Bidenmania

All else being equal, Joe Biden was my preferred choice for President, so if rampant speculation that Obama is close to picking him as his VP is true, I’ll obviously be perfectly fine with that. Even more than that though, when you look at what the Obama campaign needs at the moment, Biden is almost perfect for the job.

Yes, Biden is from a small blue state, and won’t cause movement in many other states in his own right, and yes, I’ve criticized the idea that VP assets like “foreign policy experience” make up for perceived deficincies at the top of the ticket, but that’s not why Biden makes a great pick. What the Obama campaign needs more than anything at the moment is some pointedness to their message. Thus far, they just haven’t been able to deflect and redirect attacks from Republicans, on foreign policy, on “elitism,” or whatever, the way they did against Hillary Clinton. In some respect, I think they’re maybe a bit shell shocked by the sheer levels of shamelessness a Republican Presidential campaign can reach, and maybe they didn’t think John McCain would do that. In any event, Biden is the perfect remedy for this, as arguably no Democrat is better at striking back at Republican attacks, going toe to toe, confidently, with Republicans on foreign policy (and he’s a rare breed-a Democrat the media has deemed an expert on foreign policy), to say nothing of his ability to speak to working class voters. Moreover, Biden is the anti-elite-he’s the single least wealthy member of the Senate, his wife is a school teacher, and he doesn’t even keep a place in D.C.-much like Barack Raisedbyaingslemomjustpaidhisstudentloansoff Obama, only Biden will actually hit back at the line hard and directly, in such a way as to, I think, score some real points for the Democratic ticket there. If nothing else, Biden is great at hitting the right tones of righteous indignation it takes to fight off attack lines that Barack Obama has just been unable to figure out. Yes he’s gaffe prone, but that’s the flip side of speaking bluntly. Alex Rodriguez strikes out more than Johnny Damon, but he hits more home runs too.

Substantively, I think there’s a lot of reasons most people don’t even know about why Biden would be a very good VP. Outside of the foreign policy realm, Biden has been reliably progressive on economic matters, including a very passionate opposition to the Bush tax cuts. He was critical in both defeating Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supremem Court and passing the Violence Against Women Act. In fact, Biden is among the best on the Hill at moving legislation, which would make him a valuable asset to an Obama administration (although that could also be served from his current post). Yes, he voted for the bankruptcy bill, but a Senator from Delaware voting for the bankruptcy bill is akin to a Senator from Iowa voting for the farm bill; it’s simply necessary based on the nature of your constituency, and it doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the individual’s position on the issue, or what they would do freed from the restrictions of constituent politics. So if that’s the worst thing you can think of that Biden has hanging over him, then I think you could do a lot worse than having Biden on the ticket.