Why Joe Biden is a GREAT choice!

Obama and Biden
From my good friend Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Professor of Political Science at Princeton University:
And why …
  1. Obama-Biden is one of the tallest presidential tickets in recent history. When you want to predict outcomes of Presidential elections few models are more powerful than “the tall guy wins.” Height is not an explanatory model (it doesn’t tell us why they win) but it has predicted every presidential outcome since FDR. These two will tower over McCain.
  2. Biden is loyal. He has been a personally ambitious politician, but he has also been a man of his party, willing to go to bat for other Democrats around the country.
  3. Biden has unparalleled foreign policy experience. He will be an intellectual asset to Barack.
  4. Biden has served with John McCain in the Senate for a very long time. He knows how his opponent thinks.
  5. Biden is funny, pithy, and substantive in debates. He is going to crush whomever McCain chooses as a running mate.
  6. Biden made that ridiculous “articulate” comment early in the campaign. Obama has now signaled that he is not an “angry black man” by embracing Biden despite this racially insensitive slip. Of course there was already plenty of evidence that Barack is not an angry black man, but US voters seem to need constant reassurance of this fact.
  7. Speaking of insensitive slips, Biden has a history of public gaffes. The Obama campaign needed someone who can say all the mean, but true, things about McCain that Barack can’t say himself. No one is better for this task than Biden.
  8. Biden is a fighter. Barack needs someone to get down in the muck with McCain, but leave Obama above the fray.
  9. Biden’s wife is a stylish, beautiful, smart blond woman. She and Michelle are going to be transcendently fabulous at the convention and on the campaign trail. The contrast with Cindy McCain could not be more stark.
  10. HRC keeps claiming that she has the main alternative group of Democratic voters, but Biden has a very powerful coalition of primary voters himself. Most never got a chance to cast a vote for Joe because he didn’t have the cash to keep running after Iowa, but Biden actually has a national constituency. Many of them are doing backflips right now!
  11. It is one of the best “sounding” choices of last name pairs. Say it with me Obama-Biden, Obama-Biden, Obama-Biden.
Yes we can!!!!!!
Melissa
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0 Responses

  1. Mccain/Libermann will destroy Obama/Biden. Obama is a bore, sexist, spineless idea of a politician. He’s like a Mr. Potato head that people make into what they want to see. But the REAL Obama has little substance policy wise and has little in common with working class people. Hell every presidential candidate has little in common with working class Americans, if they did they wouldn’t be running for office. Liberals be careful what you wish for, you may get 4 years of your policies that will not work. And 8 years of a republican administration to clean up your mess in 2012. God Blesses America! Even Liberals.

  2. So, a guy who grew up with a single mom has little in common with Americans? A guy who worked on the South side of Chicago has little in common with working Americans? IF you say so. You keep smoking whatever you are smoking.

    Thanks for your comments no matter how crazy they are.

  3. Doc:

    I have to say, I am a little disappointed in this post. I come here for thought provoking passages on the current political landscape from the other side of the aisle, and what I get is:

    “Biden is a great choice because he’s tall!”

    What about issues? The only one covered in Melissa’s Letterman-esque Top Ten list is Biden’s “extensive” foreign policy background, which may help Obama, but doesn’t that hurt his “outside the beltway” argument?

    Biden practiced law for a year before joining Congress at age 30, the youngest age permissable to do so. In short, he has been in office almost as long as McCain. If Obama’s message is “change”, how is this any different from the status quo?

    Further, Biden is all over the internet talking up how great McCain is, even going so far as rejecting the call to be Vice President to Kerry in 2004, and advocating in favor of Kerry selecting McCain for VP!

    Obama’s choice here is hardly about changing Washington, as evidenced by his selection of a Senate lifer for his Vice President.

  4. Chris –

    When you look at what you want for a VP candidate, I think that there are a ton of things to consider. I know that Obama is running on Change. I agree with Biden isn’t a fresh face. I also believe that Barack Obama is trying to shore up his support with Elderly voters (Florida) and Catholic voters.

    What would happen if Barack Obama did pick some one from outside of Washington, then I think that he would have gotten hammered on falling into the Clinton trap. Remember that Bill Clinton came into Washington with a bunch of folk from Ark. Al Gore was on the outside looking in during those early days. Clinton couldn’t get squat done until he learned the system and included Al Gore in the discussions. (then because he had done almost nothing he got hammered in the mid-terms and you know the rest).

