25 August 2008

Obama Made The Right Choice For Veep

It brings to mind a number of those old sayings. "Even a broken clock is right twice a day." "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then." "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line." The fact is that Barack Obama has made a habit of bad decisions: he kept a hate-mongering pastor as his spiritual guide for over 20 years, befriended a terrorist who had declared war on America, and became politically involved with convicted felon Tony Rezko. And while those decisions may not have hurt him politically (yet), the murky morality of his choices have left many wondering what this guy might do when facing an important call. Would he pitch to Kirk Gibson with the game on the line? But when it came to choosing a running mate, he made the perfect choice.

Biden was the guy I predicted would get the slot . . . I predicted it like, oh, roughly 80% of those who cared enough to predict. My reasoning was as simple as Obama's silent whisper, "Joe, you complete me." Obama needed Biden because the man from Delaware is everything that Barack is not.

Joe Biden has experience. He first became a senator in 1973 while Obama was sporting leis at the plush Punahou Private School in Hawaii. During his time on the hill, Biden has been a key player for the Committee on the Judiciary (chairing two confirmation hearing biggies: Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas) as well as the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Biden knows foreign policy. This background was an absolute need for the Democratic ticket after the party nominated a presidential candidate who has demonstrated a phenomenal ignorance on the subject. Joe Biden can speak candidly and knowledgeably about the world with such conviction that it will allow Obama some slack as he continues to bungle stories about WWII, European geography and Middle Eastern history.

Joe Biden is a working-class guy. While Obama disparages folks like blue collar Pennsylvanians for clinging to guns a religion, Biden walks among them. In fact, he was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania to a working class family . . . and may well help the Democrats carry that key swing state. And while Joe Biden is many things, nobody will ever accuse him of Ivy League elitism.

Biden will speak his mind and say what he believes (or at least what he is told to say as if he believes). And this is exactly what the Obama camp needs to continue perpetrating their myth that "the chosen one" will not sully himself with negative campaigns. Instead they will send in his pitbull. Joe Biden is not the kind of guy who votes "present" on controversial bills. And he is not the kind of guy who attempts eloquence to mask uncertainty. He is a fighter and he will go after the Republicans with furious fists.

Of course, Biden's penchant for speaking his mind will also create some hurdles for the Democratic ticket. The plain talking style that makes him so endearing has also made for some frightening press in the past. Just in case you've forgotten, here are just a few Joe Biden quotes that may come back to haunt him:

  • Speaking of Obama: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
  • Speaking (again) about Obama: "I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training."
  • "You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I'm not joking."
  • "[Delaware was a] slave state that fought beside the North. That's only because we couldn't figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way."
  • To a gun owner who referred to his gun as his baby: "I don't know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun. I'm being serious."
  • Speaking of John McCain: “John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off, be well off no matter who…”
Now, I don't want to overstate this. The truth is that a Veep rarely makes a difference in the campaign, note how George W. Bush was elected twice with the nearly universally loathed Dick Cheney in tow. But in a close election, which this promises to be, every potential benefit matters and every misstep is magnified. With pressure bearing down on him Obama could have made a mistake in picking his running mate, but he didn't. He picked a man who many Dems may come to wish was at the top of the ticket.


  1. Z said...

    So, what you're saying is he picked the right choice for Veep, but just not the right choice for HIM!! Don't you think 36 years in the senate kinda makes one elitist, though? Plus, I hear his compound has 4 houses on it!? Remember, this is the guy who thought giving $200 million to Iran after 9/11 would show them we don't hate people in that region! YIKES! But, Scranton roots, etc. he is scrappy, etc.... Maybe you're right....!

    Just had to come see your blog because I was laughing out loud at your comments at Nikki's. thanks for that; I'd just watched Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy and, believe me, I needed a smile!

    best. Z

  2. Nikki said...

    Khaki I think this is a great post. The points are excellent ones...I do think the fact that Biden has run twice and has only gotten 1% of the vote each time is a problem. You are right Obama is not strong enough to carry the ticket, but to me Biden is not so great a choice because being in politics as long as he has...some scandal is bound to come out. Just a theory but I have a feeling...great writing! :)N

  3. Khaki Elephant said...

    Z, good point on elitism . . .I guess only Obama could make a 36-year senate veteran seem like a regular guy by comparison. Thanks for the kind comments and for stopping by.

    Nikki, yeah it's tough to think that 1% is going to make much of a difference. But given the pool of Dems to choose from, Obama could have done much worse.

  4. Rick Frea said...

    Well said. Maybe McCain can pull a Kirk Gibson and beat the Messiah.