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Biden is Obama's V.P. Choice
by Julian X  /  non-fiction  /  23 Aug 2008

Well, the rumors are official:  Joe Biden is Obama's choice for V.P.

I, for one, couldn't be happier.  I remember, a year or so ago, being for Obama but not thinking that he could win.  I remember the thrill when he won Iowa.  I remember the thrill of him winning state after state in the wake of Super Tuesday.  I remember when it was clear that he'd be the nominee, beating Hillary and the party system in the process.

I also remember John McCain getting nominated on the Republican side.  Now, McCain's campaign tactics have been as disgusting as Hillary's.  No, Hillary's were more sly and vicious; McCain's are more vicious and stupid.  I mean, he calls Obama too ambitious but wrote in his autobiography, after the 2000 elections, that the only reason he himself ran for office was ambition.  He goes out for a photo op on an oil rig because he knows it's the one position that Americans actually agree with him on, but this shameful display is delayed because of an oil spill that might have marred the photos.  Sure, plenty of people might be buying McCain's nonsense, his insane rapid-fire answers to the Christian right ("Evil?  Kill it."  Evil is Muslim extremism alone to this guy, not, say, leaving thousands to die in rising flood waters.).  Plenty of people don't care that he thinks you're only rich if you have more than $5 million or don't remember how many houses you own.  I don't like his campaign and I want Obama to win.  But McCain's a hell of a lot better than the rest of the Republicans.

Now, I'm used to watching the candidates I like go down in flames.  I still think Howard Dean's a great guy, a hero to the Democratic party and to American democracy.  I prefer certain candidates for the nomination, but I don't expect to get them.  I prefer a certain party for the general, but I know the odds aren't always good.

This year, I and many people got our first choice for both the Democratic and Republican tickets.

I had no right to expect that Obama would choose the guy I wanted for V.P.  He had to choose someone with whom he felt comfortable, not merely someone who might get him a few additional electoral college votes, and I wouldn't presume to dictate that.

But I got my wish.

Back in the primaries, Biden was my #2 guy.  I thought Edwards was okay but bland.  Kucinich was an idealist with a great vision, but unelectable and sometimes outright nuts.  I did not want Hillary.  Most of the others were only okay:  Richardson was fine, if a little too transparently political; does anyone even remember Chris Dodd?

But then there was Biden.  Biden, who I'd seen on the talk shows, speaking frankly to the American people.  Biden, who challenged the administration stridently.  Biden, who spoke his mind and spoke directly.  Biden, who really knew what he was talking about.  Biden.

Yeah, he was a little old and a little too inside-Washington for me.  But the flipside of that was experience -- real experience like going to other countries and negotiating, not the "running for office" or "husband running for office" kind of experience that Hillary touted.  Biden was the real thing, but he just wasn't the kind of beacon for fresh outlooks that Obama was.  But Biden was every bit a Democratic stright-talker, a kind of liberal equivalent of the old John McCain -- you know, before McCain got steamy with the guys who think snakes talk and Jesus was most concerned about homosexuality and abortion.  Oh, and gun rights.

In the coming days, everyone's going to talk about what Biden brings to the ticket.  That his foreign policy experience helps Obama's lack thereof.  That Biden's outspokenly working-class, and Obama's had trouble with that constituency (which seems to love Hillary for some inexplicable, unthinking, masochistic reason).  That Biden has the political experience Obama lacks.  That Biden's got a son in Iraq, which helps insulate against the bullshit anti-patriotic mud the Republicans are slinging this election cycle.

Well, those are all fair arguments.  But that's not the best reason why Biden's the best choice for Obama in the campaign.

The best reason is Biden's supposed weakness:  that he runs his mouth off.  Obama's been pretty damned genteel, trying to run a new kind of campaign.  And meanwhile, the Republicans have been pointing out in subtle ways how damned ethnic Obama is, how he seems foreign, how he supposedly supports terrorism, how he's supposedly corrupt, and how he's just plain anti-American.  In other words, mud.  Dirty, dirty, ugly mud.

Well, Biden ain't gonna put up with that.  And Biden will wipe the floor with anyone who tries it.  Can you imagine him in a V.P. debate with, say, Romney?

Biden's smart.  He's energetic.  He's informed.  And he doesn't pull his punches.

But there's another reason to choose Biden, one that has nothing to do with a campaign.  It has to do with governing, with actually running the country after you win that election -- a concern Obama has, to his credit, actually taken seriously for the first time in living memory.

Because, as Obama has stressed, Biden's not afraid to disagree with him and call him to task.  Obama doesn't want the yes-man mentality of the Bush administration, where no one says, "Uh, Mr. President, you do know this is illegal, right?  You do know that the, uh, founding fathers kind of, you know, said this was a reason for revolution, right?  And, um, you know that all the experts in the world don't agree with us on this, right?"  If you want someone who can challenge the Commander-in-Chief to do a better job, if you're secure enough as a President to want to be challenged as long as it's fair, the choice is clear:  Biden.

Then there's what Biden would bring to the formal job of V.P., representing the U.S. around the wrold.  This is a guy who knows world leaders and how to talk to them.  This is someone who's not afraid to tell a foreign leader what the real situation is.  But this is someone who's also respected -- and able to negotiate or find out facts because of it.  You can't imagine that the Secretary of State will be pulling Bush league nonsense with Biden as V.P.

But then there's the final -- and arguably most important -- duty of a V.P.:  to replace the President if need be.

And who would I rather have for that job than my #2 pick in the first place?  The guy who had no chance for the nomination but ought to have been in second place.  The guy who could only get to that spot through appointment, which is just what Obama's done.

No, I had no right to expect this.

But I couldn't be happier.

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Politics by Julian Darius:
Bush / Clinton
Unelectable Hillary
Hillary:  Obama May be Muslim
Obama Just the Beginning
The Largest Garbage Dump on Earth
Tiananmen Square 19 Years Later
Biden is Obama's V.P. Choice
Speeches that Could Have Been:  Hillary at the Convention
Hillary's Speech Good but Superficial
Hillary's Convention Speech and Revisionist History
Palin Gaffs
Palin on the Supreme Court
Dick Chaney Endorses Torture, Killing Americans