    I think that Obama has to balance the old with the new. If everything is new, I don’t think that he can get elected. I think that you understand that America wants change just not too much change and as a Black man running for president he has a lot of balancing to do.

    Thanks for your comments. I truly appreciate them. (invite your friends!!)

    my radio interview with Melissa Harris-Lacewell.

  5. Doc:

    First, does anyone really care about the color of his skin? Anyone that matters, anyway? Isn’t race just a red herring at this point in the evolution of the Great Experiment?

    Or am I just being naive?

    Second, Obama has consistently campaigned on “Hope for Change”. According to the WaPo, during the current Congress, Senator Biden has voted 96.6% Democrat. Obama has voted 96.0% Democrat.

    McCain has voted 88.3% Republican.

    (Admittedly, McCain’s 88% is much higher than I would have predicted. In short, I would have lost a bet.)

    Doesn’t that necessarily mean that McCain, not Obama, is more apt to reach across the aisle for change? What balance is Obama striking with a strong Democrat as a running mate?

  6. For the record:

    McCain is about as far left as I am willing to go. If he selects Lieberman as his running mate, as Joe suggests, I’ll have to write in Ronald McDonald or something.

  7. Chris –

    I have always had a problem with voting record tales. So, the vote to end the war in Iraq – is that a democratic vote or republican vote? The vote to raise the minimum wage was democratic or republican? The vote that increases the government’s ability to spy on Americans, is that a democratic or republican position since republicans/conservatives believe in less government and specifically less national government intervention?

    How is McCain anything other than a mainstream Republican? Outside of campaign finance reform what “liberal” position has McCain taken?

    Thanks again for your comments.

  8. Doc:

    It’s an objective measure. The WaPo numbers concern only votes where the subject HAS voted: no abstain or absent no-votes count. Second, a Republican or Democrat position is defined by the majority of votes from a given party.

    Say, if 70 percent of Democrats vote yes on a given bill, “yes” is the Democrat vote.

    To put it in simple terms, if a majority of a party votes a certain way, that vote becomes the representative vote of the party.

    Interestingly, in cases such as the McCain moratorium on earmarks, both Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly voted it down, making the “no” vote the vote of record for BOTH parties. In that case, McCain voted against both parties, but it’s only scored as a vote against the Republican party.

    There isn’t someone in the wings defining who wants what on a set of given issues. It’s a purely subjective measurement, designed to describe a voting record of a legislator in apples to apples fashion.

    Here is Biden’s voting record, according to the WaPo:

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/b000444/

    It’s also important to note that different sources count the votes differently. I prefer the Washington Post numbers, because they strictly count the votes where a Congress-person HAS voted.

    Again, this is a purely objective measure of the Senator’s voting record against his own party. Only 3.4% of the votes Biden voted in the current Congress has been against his party, while McCain has voted against his party 12% of the time. For those keeping score, in the current Congress, McCain is almost 4 TIMES as likely to vote against his party than Biden is. That’s a pretty significant difference, especially coming from the Obama-Biden ticket that has defined itself on “Change you can believe in”.

    Two Senators who rarely vote against their own party is “change”? I am failing to comprehend the logic here, Doc.

  9. I appreciate all of the research that you have done to make your argument. I’m impressed.

    I would remind you have something that you already know. Most of the work on bills and ideas are worked out in committee. As a rule bills that don’t have consensus die in committee therefore most senators will vote yes on most bills. So, again, I’m not sure that voting 70% with your party is a good or bad thing.

    I would urge you to look at specific legislation to make your case that McCain is a maverick or not. On core Republican social issues – abortion, school prayer, gun control – McCain votes 100% with Republicans. On foreign policy, McCain is a shoot first, ask questions later NeoCon. On the one issue that McCain was labeled as a maverick on – campaign finance reform over 70% of the American public supported his position. McCain had insight that other Republicans didn’t. As it turns out, McCain was right and his bill dried up funding to Democrats and helped the Republicans.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

  10. Doc:

    I am not arguing about whether McCain is a “maverick”. I’m merely suggesting that Obama, who is painted as the candidate for change specifically because he is from “outside the beltway”, made a bad choice for his candidacy in selecting Biden for VP.

    Biden has been in the Senate LONGER than McCain, has a voting record that is MORE in line with Democrat positions than even Obama, and is reportedly selected for his “bulldog” tendencies (those that would pit him against McCain and his eventual running mate). All of the previous items suggest, at least to me, that Obama is not about reaching to the Right for consensus, rather, he’s about pushing his Left agenda at the expense of diplomacy across the aisle.

