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Citizen Voices

Two (more) Cents about Biden

Professional pundits and those whose opinions carry weight in nationally respected publications have speculated whether Barack Obama's choice of vice president in Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) will connect with voters. Here are a few reasons why I think Obama made a good decision:

  1. In choosing Joe Biden, the 2008 Democratic nominee wipes out two previous election cycles' worth of poor choices, i.e., Joe Lieberman, ( Lie- berman) emphasis on the "lie" he embodies as a traitor to Democrats and to the values he supposedly brought to Al Gore's campaign; and even John Edwards who, although a strong candidate in and of himself, was not a well-suited intellectual or dispositional match with John Kerry. Senator Biden's temperament matches Obama's as being a well-spoken fighter who's as smart as he is loyal to his Democratic roots.
  2. Joe Biden is a better choice for undecided voters than Hillary Clinton.  While pure speculation, maybe independent voters have not staked their claims in Senator Obama fearing the talking points from McCain's camp are true: Obama is too young, inexperienced, untested politically, etc...  Joe Biden deadens those arguments because of his nearly forty year history in the Senate.  Plus, anyone repelled by the Democratic Party because of the Clintons' own history (both before and during this presidential race) won't have to hold their noses at voting both Democratic and casting a ballot for a Clinton.  As for Democrats wishing for an Obama-Clinton ticket, all I can say is, Hillary and Bill Clinton made the divisive bed they're in.  Down goes " Operation Chaos ."
  3. Joe Biden's working class roots come through when he speaks, despite his coordinating silk ties and high-end business suits.  Although he speaks eloquently, and often for extended periods, he connects with listeners who need to hear something substantial from a politician.  In other words, Biden doesn't wear the "elite" intellectual or "celebrity" mantles that Obama gets saddled with even while Biden's mind sparkles.
  4. His uncomplicated, straightforward and clear manner of speaking about foreign policy affairs, especially about the Middle East.  He knows the difference between the Sunni and Shia Iraqi tribes.  He can help you and I understand why it matters.  He is down-to-earth about big issues without dumbing it down, and how many intellectuals can do that?  Further, his son, Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III, will be deployed to Iraq on October 3rd .  How many sitting senators have a more active stake in finding resolution to the Iraqi quagmire than a father saying goodbye to his son?One might think a father like McCain would have a similar stake, as his son Jimmy served in Iraq , but apparently he wouldn't mind seeing them stay in the Middle East for another 100 years .  Call me nuts, but Biden's approach to the war makes more sense in every way, including on the level of being a father.

He's the right man for the job.  Like many others this week who have already said as much, Senator Barack Obama has made a wise, politically savvy choice in Joe Biden. 
andy from greater Pittsburgh PA
August 26, 2008 at 07:15 PM
I like Biden, I really do. Too bad he is not running for president with Obama as VP-now that I would vote for ! But I really have to hand it to Obama for making such a wise choice, It really gives his campaign a lot of clout to have Biden there.

Chuck from Escondido, CA
August 26, 2008 at 08:42 PM
Being one of those voters who would've never voted to return either Clinton to the White House, I think Biden might have really been Obama's only palatable choice, but doesn't selecting a consumate insider as his running mate damage his theme of 'change'?

Chris
August 26, 2008 at 11:45 PM
Good post - Biden has a load of positives, if one were inclined to cheap shots one might compare Senator Biden and McCain's first marriages and the honor with which they comported themselves after tragic car accidents... But getting to Chuck's point - I hope to see Biden in the role of VP as it once was - pretty much decorative and advisory - not the Cheney style of VP juggernaut Chris

Alma from San Diego
August 27, 2008 at 12:55 AM
For all the conceptual shifts in image that Obama has asked the public to embrace about the Democratic party, the one of "change" will be the hardest to live up to, and also the most refreshing result to see when he begins his Presidency. Andy, like you I thought Biden's candidacy was good because voters know what to expect from Biden. I personally liked Kucinich for the same reason, but Biden's temperament and accomplishments invigorate Obama's campaign. As far as Obama undermining his message of change, I think it's only fair to draw the inference that since Biden has so much experience -- the same thing Obama can benefit from -- change and renewal may suffer. But I think change can be subtle as well as dramatic to still be effective. Biden has already shown, both recently and further back, that he is willing to take an intermediaries' role to bridge the old school Senate with changing the status quo. He's considered a leader among his peers and is generally very respected. If he makes a compelling argument favoring Obama's new way of doing things, I think it will go a long way with his more stalwart colleagues..... Or so I hope!

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