08.23.08 Joe Biden for VP
I gave short shrift to Biden when I wrote about Obama’s VP choices in early August, settling on Evan Bayh by default. Yeah, it’s true that Biden is subject to gaffes, but in the wake of the Russo-Georgian War, I came to believe that he indeed would be Obama’s best pick. He brings needed gravitas, especially in foreign affairs, to the ticket. And his working class roots and lack of wealth can’t hurt (he is the poorest or one of the poorest members of the Senate).
Biden is not a progressive’s dream. His support for the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill was a horror for average consumers and a gift to the credit card companies. His support for the so-called War on Terror gives one pause. But after his early support for the Iraq War, he because one of the harshest critics of the Bush administration’s utter incompetence. He brings enormous knowledge and even occasional wisdom to the foreign affairs debate. Besides, there were no serious VP candidates who would have been a progressive’s dream.
One of my lefty friends despises Biden for having proposed partitioning Iraq into three loosely confederated parts. Though I wouldn’t support any “solution” for Iraq that is imposed from the outside, Biden’s idea makes sense, since the three main Iraqi groupings (the Kurds, the Shi’ia, and the Sunnis) can’t stand each other. And I certainly don’t see how a partition is any worse than a puppet central government imposed from the outside.
As for the complaint that Biden denudes Obama’s message of change, I don’t much care. First, the VP candidate is not going to change the overall message of the campaign. Second (as previously discussed on this blog), that message no longer has any real meaning, any way (if it ever did). Bottom line: Biden will do much more for Obama’s heft than he will detract from Obama’s message.
Finally, look to Biden to be a joyful and aggressive campaigner, who (in Harry Truman’s words), keeps telling the truth about the Republicans and making it feel like hell.
©2008 Keith Berner
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