"The White House isn't the place to learn how to deal with international crisis, the balance of power, war and peace, and the economic future of the next generation [...] A President has got to know the territory, but that's not enough. Joe Biden thinks its time to remind the world of what America stands for. Freedom. Equality. Justice. Opportunity. He thinks it's time to put courage over compromise, time to express America's outrage once again towards repression, brutality, violence, the abuse of human dignity around the world. And if the sparks fly, so be it."
I do have a little bit of a soft spot for Joe Biden. I still believe that he's maybe the only major Democrat in the country that discusses foreign policy like an adult. That said, I think that Obama's selection of Biden as his running mate may turn out to the mistake that costs him the election.
First and foremost, look at how it was done. Remember when Obama said that he'd announce his VP pick via text message so that his supporters would know first? This was hyped as a means of bypassing the traditional media by going directly to the people. The problem is that Obama dallied so long before he made the announcement that by the time he sent his 4 AM (!) text, CNN, Reuters, and all the other traditional media outlets had been reporting on Biden's selection for several hours. So much for the great populist experiment. And by waiting so long and making the announcement just days before the convention begins, Obama has negated any possible bounce he might have gotten from the selection and minimized the impact of Joe Biden on the average voter.
Of course this might be by design. Biden, despite his qualifications, carries some serious negatives that would have dissuaded any other candidate from picking him. First and foremost, Biden cannot keep his mouth shut. Even the AP stories about the pick talked about his rambling nature, with less-kind commentators referring to him as a blow-hard. He's got a perpetual case of foot-in-mouth disease that manifests itself whenever he gets off the teleprompter. You know, just like Obama.
Biden also doesn't do anything for the ticket geographically. If Obama is really concerned about locking up the Delaware vote, then he's already lost the election. On a day when the campaign announced that it was pulling advertising from seven red states, including Virginia and Florida, the image that has emerged is one of Obama retreating from the front lines. Why not pick someone who would help in those states?
Also, Biden's history is not without scandal. Remember his 1988 run for the White House? Biden emerged as one of the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination until it was learned that he plagiarized his stump speech. Does this mean that Obama has come out and endorsed plagiarism? And let's not forget Biden's Iraq War vote, which places him - in Obama's opinion - on the wrong side of the major foreign policy issue of the last several years. And yet Biden was chosen for his foreign policy acumen?
But the biggest problem with this marriage may be that Biden himself clearly doesn't think that Obama is ready to be president.
The justification for Biden's candidacy in 2008 was his experience. Now suddenly he's playing second fiddle to a man that he himself has said on multiple occasions isn't qualified for the job. Obviously Biden thinks that he himself is ready to be vice president, but one has to wonder what kind of role he would take in an Obama administration? Will he be just one of the three hundred voices offering foreign policy advice to a man who has already said that he is second-to-none in foreign policy matters? Or will he attend funerals for dignitaries?
Lastly, the Biden selection has opened the door for John McCain to do whatever he wants with his pick. He doesn't have the pressure of trying to match an Obama-Clinton or Obama-Sebelius ticket. Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have just seen their stocks rise.
Update: Is this guy really supposed to bring in blue-collar voters?
Update: Freudian slip?