Campaigns/Elections

Obama Chooses Talky Joe

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Send Joe Biden!

The blabbermouth Delaware senator is now one hope spasm + bullet away from the White House. What does it all mean? Who knows! My five-cent opinion is that Obama has two principal shortcomings from the tactical side of this campaign: His glaring lack of foreign policy experience at a time of war, and (to a much lesser degree, I guess) his Otherness. Biden directly addresses both points. He's also kind of a clown, with foot-in-mouth disease, so we'll see where that all ends up.

A personal anecdote: One of the few advantages in working for one of those anachronistic newspaper editorial-board thingies is that a parade of top political candidates and office-holders comes trudging through, offering a crucial opportunity for snap character assessments. During my time at the L.A. Times I saw John Edwards (insufferably insincere nancy boy), Bill Richardson (a huge disappointment: backpedaling on trade, pie-in-the-skying on Iraq, and just not particularly smart)…and then there was Joe Biden. To my great surprise, I found him pretty dang sharp, with layer upon layer of knowledge about the history, present, and future of Iraq, and also about wonky parliamentary maneuvering in the United States Senate. Afterward, the then-publisher of the paper, a Reagan Republican named David Hiller, was all hey he was pretty impressive, wasn't he? And just when you were about to say "yes" you'd remember all the horse-puckey Biden talked about economics, trade, regulation, and so on.

Some reason golden oldies on Talky Joe: Delaware Dave Weigel blogged about Biden-veepmania earlier this week, flagged an anti-gun crack back in July 2007, interviewed the target of said crack, and explained a year earlier "Why Biden, and only Biden, is mediocre enough to lead the Democrats in '08." Jacob Sullum slammed Biden's Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act back in July 2003, then noticed Biden going soft on drugs four years later. Steve Chapman argued in September 2007 that then-candidate Biden was talking more about Iraq than anyone else, and one month later Jonathan Rauch called him "the grown-up in the race."

Let's hear some analysis, commenters!