I’ll be the first to admit that I think Barack Obama made the perfect choice when he selected Sen. Biden to be his running mate. But, then, why wouldn’t I? After all, I’m a Republican.
Frankly, although Biden’s name had been floating around for quite a while, until Obama made it official, I had worried that he’d pick Hillary Clinton. It would have been an uncomfortable fit, but not all that much more awkward than John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson or Ronald Reagan and George Bush. There are, after all, millions of female Democrats who think that Obama and the party knifed their Hillary in the back, and they may not be won back just because the convention will give her a moment in the spotlight. They just might see it as the equivalent of a philandering husband who figures all he needs to do to keep his wife from going after the community property is to send her a dozen roses.
There are so many nice things about Obama’s adding Biden to the ticket, it’s difficult deciding where to begin. For some of us, Biden will forever be the man who couldn’t even give an original speech, but had to plagiarize chapter and verse from a speech made by England’s Neil Kinnock. Lest anyone think that it was just a one-time deal, Biden had also plagiarized a law review article when he was attending Syracuse Law School. Compounding the sin, once, when asked how he had fared at Syracuse, Biden, not wishing to be seen as a braggart, modestly said that he’d graduated in the top half of his class. He had in fact graduated 76th in a class of 85. As Winston Churchill once said of Clement Attlee, “He’s a very modest man. And with good reason.”
For McCain, the good news about Biden’s getting the nod, is that he can afford to take the high road during the campaign. He won’t have to say a single negative thing about Obama’s lack of experience, about his being on the wrong side when it came to Iraq or about his abysmal lack of knowledge when it comes to a wide range of essential issues. McCain merely has to quote his fan and good friend, Joe Biden.There are some people who claim that by selecting an old political pro, a man who has spent over half his life prowling the Senate chambers, Obama gives the lie to his claim that he’s the candidate of change. But inasmuch as all thinking people realized that “change” and “hope” were no more than meaningless slogans, sort of like a breakfast cereal claiming to be “new” and “improved,” only a few knee-jerk pinheads, such as Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann and some of the sappier college sophomores, thought they were harking to a profound message.
I’m sure that a certain number of left-wingers are convinced that Obama was being very clever in picking Biden, seeing it as a brilliant way in which to shore up his candidacy in those areas where he is weakest. I, on the other hand, believe he has only managed to underscore his deficiencies when it comes to foreign affairs and national security, the two areas in which the electorate fully expects a president to be strongest.
I not only don’t think that Biden is the best choice Obama could have made, I’m not sure he could have made a worse one. How can anyone look at this ticket and not find it mind-boggling? In a less bizarre world, Biden, a man about to turn 66, a six-term U.S. senator, would be at the top of the ticket, and Barack Obama, a very junior senator, a man I would call an empty suit if it weren’t an insult to clothing, would, as a sop perhaps to black voters, be at the bottom. To me, it’s like making a Batman movie in which Bruce Wayne stays home and knits a sweater while his butler, Alfred, fights crime in Gotham City.
I mean, aside from being grateful for the ringing endorsement Biden gave Barack last January, when he pointed out that his primary opponent was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” I can only think of one good reason for Obama’s selecting Joe Biden to be his running mate. Being the astute politician he is, Obama foresees a very close election and wanted to do everything in his power to lock up Delaware’s three electoral votes.