

Besides at least he did not pick Madame Inevitable.




One response

23 08 2008
b real



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