    At the risk of alienating my new fans, I do have to say that I am still perplexed as to how McCain became the presumptive nominee of the Republican party. The most liberal (some say “borderline communist”, although I won’t mention any names) Republican since Teddy Roosevelt, in a post-Reagan/Gingrich era, becomes the nominee? I’ll vote for him, but only because I feel Obama’s policies, especially the economic ones, are disastrous for the country.

    In short, I’m not exactly a McCain fan.

  11. I have one question and one answer.

    Q: Who do you think Obama should have chosen?

    A: Look at Iowa for the answer to your question (how did McCain get the nomination). The media set up a frame so that McCain couldn’t lose. McCain was going to be victorious no matter what. Remember. McCain’s campaign was in the toilet in August of last year. He wasn’t raising any money. People were bailing or getting fired from his campaign. So, the media (Chris Matthews) said it will be a victory for John McCain if he comes in 3rd or 4th in Iowa. Huckabee wins. Who is on all of the Sunday Shows taking a victory lap? Not Huckabee. It was McCain. New Hampshire was in the bag. McCain knew New Hampshire and they knew him. Money started flowing. The rest is history. Even when McCain lost he won according to the media. He got the press. Romney was a moron and couldn’t quit putting his foot in his mouth. Huckabee was too new for the Republican crowd. Rudy had the dumbest strategy that any human has ever had. (I’m just going to run in Florida and skip those other meaningless primaries.) Tancredo needs Thorazine. Thompson wanted the nomination to be given to him. He was determined not to work for it. In a nutshell that’s the only reason that McCain was the one.

    Remember 2 years ago, 2 other major Republicans were looking at the nomination. Rick Santorum. George Allen. Santorum doubled down on the war. He went on H&C and made a fool of himself. He found the missing chemical weapons. Allen was only one racist slur away from the White House, in his mind.

    Don’t forget Trent Lott. He was thought of as a candidate before he got on Bush’s badside (in 2001-2002). Once he was thrown in the dog house. He was never going to get the backing necessary to run for the White House.

    thanks again for your thoughts.

  12. I had forgotten about McCain’s early troubles.

    And, I agree, the media anointed McCain without the consent of the people, i.e. regardless of the number of votes he received.

    However, ideologically speaking, McCain has been the black sheep of the Republican party for very long time now. I feel that the Left, through the media and simple voting across party lines (not that I can blame them, I’ve done it myself a few times) has left the conservative movement with their less than ideal candidate.

    However, ultimately, I think this works for Republicans. There are many on the left who do not like Obama (because they are “Hill-raisers” or whatever), and will be willing to vote for McCain as a second choice. Conversely, I don’t see any conservatives moving to Obama because he is so far left. Most (if not all) Democrat dissidents will vote McCain because they cannot stomach the idea of Obama as President.

    Frankly, I see this as McCain’s election to lose.

  13. Sorry, I forgot to answer your question.

    The short answer is, I have no idea who he should have chosen. Usually, candidates chose someone strong in areas where they’re weak, and there, the Biden choice makes sense in the foreign policy arena.

    That being said, in almost all other ways it’s a bad choice. Biden is more left than an already far left candidate, he is reportedly more surly than the Clintons, and he has been in the Senate longer than McCain, the supposed “old man” in this election cycle.

    Aside from foreign policy experience, he doesn’t add anything to Obama’s campaign. Surely there is someone out there that could add more to the Obama ticket than being on the Senate Foreign Relations committee since the 70’s.

  14. I think Joeodd2 is delusional. But then again many of the neoconservatives are. There is a great article in Wikipedia describing the differences. I am a paleoconservative, who unfortunately voted for Bush twice.Bush is an IDIOT, and I was foolish to support him. I supported Ron Paul in the Republican primary, who was clearly the only truly conservative candidate–low taxes, less government, no deficit spending, no preventive wars, ending the American empire overseas, control our borders, and stopped spying on their own citizens.

    I hope Obama/Biden win big, that the Democrats will go on a big spending spree, founding social welfare programs like Head Start and Jobcore, that are total failures, and perhaps the Republicans will pull their heads out of their nether regions, and be reborn as an actual conservative party, and not be a bunch of Stupid, Brain-Dead Neocons.

  15. Biden is a corrupt war criminal. He, and every other Senator and House member that voted for the Iraq war, should be tried for crimes against humanity under international humanitarian law.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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