Biden as Obama’s VP Pick
Why he was the correct choice? Let me turn the microphone over to two folks a lot smarter than me on this one. First up – E. J. Dionne:
The scene has stayed with me for six years: Democrat Jill Long Thompson, in the midst of a fiercely competitive race in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, was being pressed by supporters to criticize what they saw as President Bush’s rush to war in Iraq. She would have none of it, explaining that her differences with Republican Chris Chocola were on domestic economic issues, not foreign policy. In her district, she said later, “we will support our president, and we will support our troops.” It was like that all over the country in 2002: Democrats in large numbers ran away from foreign policy or just said “me, too.” Many, including Long Thompson, went down to defeat, though last month she won the Democratic nomination for governor … Evading national security, says Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), would be a disastrous mistake. “The only way we lose this election is not to engage this issue head-on,” Biden said during an interview in his Capitol office the day after Obama clinched the nomination. Democrats, Biden said, should be “proactive” and not “play defense on foreign affairs” because “the case against McCain and Bush on national security is so overwhelming. . . . It should be an essential part of the case for the Democratic nominee.”
E. J. is right. The Bush-Cheney approach to foreign policy and national security has been an utter disaster than John McCain wishes not only to continue but to amplify. But isn’t this so obvious that anyone in my party can make this case. Ezra Klein is not so sure:
Biden is, arguably, the most effective voice Democrats have on foreign policy. And here’s why: Joe Biden is an incredibly arrogant jerk. And that’s exactly what Democrats need. In the 2008 election, he was the only Democrat who really figured out how to talk about Republicans and foreign policy. All the other candidates on the stage started from the presumption that Republicans were strong on national security, and voters needed to be convinced of their failures and then led to a place of support for a Democratic alternative. Biden dispensed with all that. He started from the position that Republicans had been catastrophic failures on foreign policy, and their ongoing claims to competence and leadership should be laughed at, and even mocked. When Rudy Giuliani said, simply, “America will be safer with a Republican president,” Obama responded with a traditional, more-in-sadness-than-in-anger statement. “Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low and I believe Americans are ready to reject those kind of politics. America’s mayor should know that when it comes to 9/11 and fighting terrorists, America is united.” The release goes on in this way for eight more lines. Biden, by contrast, laughed at Giuliani. He mocked him. “The irony is, Rudy Giuliani, probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency, is here talking about any of the people here,” said Biden at one of the debates. “Rudy Giuliani… I mean, think about it! Rudy Giuliani. There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence — a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There’s nothing else!” Giuliani, of course, took umbrage, and said Biden lacked foreign policy experience. This led to my favorite YouTube of the campaign, in which Biden dismantles Giuliani, live on television, while walking to his car.
Check out the Youtube for more of Biden’s sharp wit. We Democrats should make foreign policy a central issue in this campaign.
Update: Senator Hagel seems to be endorsing Obama-Biden:
Joe Biden is the right partner for Barack Obama. His many years of distinguished service to America, his seasoned judgment and his vast experience in foreign policy and national security will match up well with the unique challenges of the 21st Century. An Obama-Biden ticket is a very impressive and strong team. Biden’s selection is good news for Obama and America.
Bumper sticker idea – Grownup Republicans for Obama-Biden!