Listening to Obama tick off Biden's accomplishments, one could wonder how it was logically possible for both these men to be ready to be president, the elder statesman and the neophyte who has been in the Senate less than four years, most of them spent campaigning for president. Obama also -- in another defensive move -- emphasized Biden's lunch-bucket roots. As the scrappy kid from Oahu, Hawaii ("the most removed population center on the planet," according to The Washington Post), Obama wants to squeeze every ounce of working-class street cred he can from Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton, Pa.
In this sense, the ticket is balanced. Otherwise it isn't, not in terms of ideology, job description or geography. The Democrat with the most liberal voting record in the Senate picked the Democrat with the third-most liberal voting record; a senator picked a senator; and blue-state Illinois was joined by blue-state Delaware.
If we've learned anything about presidential politics during the past 40 years, it's that America elects Democrats who are moderates from the South. If Obama's going to buck that truism, he has to descend from the clouds and make a connection with average voters -- not as the messianic figure of the Democratic primaries or his Berlin speech, but as the "cleareyed pragmatist" of Biden's Springfield remarks. Obama's ultimate task in the Mile High City is to come down to Earth.