Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My Man, Joe Biden

In any normal campaign, Joe Biden's gaffe-fest would be the highlight. But this has been no normal campaign, and Joe has been practically invisible.

He may not be one who can stay on message, but for those of you who don't know Joe, let me tell you why Obama's selection of Biden made my heart sing with joy.

1. As the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, there's no one who knows more about how the world REALLY works - and the intricacies of political entanglements and real politik - than good old Joe. It's not just that he personally knows every foreign leader: it's that he's been involved in crafting strategy on conflicts from Bosnia to Iraq. But what's key is Biden's earthy understanding of the world. He's a man who looks at conflicts in terms of personality, power, and human motivation, not ideology, and looks for solutions, not orthodoxies.

2. As the author of the Violence Against Women act, Biden has always been a strong advocate for equality, protection, and fairness - and a strong ally for women. His realpolitik is not limited by cynicism, but enhanced by true empathy for fellow human beings.

3. As probably the poorest member of the Senate (his net worth is less than mine), Biden is truly the working man's representative. There couldn't be a bigger contrast to money-bags McCain. But his affection and sympathies for the working man his not simply an election gimmick. He commutes to his home in Delaware every night; he spends his Christmas with Amtrack employees. He is in a true sense a "man of the people."

4. He is a sharp man, quick on his feet, and not tied up by the kind of mental calculations that sometimes seem to trip up Obama. Of course, that can sometimes produce a running of the tongue and propensity to say things that are better left unsaid. But no one can tell you that you don't know what Biden is thinking. No one can say he's a man who only sticks to talking points. That may be a pain in the neck for political spinmeisters who want to keep him on message. But the American people always know where they stand with Joe.

How much of a campaign asset Biden is to Obama may be questionable. But just look at how happy this guy is to be on the ticket. No one deserves it more.

And if it should turn out that there is just one thing that ultimately makes me feel better about our country, and it's future, after this election, seeing Biden in the executive wing would probably be it.

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