Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, August 22, 2008

And the winner is . . . . . Biden!

So we asked to re-evaluate Obama post-VP pick. Here is my impression! Yipppeee! Obama just got way more cool to me. If you all recall, I was a Biden fan from the start. I was set to vote for Biden before he pulled out of the primary. Remember my saying that I wasn't going to take the primary too seriously and that I was going to have fun with my vote and vote Biden. I feel vindicated in my gut reaction to Biden. Here is my take.

Biden does four things for Obama.

1) he fills the foreign policy gap that Obama might have.
2) he will give Obama the benefit of his knowledge of the inner workings of DC, something which you will all recall has also concerned me about Obama. The DC social rules can hamstring a president as they did Bill and HRC.
2) he is a white guy who will appeal to other white guys. But he isn't a WASP.
3) he has a wicked sense of humor and will not hesitate to tell a President Obama, "Sir, you are wrong".

The down side will be if Biden can't control his mouth. I usually find his gaffs to be funny and smart ass, which appeals to me. People are so up tight these days. (Of course you have to have an Indian accent to go into a Dunkin' Donuts. You need one to own a 7-11 too!) It is a bold choice by Obama and shows he has respect for his elders. And if I was a bit cool on Obama, I'm pretty hip on him now.


Dr. Strangelove said...

Well, I'm glad some one appreciates Biden... Because I sure don't. After all the build-up, I had hoped Obama would make an exciting choice. I had hoped Obama would do something bold to underscore his message of change. Instead, Obama made a timid and conventional choice: a totally forgettable also-ran.

If McCain can capitalize on Obama's "politics as usual" VP play by making a true "maverick" VP choice, I fear Obama's attempt to play it safe will backfire. Obama's movement will collapse like a souffle if young and independent voters decide that Obama is just another politician. Fortunately, McCain is probably not so inventive. After all, McCain is just another tired, white-haired Washington clone. Like Biden.

Raised By Republicans said...

There are a lot of people who are saying that McCain has transformed the campaign into a referendum on Obama's acceptability (by focussing on attacks and by being so boring). Biden will be a "safe" choice in some senses. So if Obama thinks the campaign will be about whether people are freaked out by him, picking Biden makes a lot of sense.

Biden will not hesitate to attack McCain. In fact he's already started. He's been quoted in July as saying something along the lines of "McCain is a war hero. Foreign policy doesn't require a war hero it requires a leader with some wisdom."

Also, if it weren't for candidates like Obama and HRC, Biden would have a reputation of being something of a maverick of the Democratic party. Sure he's a lifer in the Senate but, as US West alluded to, he's got a reputation for tweaking the noses of sacred cows.

And remember, his biggest gaffe in the primaries was to call Obama "a clean cut, articulate black guy ...who is clean and bright ...." That kind of stuff hurt him in the primaries abut won't hurt him, or Obama, at all in the general election.

I think Biden is a good choice. Not a great choice, but a good choice. Biden will probably do no harm to the campaign and might reassure independents. Biden has already gotten praise from Indiana Republican Richard Lugar.

Raised By Republicans said...

Oh, and another thing about Biden. Clinton people should love this pick. By picking the older Biden, Obama is not setting up an heir apparent that might rival Clinton in the future. I expect the Clintons are very very happy with this choice.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I got my text message at 12:56am PDT. Is this when others got their text messages?

If so, that means the text message went out at 3am, Illinois time.

3am. Hmmm. I've heard about phones ringing at 3am.

USwest said...

I saw the news post on Yahoo- 1 hour at around 10-11 pm and the text messages hadn't gone out, but things had leaked.

Dr. Strangelove said...

"Clinton people should love this pick."

The Clintons themselves may be happy with this choice, I don't know--although I suspect they are not. But I don't think many Clinton supporters will approve. There's a reason voters never took to Biden in any of his Presidential runs.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I guarantee you, RbR, that most Clinton supporters--especially the ones most uneasy about supporting Obama--will just feel this VP choice as a poke in the eye. They will shake their heads in dismay, wondering, "He picked him over her?!"

