So after all the hype, all the speculation, and all the waiting, Biden’s the guy. Most of the pundits are asking the question “What does Biden bring to the ticket.” While that’s a question that certainly bears asking, I’d much rather go the other way, and ask “what does Biden take away from the Dem’s chances in November?” Fortunately, Biden is a known quantity – after all he was a candidate for President twice on his own – most recently this year.
In no particular order:
1. Honesty. Joe Biden was caught, not once but several times, plaigiarising the speeches of a British politician. That’s pretty cynical behavior, and is most certainly a character issue.
2. Change. Joe Biden has spent more of his life IN Washington than outside the beltway. He’s a 36-year veteran of the Senate. He’s the third-highest ranking Democrat. Any way you spin it, he is “Mr. Insider.” How do the Dems reconcile this with all this “Change Agent” stuff they’ve been pushing?
3. Diversity. While you might argue that having a white guy and a black guy on the ticket is the ultimate sign of diversity, (especially with the black guy on the top of the ticket) Biden shot himself in the foot months ago, when he called Obama “clean” – a comment that left even like-minded liberals scrambling to explain away his inartful slip o’ the tongue. He sounded nothing more like some rich, entitled white guy, condescendingly complimenting someone to whom he feels superior, and something of a racist to boot. Whoops.
4. Credibility. Biden made any number of statements during the primary that pointed out exactly how inexperienced and shallow Obama is. Those statements will come back to haunt them both.
5. Consistency. Biden, as a fellow member of the world’s most exclusive club (the U.S. Senate) is a friend of McCain. That doesn’t mean he won’t be going after the GOP nominee from here through November, but he will have to eat every nice thing he’s said about McCain – and there’s a lot of tape on Biden complimenting McCain.
Add to all this the misbegotten attempts by Obama’s camp to manage the Veep rollout news. Instead of congratulating him on a “new tech” rollout via SMS, the media today is questioning why he didn’t simply announce it in prime time (rather than trying to manage the leaks), as well as questioning the timing of the SMS broadcast. Why 3 A.M.? Was it a slap at Hillary? Probably not, but why did they give the Clintonistas that kind of ammo?
My thoughts? Biden detracts from the ticket every bit as much – or more – as he does bring strengths to it. His big deal is that he has “foreign policy” experience (which supposedly shores up Obama’s vast inexperience on the subject). I have my doubts. People generally don’t vote for Veeps. Biden has but two jobs between now and November – handle the “attack dog” role, so Obama can keep his hands clean, and to try and shore up Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience, thus negating McCain’s big advantage. I’ll be very surprised if Biden’s natural tendency towards foot-in-mouth disease and his love for the sound of his own voice doesn’t torpedo his own efficacy, and drag the Dem’s campaign down like a 50 lb. anchor.