Will the Real Senator Biden Please Stand Up?

It is unfortunate that if you were an underdog and looking for help from Senator Biden in getting out from under a load of debt by filing bankruptcy, you were given the back of his hand. It seems one of Senator Joe's major contributors through the years was the bank holding company MBNA, the world's largest issuer of credit cards who was pushing bankruptcy reform that would have been favorable to the credit card industry. Biden was one of the bill's biggest proponents -- and why not? MBNA executives contributed hundreds of thousands to his campaigns. And then there was the rather cozy personal relationship between Biden and MBNA executives:

The relationship was also personal, with an MBNA executive's buying Biden's house at a favorable price, and one of his sons taking a job for a time as an MBNA management trainee, as the Wilmington News-Journal reported. Hey, it's a small state.

Biden returned MBNA's favor by delivering key Democratic support for the company's top legislative goal: the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act, which made it tougher for broke people to escape their credit card debt. Biden's staff says he forced lenders to add special protections for low-wage workers and single mothers before he would back the bill.

What was it that Biden wrought with his support for this bill?

It makes it harder for average people to file for bankruptcy protection; it makes it easier for landlords to evict a bankrupt tenant; it endangers child-support payments by giving a wider array of creditors a shot at post-bankruptcy income; it allows millionaires to shield an unlimited amount of equity in homes and asset-protection trusts; it makes it more difficult for small businesses to reorganize while opening new loopholes for the Enrons of the world; it allows creditors to provide misleading information; and it does nothing to rein in lending abuses that frequently turn manageable debt into unmanageable crises. Even in failure, ordinary Americans do not get a level playing field.

George Babbitt couldn't have imagined a better bill.

But Obama can be forgiven his little exaggeration of Biden's heartfelt attachment to working Americans. His campaign is hard at work reinventing Joe Biden, turning him from a partisan gladiator into a post-partisan pussycat. Obama in Springfield:

I know he’ll be able to help me turn the page on the ugly partisanship in Washington, so we can bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda that works for the American people.

Is Obama talking about this kind of "ugly partisanship?"

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), piling on to Democratic complaints about President Bush’s speech in Israel today:

“This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”

Speaking before the Knesset, Bush said that “some people” believe the United States “should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."

I look forward to hearing more post-partisan consensus-building rhetoric from Vice President Biden.

Yes, the Obama camp has their work cut out for them. But then, Obama didn't choose Biden because he emotes well. He didn't choose Biden because he can garner votes from white, working class ethnics in Pennsylvania and other states. Nor did he choose Biden because he is necessarily the smartest, the best looking, the most compelling, or even the most qualified to be president.

Barack Obama chose Joe Biden to attack John McCain and savage him like there's no tomorrow. But Biden will do it with that huge teeth-baring grin on his face so that people believe he's really not a bad sort of fellow. It seems that Obama is determined that if he does lose to McCain, Democrats will not be able to criticize him for not being tough enough on the other guy.

Hold on to your hats -- and bring plenty of paper towels. It's liable to get very messy, very soon in this race.