View Full Version : U.S. Issues Ambinder intrigued by the Biden selection, chews on its aftermath.

08-23-2008, 02:46 AM
I figure we could get one more Biden thread churning, but instead of starting from recxjake's point of view where the vanity begins right off the bat (I'm serious; nothing was said in that thread for like the first 80 posts), here's Marc Ambinder.

He's got interesting thoughts on the selection, and it gives a little background to who Biden is and why Obama might have selected him.

Should give us something to think about before the inevitable vanity kicks back in and takes over the thread.


Obama Picks Sen. Joe Biden
23 Aug 2008 01:00 am

This is a formidable ticket, and a risky ticket, and not a comfort zone choice for Obama.

Put aside the obvious: Biden has foreign policy meat on his bones...He's a great debater... he has a working-class Scranton-bred Irish-Catholic heritage...he knows Washington very well...he has known tragedy in his life...

He was elected to the Senate as a change agent at the age of 29. He is comfortable but not wealthy -- he has not used the prerogatives of office to enrich his personal wealth, although his family has benefited from his stature.

Biden premised his presidential candidacy on the notion that Obama was unqualified and not ready from day one. You can expect that the McCain campaign or the RNC will run a national television advertisement featuring Biden's many and various quotations to this effect.

I gather that what impressed Obama about Biden is that Biden gets things done. He's a man of action. He's not a bullshitter. I also get the sense that Biden, 65, is pretty well aware that, at age 73 in eight years, he's not going to be a viable presidential choice, and thus convinced Obama that because the vice presidency would be his terminal position, the famous Biden ego will take a subordinate role.

I gather that Obama realizes that he needed a pick that would demonstrate some level of intellectual seriousness about the condition of the world. One of his sons heads for Iraq soon. Obama knows that, for Biden, getting Iraq right is much more than just about proving a point.

Biden is also a fighter on domestic policy. He touts as one of his greatest legislative accomplishments 1994's Violence Against Women Act.

Some liberals think he's a bully who got the Iraq war wrong (although Biden did try to pass a less bellicose resolution.) . But I suspect that the general response from Democrats will be "Great choice."

The criticism will focus on Biden's 1987 plagiarism bout, his support of credit card companies (he pushed the bankruptcy bill that Dems now hate), his comments about Obama, his racial obliviousness (the comment about Indian-Americans in 7/11).

In a normal year, this stuff would have disqualified him instantly.

That Obama (apparently) picked him demonstrates a recognition that the Democratic ticket ought to be more than just about Obama's personality... or a statement of bipartisan pragmatism... it's easy to float on gossamers when the world is safe, but when it's burning down, a guy like Biden is just the ticket.

08-23-2008, 02:52 AM
For better or for worse, Dems, this is your guy:

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08-23-2008, 03:05 AM
Nice thread, informative and pretty much factual.

dirk digler
08-23-2008, 07:25 AM
Something else to chew on Biden still takes the metro to DC everyday and is the poorest Senator in US because he never has tried to benefit for his position.

08-23-2008, 08:24 AM
Biden's a Washington insider with no economic chops. Claim to fame is Foreign affairs. Said he was wrong to vote for the war, true he also oppossed the surge which looks like it will end the war. Being wrong twice doesn't make him a foreign policy expert. He also wants to send troops to Darfur and Sudan. Voted to reauthorize the Patriot act. Is for expansion of Nato.

08-23-2008, 10:29 AM
In general, I like vice presidents who will be too old to run for President if their President has an 8 year run. I think Dick Cheney really made a difference because the President didn't have to worry about Cheney acting in Cheney's best political interests.

I don't think McCain can afford to pick a really old running mate though.

beer bacon
08-23-2008, 11:28 AM

Analysis: Biden pick shows lack of confidence
By Ron Fournier, Associated Press, August 23, 2008

The candidate of change went with the status quo.

In picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate, Barack Obama sought to shore up his weakness inexperience in office and on foreign policy rather than underscore his strength as a new-generation candidate defying political conventions.

He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate the ultimate insider rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; or from outside his party, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; or from outside the mostly white male club of vice presidential candidates. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't even make his short list.

The picks say something profound about Obama: For all his self-confidence, the 47-year-old Illinois senator worried that he couldn't beat Republican John McCain without help from a seasoned politician willing to attack. The Biden pick is the next logistical step in an Obama campaign that has become more negative a strategic decision that may be necessary but threatens to run counter to his image.

Democratic strategists, fretting over polls that showed McCain erasing Obama's lead this summer, welcomed the move. They, too, worried that Obama needed a more conventional read: tougher approach to McCain.

"You've got to hand it to the candidate and the campaign. They have a great sense of timing and tone and appropriateness. Six months ago, people said he wasn't tough enough on Hillary Clinton he was being too passive but he got it right at the right time," said Democratic strategist Jim Jordan. "He'll get it right again."

Indeed, Obama has begun to aggressively counter McCain's criticism with negative television ads and sharp retorts from the campaign trail.

A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his boss has expressed impatience with what he calls a "reverence" inside his campaign for his message of change and new politics. In other words, Obama is willing even eager to risk what got him this far if it gets him to the White House.

Biden brings a lot to the table. An expert on national security, the Delaware senator voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq but has since become a vocal critic of the conflict. He won praise for a plan for peace in Iraq that would divide the country along ethnic lines.

Chief sponsor of a sweeping anti-crime bill that passed in 1994, Biden could help inoculate Obama from GOP criticism that he's soft on crime a charge his campaign fears will drive a wedge between white voters and the first black candidate with a serious shot at the White House.

So the question is whether Biden's depth counters Obama's inexperience or highlights it?

After all, Biden is anything but a change agent, having been in office longer than half of all Americans have been alive. Longer than McCain.
And he talks too much.

On the same day he announced his second bid for the presidency, Biden found himself explaining why he had described Obama as "clean."

And there's the 2007 ABC interview in which Biden said he would stand by an earlier statement that Obama was not ready to serve as president.

It seems Obama is worried that some voters are starting to agree.

Recxjake shows lack of confidence by flying off the handle when Obama picks Biden.

08-23-2008, 12:20 PM
In general, I like vice presidents who will be too old to run for President if their President has an 8 year run. I think Dick Cheney really made a difference because the President didn't have to worry about Cheney acting in Cheney's best political interests.

I don't think McCain can afford to pick a really old running mate though.
I don't know, I like more direct accountability.

If Cheney were younger and ran for election, we could hold him accountable for the Bush administration's actions. Now instead we get a Republican who's voted with Bush an overwhelming majority of the time, yet he can effectively dodge all criticisms of Bush's administration by saying "hey it wasn't me."

But that's just my preference.

Ultra Peanut
08-23-2008, 12:42 PM
Biden's a Washington insider with no economic chops. Welp, guess that's it, Mr. McCain. It was a fun campaign, but you've been disqualified by SHTSPRAYER.

Analysis: Biden pick shows lack of confidence
By Ron Fournier, Associated Press, August 23, 2008

[Opinion piece horseshit]