Monday, August 25, 2008

Why Biden?

Barack Obama has selected as his running mate a man whose own unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid was torpedoed almost as it was launched, because of an interview the candidate gave to the New York Observer. According to Jill Zuckman's article in the February 1, 2007 edition of the Chicago Tribune, Senator Joseph Biden told the Observer that Obama was "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

Kind of forgot about that one, eh?

When your eyes stop rolling, come back.

At the time, according to Zuckman's article, Obama said, "I didn't take Sen. Biden's comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate... African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate." And, of course, Biden expressed the necessary regret: "I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Senator Obama."

At least on that occasion, he must have expressed himself very well.

Biden's experience, particularly his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, is being touted as the reason he was added to the ticket. Biden has been in the Senate for more than a generation -- he was bound to be the chairman of something (when his party came to power) after serving so long in a body with a seniority system that awards longevity above all.

My own suspicion is that Biden was picked because he gives the late night and cable news-comedy hosts a ready target. It's not that Senator Biden is unqualified or a real lightweight. No one could last in the Washington environment for any length of time without considerable skill and at least some substance -- I don't care how secure your base is at home. But Senator Biden has plenty of baggage that can be mined for comic gold. The comedians were starting to get squeamish about doing McCain age jokes because they were having trouble poking equal-time fun at Obama. And now?

Sit back and watch.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i thought he would choose biden. i think it is a cop out too. the right is loving the heck out of it, likes sharks circling. the hillary people hate it, like sharks circling. politics is not for sissies!

smiles, bee