One big problem with Biden: Like Hillary Clinton, Biden voted to authorize the use of U.S. military force in Iraq. Some liberals forgive Biden for his Iraq vote, noting that he has been highly critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war -- albeit with his quirky proposal to divide Iraq, Gaul-like, into three parts.
And like Obama, Biden said the surge could not work. Well, it has worked.
I think Clinton lost because she voted for the war. I think that Democratic primary voters chose not to forgive in 2008 a vote they forgave in 2004 when they nominated John Kerry. I remember looking out at delegates at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston -- 86 percent of who, unlike me, opposed the war -- and thinking that if they wanted the party to be truly united, they should have nominated a candidate who did not support the war. As I wrote at the time, "They should have picked (Howard) Dean."
In 2004, Democrats thought they were being clever in nominating Kerry, whose vote rankled so many delegates. In 2008, they picked a clever candidate who opposed the war from the start.
Look beyond the convention. Even those voters who have strong misgiving about the war in Iraq nonetheless may not want a vice president who voted for a war, then walked away from that vote when it became politically unpopular.
Biden says that his old friend, John McCain, has changed his positions to win the GOP nomination. "I've been disappointed in my friend, John McCain, who gave in to the right wing of his party and yielded to the very 'Swift Boat' politics that he once so deplored. Folks -- campaigns for presidents are a test of character and leadership," Biden said.
Leadership? When the polls showed his support of the Iraq War could kill his chances in 2008, McCain stood firm. He even called for more troops in Iraq.
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