Saturday, August 23, 2008

Joe Biden

So it’s official. (So I went to sleep about five minutes before CNN broke the story.)

You’re going to see this pick analyzed every which way from Sunday, and the GOP has already rolled out the first attack ad using Biden’s criticisms of Sen. Obama from the primary against him. (Which will last right up to the moment that John McCain picks his VP candidate, who, if it’s Mitt Romney or any of his other primary opponents, has a collection of his own anti-McCain statements. Welcome to the YouTube generation.) I’ll leave the heavy-duty analysis to the pundits and folks with reams of background material. My gut reaction is that this a good choice.

As everyone else will say, Joe Biden will bring experience and balance to the ticket. But he will also bring a bare-knuckle fighter to the race. Whereas Mr. Obama has been loath to get really vicious in his attacks against the Republicans, Mr. Biden has no such qualms. He will match the McCain campaign blow for blow and do it with enthusiasm. As it will be inevitably pointed out, sometimes Mr. Biden says too much…and occasionally borrows it; look for the GOP to remind us of Neil Kinnock. But this is probably as wise a choice that Mr. Obama could have made. It reminds me of John F. Kennedy picking Lyndon Johnson as his running mate in 1960; a young and relatively inexperienced candidate chose a veteran senate leader — and someone not known for his taciturnity.

I suppose if you want to see an endorsement of the choice from an unlikely source, there’s not much better than David Brooks in the New York Times.

Biden’s weaknesses are on the surface. He has said a number of idiotic things over the years and, in the days following his selection, those snippets would be aired again and again.

But that won’t hurt all that much because voters are smart enough to forgive the genuine flaws of genuine people. And over the long haul, Biden provides what Obama needs.

Let the over-analysis begin.