Friday, August 22, 2008

"Articulate and bright and clean": Biden? 

Marc Ambinder is the man tonight, having first derided the Bayh rumor based on the quality of the graphics and now having spotted a chartered flight from Chicago to New Castle, Delaware.

A flight from Midway to New Castle, DE... to pick someone up? Who knows? No other flights from anywhere in and around Chicago to anywhere in and around Delaware... or vice versa. Just this charter.

I am not too proud to admit that I had no idea you could spot chartered flights in real time on line.

Anyway, the arrival of that flight was followed by a "flurry of activity" at the Biden home this evening, so maybe there is something to it. I'm certainly wondering whether the Obama-Biden paraphernalia -- and I use that term advisedly -- that are undoubtedly being printed this evening have more stylish graphics than the head-fake version produced for Bayh.

So let's say it is Biden, what do we think?

[UPDATE: ABC News is reporting that Biden is getting Secret Service protection. Presumably the Secret Service is not in on a head fake scheme.]

Well, his middle name is "Robinette," which I suppose means that he is two echelons down from the Batman.

Beyond that, Biden brings some good balance to the ticket. He can play the VEEP "attack dog" role well, and Obama is going to need that (not being particularly good at it himself). While Delaware is a lock, Biden is very well known in neighboring Pennsylvania and should help put that state over the top for the Donks. Biden also might turn out to be Barack Obama's Dick Cheney -- a smart, seasoned operator who (perhaps) no longer yearns for the top job.

Biden has been a leader in federalizing crime, a trend favored by tough guys in both parties and deplored by me. He is a big drug war guy, and one of the authors of the Violence Against Women act and other initiatives against "gender-based" crime. On foreign policy he is reasonably firm for a Democrat, well to the right of Barack Obama ver. 1.0, but he has long been an advocate of "federalizing Iraq" as a means for avoiding sectarian war. That was always a bad idea for a number of reasons (including that Iraqis were against it), and it was subsequently discredited by the Petraeus strategy (although not to the extent of Obama's Iraq policy circa early 2007).

There is baggage. With the help of Wikipedia we recall that his first run at the presidency twenty years ago, Biden was revealed to be less than honest about his own accomplishments:
Then in September 1987, the campaign ran into serious trouble when he was accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, then-leader of the British Labour Party.[23] Though Biden had correctly credited the original author in all speeches but one, the one where he failed to make mention of the originator was caught on video.[24] Within days, it was also discovered that, while at Syracuse Law School, Biden had plagiarized a law review article in a class paper he wrote. Biden said the act was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and Biden was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F in the course. Biden also released at the same time the record of his grades as an undergraduate which were C's and D's with the exception of two A's in physical education, one B in a course on English writers and an F in ROTC during his first three semesters. His grades improved later in his undergraduate career but were not exceptional.[25] Further, when questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school Biden had claimed falsely to have graduated in the "top half" of his class, (when he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85) that he had attended on a full scholarship, and had received three degrees. In fact he had received a single B.A. in history and political science and had not received a full scholarship.[26]


Perhaps more importantly, Biden is going to clutter up the pristeen Obama track record with, well, a track record. He has voted for and against lots of things and famously flapped his gums in front of rolling cameras for 35 years. If the only plausible criticism of Obama is that he cannot be criticized for any sin of commission because he has not committed anything, Biden is a walking target-rich environment. Maybe that's part of his appeal -- Biden might be like chaff or a decoy, sucking up the attention of the opposition and the media in a relatively harmless way.

The final risk, of course, is that Biden will commit a real-time gaffe. Even in enthusiasm, Biden can say some amazing stuff, such as about Barack Obama: "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."

"Articulate"? Even I know not to say that.


By Blogger SR, at Sat Aug 23, 01:10:00 AM:

Get ready for the "O" and Joe show.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat Aug 23, 09:12:00 AM:

How the fuck do you get F's in ROTC for three semesters?

And that's a fairly impressive record of lies, considering that they are all from the same few years of this guy's life.

I don't think that this choice is going to help Obama much at all.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 23, 09:56:00 AM:

They're a fine pair IMO, but I have to admit you made a good call and composed a fine post here. The one thing you won't see McCain attack, however, is Biden's academic credentials... both pots are black as soot.  

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