Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama chooses Biden

Ending months of speculation and a few days of frenzy, Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden as his running mate. Good call. Most excellent choice. Biden brings a great deal of foreign policy experience, with few downsides. Other than a tendency to occasionally let his mouth run a bit too much, he doesn't have any problems. Having run for president himself twice, he's pretty thoroughly vetted. He's very much an insider, which contrasts with Obama's "change" message, but is John McCain going to criticize someone for being in the Senate too long, when that has been his day job for a couple of decades?

Reaction is mostly positive. Andrew Sullivan is happy with it, and corrals some other responses. He's particularly happy with the contrast with the current occupant.

We've learned how disastrous a vice-president can be, in the current administration. No vice-president in American history has done as much damage to national security, constitutional integrity and the moral standing of the United States as Dick Cheney. Biden has aspects of the Cheney pick - he's older, more seasoned and more adept at foreign policy than Obama. But no one imagines that Obama would delegate - and all but abdicate - critical decisions to Biden the way Bush has to Cheney.

Nonetheless, it seems obvious that Biden speaks his mind frankly, and would have real heft and independence in the office. He knows enough that foreign leaders call him in international crises. That reassures me, as we face some grim days in the coming years in the war on terror.

This strikes me, in other words, as a pick for a candidate who is already very serious about governing - and making calls that forgo a campaign buzz for the sake of the country if he wins. Putting country first, you might say.

The more I think about it, the more I like it.
Daily Kos, meanwhile, rounds up reactions from other politicians, which are, as one might expect, pretty much glowing. The Kossacks themselves are feeling good today, as well. Kos himself isn't completely thrilled. Kos argues that Biden "fills a gap" in Obama's resume, rather than reinforces his message of change. That makes sense, but I think "plugging the gap" can also be read as "broadening his appeal." Obama has the base mostly locked down. He needs to expand his appeal to people who are interested in him, but not yet completely sold. Biden does that better than any of the other candidates.

Huffpost will have the video, and of course has completely obsessive coverage.

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