It is now official. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware has been selected by Barack Obama to be his running mate in the general election. The advantage of his doing so is not immediately apparent as the senior senator from Delaware is imbued with more negatives than positives. Preliminary data indicates that his presence is unlikely to have much of an impact, and, geographically speaking, the choice is nothing short of astounding. Biden hails from a reliable blue state so his name on a glossy button will fail to sway hearts in Pennsylvania (that he lived in Scranton until he was age 10 is something I do not think will have much of an effect), Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Florida, and Michigan. Due to a tightening of the race, his lack of connections in battleground states is a major drawback as some electoral configurations even have John McCain in the lead. At the moment an Obama presidency appears anything but inevitable.
After the announcement, Obama boasted that their new team will “turn the page on the ugly partisanship in Washington,” but past performance suggests otherwise. The senator from Delaware’s political worldview is nearly as left-wing as Obama’s. National Journal dubbed Obama the “most liberal senator in 2007″ and bestowed a 95.5 percent rating upon him. Biden’s 94.2 percent earned him third place. The American Conservative Union confirmed National Journal’s assessment of their collective ideology. They gave the Democratic nominee a 7.6 lifetime rating (out of 100) while Biden merited a 13.0. Therefore, the vice-presidential gambit amounts to one leftist reaching out to another. Solidifying the eastern seaboard will do Obama no good as he garnered that region’s fealty long ago.
While Biden’s politicial orientation differs little from Obama’s, his essence clashes resoundingly with the campaign’s ubiquitous mantra of hope and change. There is nothing new in the perspective of a five-term Washington insider. Biden is as much a part of the federocracy as its computers, phones, and squandered funds. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, Biden’s 70 pork-barrel spending projects cost taxpayers $119 million last year. In comparison to his overfed peers, the Delaware senator’s manipulations of the budget are fairly pedestrian, but they are in keeping with the Capitol’s standard method of conducting business.
Given that Obama only had two years of experience at the national level before announcing his candidacy in 2007, the experience Biden provides him with is notable. Currently, he is chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and recently visited the Republic of Georgia in the midst of its dire crisis. That he “has played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy” — a claim made on his website — is accurate. These foreign policy credentials are believed to be the chief reason why he finds himself once again in the limelight.
International relations are the upside with Biden but there is ample downside as well. Indeed, he arrives at destinations with more baggage than Oprah Winfrey. His mouth has always been his biggest enemy and he is an adept practitioner of self-sabotage. The mainstream media is aware of this eventuality and are already attempting to spin Saturday’s news in a favorable manner. Human interest pieces have proliferated. Journalists cognizant of his flaws seek to preempt conservative objections as a means of inoculating voters before the truth can become known.
Anticipating the conservative argument that Biden is an elitist, the Los Angeles Times ran a story entitled “In His Home State, Biden Is a Regular Joe.” Well, then it must only be in other locales where he says things like “I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do” in response to imprudent questioners. It gets far worse, however, as Biden is a politically correct nightmare. Of his new boss, he once proclaimed, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” It certainly is provided one thinks those favorable attributes are seldom found in African-Americans and that their existence is a radical departure from the norm.
His favorable self-assessment of his intellectual capacity was belied by a remark made in reference to his home state’s demographics: “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” Statements such as these would destroy a Republican but the Democratic Party has nothing to fear. Media Matters will not be running any damning exposés on their regular Joe because he is a man of the left. Moreover, that organization, which specializes in the policing of free speech, has already actively begun the process of shielding him from attack.
Yet journalists truly believe in the PC they schlock, so undoubtedly they feel queasy about having to safeguard a neo-Imus for two and a half months. Humorously, the LA Times defense piece included a description of the famous lawyer that somehow bypassed their advocacy screener. It summed Biden up quite nicely: [he is] “seemingly so in love with his own voice that his colleagues must fight to be heard at his hearings.” Well, at least that clarifies why he so appeals to our would-be savior.
Republicans are euphoric over the Biden announcement. John McCain termed it a “wise selection,” which should have been an immediate indication that it was anything but. McCain’s opinion was akin to what the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions might have said in response to the off-season news that the Chicago Bears gave Rex Grossman a contract extension: “Great move by the Bears. Those guys really have us on the run. They should sign more players like Rex Grossman.”
Forthwith, the McCain campaign put together a political advertisement based on Biden’s past statements concerning Obama. No doubt readers will become highly familiar with its contents in the weeks to come. None of the snippets from Biden is off-color but they certainly will discombobulate leftists. Initially, a clip from a primary debate plays wherein the Delaware senator confirmed the validity of a previous comment — “the presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training” — which he once made in regards to Barack Obama and his unsuitability for the role of commander-in-chief. Then it breaks away to a segment from an interview in which Biden said of the Republican nominee: “I would be honored to run with or against John McCain. I think the country would be better off.”
The media may call Joe Biden an “elder statesman” but that is rooted more in their desires than in reality. He is an elder but one devoid of gravitas. As far as his being a statesman, as Yuval Levin noted at National Review: “Biden, after all, is not in fact some kind of celebrated statesman, and not a single person in America (except perhaps Joe Biden) thinks he is. But even he might appear that way in comparison with Obama.” Yuval also pointed out that Biden’s age — he’s 65 — renders McCain’s gray teeth less of an issue.
Perhaps August is the kindest month as these are heady days for those of us who dread an Obama presidency. The emergence of Joe Biden offers hope and change for conservatives because it makes a McCain victory more likely. This year should have belonged to the Democrats. They should have acquired firm control of the nation’s legislative and executive branches, but, in the words of Chris Berman, “that’s why they play the game.”
The appointment of Joe Biden as vice presidential candidate was not the beginning of Obama’s demise. It is just another in a long series of blunders and misbegotten decisions that highlight his fundamental lack of judgment. If he manages to win in November his deficits in wisdom will spell disaster for our nation. Luckily, Obama hitching his future to such a mercurial figure reveals that he may be his apprentice’s soul mate — at least in regards to the art of self-sabotage. His choice makes this race John McCain’s to lose. Therefore, on behalf of all non-leftist citizens everywhere, I wish to thank Barack wholeheartedly.