23 August 2008

Biden His Time

The Democratic vice-presidential-nominee-designate (I think that's the right nomenclature) visited the republic of Georgia last weekend at the invitation of President Saakashvili. Here's how he described his findings.

"I left the country convinced that Russia's invasion of Georgia may be one of the most significant events to occur in Europe since the end of communism. The claims of Georgian atrocities that provided the pretext for Russia's invasion are rapidly being disproved by international observers, and the continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region. The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region."

During the primary debates, I was impressed with Senator Biden's knowledge and sense of foreign policy issues. His answers seemed more substantive than the simple promises of other candidates, and from that point, knowing he had no chance for the main prize, I thought he'd make a good running mate for the eventual nominee. I still think that Biden is a much better choice than many others that were mentioned before the announcement overnight, but the quote above shows again that, however much the pillars of the Bipolarchy attempt to distinguish themselves from one another, there's not much difference when viewed from a certain perspective. As Senator Obama said: in times of "crisis" the nation speaks with one voice, and on the issue that's now most likely to define American foreign policy for the next four years, the two-party system does indeed speak with one voice. I've read Biden's entire statement on Georgia, and to no one's surprise there's not one word about South Ossetia beyond his implicit assertion that nothing really happened there before the Russians came in.

Looking back over the past week, I find a bunch of articles identifying Biden as the front runner on the strength of the Georgia trip, as if it reestablished the foreign-policy gravitas he displayed in the debates. His presence there, going ahead of Senator Lieberman, is supposed to reinforce Obama's supposedly questionable stature on foreign policy. We got a preview of this last Tuesday when Obama endorsed Biden's call for $1 billion in aid to Georgia. There was even some confusion about the impetus for Biden's trip, with many speculating that he was acting as some sort of emissary from Obama to Saakashvili, when the truth seems to be that Saakashvili invited Biden personally because he chairs the Foreign Relations Committee.

As late as Tuesday, according to MSNBC, Biden either didn't know he'd been picked or was lying to reporters.

As Delaware Sen. Joe Biden left his home a few minutes ago, golf clubs in tow, he was asked where he was going to be on Saturday. Biden replied, "Here" and pointed down to his driveway. As he pulled out of the driveway in the driver's seat of his car he then said to the press gathered near his gate, "You guys have better things to do. I'm not the guy."

Senator McCain's campaign anticipated the choice, and had a commercial ready to air showing Biden disparaging Obama and praising McCain.

But any campaign can put something like that together when the presidential nominee picks one of his primary opponents, and one can only imagine what the Obama campaign will show us should McCain pick Mitt Romney as his running mate. Here's some material they could use.

I think Biden will help Obama because he's a more familiar name than some of the other people who'd been mentioned over the past week. I hate to say it, but Obama needed to take a white man as a stabilizing choice; picking a non-Clinton woman like Gov. Sibelius would probably have made the ticket look "radical" to the yokels and patriarchs out there. Obama may lose votes from the feminazis who wanted Hilary or Nothing, but nothing short of his killing himself on the Denver podium would have pleased those people. I expect Biden to clobber whomever McCain chooses in the vice-presidential debates, even if there ends up being little to debate over on foreign policy. At this point, I don't think Biden makes me any more likely to vote for Obama, especially after his Georgia performance, but he doesn't really make me less likely, either. Any more definite judgment should wait for Biden to speak his peace later today and next week.

1 comment:

hobbyfan said...

I found it amusing that the NY Daily News decided to declare in an editorial that carpetbagging senator Swillary was a better choice for VP. Senator Obama knew better, hence Senator Biden getting the call. Swillary & Blubber would only sabotage "Bam"'s chances of winning.