So it’s Joe Biden. I happen to like Biden. He’s a loudmouth, sure, but that’s not such a bad thing, really. And when he speaks from the hip (from the hip to the forehead being how wide his mouth can open) he can be delightfully and disarmingly charming. Sometimes even infuriatingly so, if you happen to be allies. Biden is as close to a hawk as the Democrats have these days, other than Joe Lieberman — and we know what happened to him. Heck, Biden is one of the few Democrats aware that there are other countries*, and shows some unaffected interest in how they work. “Unaffected” might, in fact, be the first word I’d use to describe the distinguished gentleman from Delaware.
Or maybe it’s all an act. If so, it’s one I like.
Then there are the men and women Obama could have picked, but didn’t.
Hillary Clinton. She and her husband will get their two big nights at the convention, and that’s as close as Obama should ever let either one of them get to his Administration, assuming he wins. Forget foxes and henhouses; bringing that pair in would be like letting velociraptors into the neonatal ICU. Points to Obama for not picking Hill.**
John “Baby Daddy” Edwards. This one is too obvious, like an unzipped fly.
Evan Bayh is popular in Indiana, but probably not enough to swing that state, or even do much to nudge Ohio or Michigan. He’s likable enough, but shares many of Obama’s weaknesses. And he lacks Biden’s gravitas, even if Biden does sometimes deflate his own seriousness with his endearing (to me, anyway) goofiness.
Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius? She’d have had the advantage of making Obama appear moderate. Otherwise? Ah, no.
Mike Gravel? Ah, no.
I honestly thought Obama would go for Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. If Virginia hasn’t already become a purple state, then choosing Kaine might certainly push it in that direction. Minuses? Pretty much the same as Bayh’s — he’s a lot like Obama, only whiter and more moderate. On the plus side, he is from Virginia, but without Senator Jim Webb’s well-known prickliness. But it seems Obama wanted somebody older.***
Florida governor Charlie Crist? Christ could certainly help pull Florida along, but… oh, wait, he’s a Republican.
Was Biden a good pick? Not really — he doesn’t bring much to the ticket. But he doesn’t really subtract anything, either. And other than Kaine, that might be as good a pick as Obama was going to get this year.
*”Other countries” doesn’t include the EU. The European social democracies are the Democrats’ lost provinces.
**Just to be clear: I’d gladly vote for Hillary long before I’d vote for Obama. But she’s not someone you choose as your running mate, not if you want to run your own Administration as something more than farce and less than soap opera.
***It speaks well of the Democrats that two of their strongest Veep candidates were dismissed, it seems, due to their youth. Either Kaine or Bayh would will formidable candidates in 2012 or ’16 — and there are more where they came from. The Republican field today lacks that kind of depth, which is probably why they went with the wrinkly old guy.