Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Record and Expectations

The appeal to those working class white guys that Biden brings to the ticket makes this a good choice in my eyes. To call statements like this racist ignores that there are issues of race in voters' choices.

I have been told by people I have seen for years operating without bias in their daily lives, that they are scared by Obama. They are getting fed this view by an element they despise, that seems to be not only dominant but now in complete charge of the party of the right.

An appeal to fear has the kind of effect that subliminal advertising is known for, creating a need without actually speaking any persuasive argument. Like a picture of inviting food, it makes the viewer want something, and this seems politically to be a closed circle. That fearful, hesitating, person is the voter that Biden brings a more comfortable prospect. He's wickedly bright, and confident. From Eugene Robinson comes analysis of Biden's appeal that hits chord for me.

No, Joe Biden isn't exactly a new face to complement the new politics that Barack Obama promises. But tell me if you agree that most Democrats, having nervously checked the text message that arrived from the Obama campaign at three in the morning, are breathing signs of relief.

Tim Kaine would have been new politics, all right -- so new that he hasn't even finished one term as governor of Virginia. He would have reinforced Obama's "negative" of having scant experience. Evan Bayh? Not exactly Mr. Excitement. Chet Edwards? Please. And besides, through no fault of the Texas congressman (blame goes to the former North Carolina senator), this year the GOP would have loved to run against any ticket that included the name Edwards.

Hillary Clinton? It just wasn't going to happen. She knew it, he knew it, and we should have known it too.

Joe Biden gives Obama experience, gravitas, gray hair -- and, perhaps most important, a sharp-tongued pugnacity. He'll have Obama's back. He's fiercely smart, and he knows it. (Should I add that he's "articulate" and "clean"?) All in all, I think, probably the choice that does the Democratic ticket the most good and the least harm.

What I won't see, that I'd like to see, is Sen. Biden debate McCain. While Obama has the acuteness to make that a scene worth watching, Sen. Biden has the age and years in politics to throw the straight talk poseur right under his own bus. No one will call Biden uppity when he talks back to that industrial strength image, the POW, that has steered the right wing around the issues of a real campaign.

As Atrios says, too, the man isn't rich. He earned his way every inch of his career. The voters are aware of his record, and know he can be relied on, even when it means admitting mistakes. Choosing orange juice instead of coffee, knowing what arugula is, gives no grounds, however spuriously, to call Biden out of touch.

Oh, but we're talking about the Serious people - never mind.

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Blogger Nora said...

To me, the worst thing about Biden is the Bankruptcy bill, but politically speaking, I don't see the Republicans harping on that. Not that I underestimate their capacity for hypocrisy, but really, getting those "cheaters" has always been their mantra, so how could they criticize him for playing along?

I'd love to see him come up with a line about McCain that equals the "a noun, a verb, and 9/11" for Guiliani, and I think he's got it in him to do it.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Biden has wonderfully sharp wits and like you I expect he will be a treat in this role.

12:38 PM  
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