Monday, August 25, 2008


OK, I know you've all been waiting on pins and needles to hear what I have to say about Senator Obama's pick of Joe Biden for VP. I've kept you in the dark long enough...

Biden is a very good choice; not as good a choice as other potentials (Clark, Sebelius), but better than others (Clinton, Bayh).

Why? Well, for one Biden is not as good as Clark because Clark would have been a much more enthusiastic, much more aggressive attacker of the Republican candidate (and I believe, like Josh Marshall does, that this is the primary job of the VP candidate). Also, Sebelius would have silenced the PUMA contingent who wants to disrupt the convention and make it about Hill and Bill. As if the Clintons mattered anymore! The only one who truly believes Hillary Clinton matters -- other than Hill and Bill -- is John McCan't.

Biden is also better than Evan Bayh, who for all of his youthful exuberance was an ardent supporter of going to war in Iraq. He comes from one of the most conservative states in the midwest, and I don't believe he would have brought the state into the blue column this year.

Biden has a big mouth, likes to use it, and has frequently been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. His speech after being selected had some choice words about McCan't as well regarding sitting around the kitchen table.

Still -- and this is my primary worry -- he has been serving in the Senate for over 30 years. That negates any argument he can make that McCan't is a Washington insider. Joe's been on the inside a very long time. I personally don't like the record of sitting members of Congress running for the highest office. Of the 43 presidents we have had, only three -- JFK, Warren G. Harding, and James Garfield -- were members of Congress at the time they were candidates. One thing these three men have in common is that they all died while in office. Having two sitting Senators, one a long-term office-holder, on a single ticket makes me pretty nervous.

On the bright side, Biden's voice is refreshingly candid at a time when too many candidates speak in measured, canned sound bites (funny, but isn't the word "candid" in "candidate"?). In the news today, it was reported that the Obama campaign has "warned" Biden to stay on message. OK, I'll buy that, but don't muzzle the guy such that he loses his ability to connect with his sword. In a campaign where the other side has proven unafraid to go as outlandishly negative as the public will allow, it's not enough to have shields.

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