As David Freddoso noted in his book, Obama represents the merger of two of the worst aspects of Democratic politics –’60s radicalism and corrupt Chicago machine politics. With the addition of Slow Joe Biden to the ticket, Obama has added to his unsteady candidacy an epic amount Beltway cluelessness and arrogance unsupported by anything except frequent flier miles and Delaware’s love for a chuckle-headed fellow with a big smile.
Rob Long asks “Isn’t [Biden] sort of the stupid person’s idea of the smart person’s candidate?” Yes, he is. But that’s not fair to stupid people. Even stupid people who watched Biden embarrass himself during the Alito hearings –remember the “I hate Princeton” moment followed by the donning of the Princeton cap?– know that Slow Joe is all tenure and no talent.
I was worried that the Dems had pointed out to Obama that his serial gaffing had brought the campaign close to a break point and that he needed Hillary. I was worried he’d actually go find Anthony Zinni or Sam Nunn or someone of accomplishment and purposefulness in foreign affairs. Webb would have been hell on the stump. Kaine or Bayh would have put different states into play. Sebelius was a wild card.
But Biden? Marooned in Marin has a collection of Biden’s greatest hits, which barely scratches the surface of the buffoonery Biden has produced over the years, and we’ll be getting the audio ready for next week and the next two months. See also XDA’s assessment: “That locks down the important swing state of Delaware and puts the combined fatuous egotism of the ticket into overload territory.” Geraghty the Indispensable has a list of choice Slow Joe quotes as well.
But put Biden’s obvious flaws aside and ask yourself how in the world Obama decided to go with Biden, and you’ll quickly realize that the Democratic nominee must have been impressed with Biden on the long campaign trail of 2007 and 2008 –even though voters weren’t and even though Biden has no accomplishments of note after 36 years in the Senate. Biden talked a great game and dropped some very interesting place names –and this impressed Obama. Talking the talk has been the key to Obama’s success, and in Slow Joe he found an older, far better traveled but equally prolix gas bag.
You want the counter argument: Read David Brooks, which Obama almost certainly did. But as a product of one of those towns in the industrial midwest full of Catholics and tough stories of the sort Brooks retails, I shake my head at the idea of a 36 year veteran of the Beltway who is down-the-line-liberal building a bridge to the old neighborhood. (And Dems have again got to face the problem of a hard-line abortion rights advocate explaining how this doesn’t conflict with his Catholic faith. Archbishop Chaput’s new book, Render Unto Caesar, is required reading on this suddenly central-again subject. My interview with the archbishop from Tuesday is transcribed here.)
Obama had another terrible week. His paean to the Chinese (he praised their “vastly superior” infrastructure on Thursday) his baffling equation of Russia’s rape of Georgia with America’s overthrow of Saddam, the new focus on his vote against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, his close ties with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and convicted felon Tony Rezko –all these things crowded in on him as he ran out of time to make a crucial decision. Pushed to the wall, he picked an empty suit like himself, a nice enough fellow who has done one thing well in his entire life, which is win elections in Delaware.
For Obama, it is all about politics and words, elections and poses. Slow Joe is the perfect running mate on a perfect ticket for a party betting on wind to solve the energy crisis.