By choosing "not Hillary"--which is all a lackluster pick like Biden will really signify to most people--Obama has sent a clear message that he worries more about losing the votes of Clinton haters than losing the votes of Clinton supporters. Obama has chosen to take his base for granted. Let us hope his risk calculus is correct.

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr S.

Consider this from Obama's perspective. He had to pick someone who not only would help his campaign but would also function as the Vice President. I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton would help his campaign.

But I heard a report on NPR from someone who had heard from Obama's close associates that one of Obama's thoughts was that there would come a day when he would go into the cabinet room and make a decision that his cabinet disagreed with and at that moment, he would want to look across the table at the VP and want to know that he has the VP's full support.

The problem with picking Hillary Clinton is that there would always be the kernel of doubt that Clinton was angling for her own future presidency - that she had her own agenda.

At the same time, if Obama had picked Clinton it would have looked as if he was coerced to do so by the threats (veiled as "real concerns") by Clinton supporters egged on by the Clinton's themselves. Giving the impression - perhaps most importantly to Clinton herself - that he was accepting a Co-Presidency.

Finally, what do you do about Bill? Keep in mind that if Obama picked Hillary, Obama would be held politically responsible for everything that Hillary or Bill said or did. If Obama couldn't have counted on being able to keep Hillary focussed on Obama's message (as opposed to her own) how on Earth would Obama be able to trust Bill not make a mess of things from time to time.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I have only ever heard Obama supporters gripe that choosing Hillary would make Obama look like he had been "forced" to do so. I think most voters will see things in a simpler way. Instead making a bold choice, Obama chickened out and chose a nobody. Picking a weak VP makes Obama look weak. Simple as that.

Obama seems to have forgotten that he upset the Democratic establishment with a brilliant insurgent campaign, with bold moves and bold promises that whetted people's appetites for real change in Washington. As soon as he was ahead in th eprimaries, Obama decided to run out the clock. But playing it safe this time will cost him the election.

Those who think Obama needed a "safe" choice are dead wrong. Alone of the primary candidates in all parties, Obama's campaign became a movement because Obama was truly unique and exciting. Voters do not need to be reassured that Obama is ordinary. They want to be assured that he will be extraordinary.

Raised By Republicans said...

With regard to the need for reassurance (or lack of it), I'm not sure about that. A lot of people are buying into the line that he's lacking in substance and really not ready for prime time.

But on the other hand, the enthusiasm numbers could suggest that Dr. S. is correct.

But out of curiosity, Dr. S. Assuming the pick could NOT be Hillary, who would you have wanted to see as VP? That is, I'm curious about who would qualify as a "bold" choice.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Obama was prepared to win the primaries, but it was supposed to be no more than an 8-week act. It turned into a 5 month slog. He wasn't prepared for the latter stages of the slog. Running out the clock is more or less what he did after March 4. Clinton was able to run a very negative campaign and get points on the board, but couldn't change the basic dynamic.

For the general election, though, Obama was prepared for a LONGER race than he is getting. So the "meet Obama" phase was shorter and ran later than he had expected. The idea was probably to go to Europe in May and pivot to the economy by July 4th. Instead, it got held up, and the combo of Olympics and Georgia prevented any serious message change after returning from Europe. So now the convention becomes the moment this campaign shifts into full gear on the economy. That is not just the Democrats' ace in the hole - it's a set of pocket rockets.

To pull out the poker metaphor to its final stage: If the economy is dealt in the flop, McCain is drawing dead.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Biden is a mediocre choice, not terrible, not good. That's the definition of playing it safe. Choosing Biden signals nothing exciting but also signals nothing loud one way or the other.

In the end, even skeptical people will realize that, whatever little they may feel Obama has to offer at this point, McCain has nothing to offer. The choice will be between Obama-and-what's-his-name and that-Republican-dude. At this point, a ham sandwich labeled "Republican" would probably lose the election. No doubt that is why Obama picked a ham sandwich of his own for VP.