At various times I have favored Wesley Clark and Tom Daschle. But by the time this decision was made, Biden was my choice. As much as I hate to say it, I agree with David Brooks on this one.
It just isn’t in Obama’s nature to engage in hand-to-hand political combat. His strength is bringing people together, not dividing them with polarizing partisan warfare. That is one important reason I think he will be a good president. But it is also clear that McCain and his fellow Republicans, including the Rove junior varsity that is now running the McCain campaign, will respect no bounds in how low and how ruthlessly they will fight. I don’t think any leading Democrat is fully capable of fighting at their level (which is one reason I am a Democrat). But Biden is a good fighter. And he does it with a quick wit. (He had probably the best single line of the campaign to date during the primaries: “There are only three things [Rudy Giuliani] mentions in a sentence -- a noun, a verb, and 9/11.”). He will be able to hold his own against anyone in the VP debate and will be able to fight back against everything and anything the Republicans throw at the ticket. And he has a compelling personal story.
For reasons I can’t comprehend, polls show that McCain still holds a big lead over Obama on ability to manage foreign policy. Biden has an even better resume (and a much better track record of judgment) on that score than McCain.
Similarly, it has become clear that the focus of the McCain campaign is to challenge Obama’s experience and readiness to lead. I had come to the conclusion that Obama needed a VP pick who would bolster the ticket with respect to experience. Biden was elected to the Senate at age 29 in 1974. He has more experience than McCain and is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He is a working-class Catholic – a group where Obama could use help (especially in Ohio). And Biden does well with the retired set in Florida.
For those who might think this pick undermines Obama’s message of change I would just say, “What. A skinny black guy with a funny name isn’t enough?”
This decision reaffirms my respect for Obama’s judgment.