Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Joe

Just after midnight Eastern, ABC reported that the Secret Service was converging on Joe Biden's house. Then the floodgates opened. From CNN to the New York Times, everybody had sources that confirmed that Barack Obama had chosen Senator Joe Biden for the Democratic Party VP candidate, and that Biden had accepted.

So now I guess I can turn my Blackberry off. Oh, wait. I don't have one.

Ambinder has a nice summary of some pluses and minuses. So far the pick has met with press approval, though that's fairly typical.

Me, I'm glad it's not Bayh. Or Hillary. I think it's a good reading of where the race is--Biden gives it a jolt of excitement, and neutralizes the experience nervousness on foreign policy, while bringing some economic and blue collar cred. And as I said before, they look good together, Obama-Biden is a good, strong sounding ticket. Obama was lagging among older voters, Clinton voters (pretty much the same folks) and Biden helps reassure them. With a good convention, Obama should get their votes in November.

It will be interesting to hear how Biden gets past his earlier comments on Obama's readiness for the office, etc. and how he portrays himself as outside the lobbyist influence ring, as the credit card company friendly Senator from the bank friendly state of Delaware.

He's Catholic, but strongly pro-choice, sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. He's from Scranton, PA, and said to be popular in PA, not something I particularly remember. Maybe more in the eastern half.

What does this do to McCain's VP calculations? He can't pick a lightweight who Biden will demolish in debate. Romney is the only one who seems capable of looking like he can handle him, but Romney is such an obvious fake that Biden will chew him to pieces. But I don't see an alternative now. With the likelihood that this pick will unite the Dem base, McCain has to solidify his--and he really has no good choices. Since Obama went older, he has to go visibly younger--not another white hair. Romney isn't ideal--a lot of the base will run away from him. If McCain goes for perfect symmetry, he'll pick Pawlenty, and hope he survives his debate. Otherwise, who is there but Romney?

As for how the Biden news broke, it was the Secret Service--not part of the Obama campaign--that tipped it off, but the eagerness with which "Democratic sources" spilled it immediately afterwards, suggests to me this was part of the game plan. The east coast didn't get it until after midnight, while the West Coast got it in time for the late news, so we don't have to feel slighted by emails arriving at 4 a.m.

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