I’ve been encountering much glee at Redstate over the choice of Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate, but I cannot join in that glee.
While not a spectacular pick (if indeed Obama has such a pick available), Biden is a solid defensive pick. And given the overall Democratic tide this year, defense is a rational tactic at this time.First, VP candidates rarely win elections; in the end, it comes down to voters selecting between the two Presidential candidates. Even VP debates have not impacted voter choices for President. Rarely, a poor VP pick can seriously damage the ticket (e.g. Thomas Eagleton), but Biden is not such a candidate, especially with the media covering his flanks, calling his verbosity and pomposity profundity, and deep-sixing his gaffes. On the other hand, also, under media protection, Biden will be able to take some sharp shots at the Republican ticket with impunity.
More fundamentally, though, selecting Biden is mostly a reflection of internal Democratic politics, shoring up Obama’s support with the Kennedy wing (and their deep pockets) and other establishment Democrats, while betting that Hillary will not continue to obstruct and that the vast majority of PUMAs will vote for him in the end, finding themselves constitutionally unable to vote for a Republican.
This analysis is quite reasonable on the part of Team Obama, and given the Democratic base’s response to Obama’s obfuscations to date is probably an accurate assessment, despite all the screams of anguish right now, especially if the McCain team continues to overplay their hand regarding Hillary, trying to use her primary statements to attack Obama, thereby forcing Hillary to publicly come to Obama’s defense.
Overall, despite what I’ve been reading from most commentators here, I don’t see a serious downside. Most voters aren’t going to care much, for instance, about the cognitive dissonanace between Biden’s long tenure in the Senate and Obama’s “Hope and Change”. It’s still going to up to Obama himself to make the sale or to fail to do so. Despite some distractions he may cause, I don’t see Biden getting in the way of that fundamental task before Obama.