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Obligatory Biden post

Honestly, I have post I’d much rather write in mind, but if I don’t at least pretend to post about the Biggest Political News EVAR the Wonk Squad will descend upon my home and revoke my political spectator card.

I cannot even explain to you how little I care that Biden’s the VP nominee. (Crap, I think I hear the Wonk Squad at the door.) Seriously. I wasn’t excited about anyone on Obama’s shortlist. I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that names like Sebelius, Napolitano and Clark had been left off it. Anyone who thought Clinton had a sno cone’s chance in Tempe at getting it was a damn fool. Not because Obama wouldn’t have picked her—though he wouldn’t have—but because there’s no way she would have accepted.* She’s done the second-fiddle-in-the-White-House thing before; she’s looking to move forward. And spineless nincompoop Harry Reid’s engraved invitation to GTFO is already long overdue, so her chances of becoming Senate Majority Leader are extremely good. The only person who could possibly wield more power from the VP’s office than from behind the Senate podium is a robot sent back from the future to destroy our system of checks and balances before they can lead to a government that allows the darkies and the wimminz and the distastefully poor something resembling equal access to the system. Hillary Clinton is not that robot.

Similarly, anyone who feels betrayed that the Changemeister picked an entrenched old white dude with conservative leanings as a running mate is also a damn fool. Obama’s a politician. He’s running for president, which is a fucking grueling process, and the job itself ain’t exactly a picnic. If winning the election isn’t the most important thing in the world to him right now, he wouldn’t subject himself to the horrors of the process. People will make a lot of goddamn sacrifices for whatever it is that is most important to them, no matter how Above It All they may appear, or wish, to be.

So I don’t blame Obama in the slightest for making a calculated political move, nor am I in any way surprised by it. Mostly I just wonder if it’ll pay off. Biden is a gaffe machine, he rambles a lot and can be boring, he clashes with both Obama and the party on some of their most high-profile issues, he’s got plenty in his past for the Republicans to use as attack fodder, and frankly I’m not sure that people are going to buy that a VP with foreign policy experience is good enough to make up for Obama’s weaknesses in that area. Plus, it undermines Obama’s message up to this point, which has been that experienced leaders haven’t exactly lifted the country to new heights of glory lately, and an fresh perspective combined with the intelligence and skill to carefully evaluate and react to each situation on its own merits, not with a knee-jerk “this is how it’s done” answer, would actually be more useful in our current circumstances. Picking a running mate that Dems can point to and say, “Look! We’ve also got experience on the ticket!” implies that they agree that smarts and vision aren’t enough on their own, that experience is critical. If that’s the case, fence-sitters will think they might as well just go for McCain.

*Runner-up candidates can traditionally demand favors from the presumptive nominee in exchange for exiting the race before the convention, releasing their delegates, endorsing their opponent, and generally smoothing things over. This almost always includes a prime speaking spot at the convention, which Clinton got, promises of either juicy appointments or assistance in gaining a elected seat (like Senate majority leader), and promises of support for the losing candidate’s pet causes, like contested legislation or planks in the party platform. The recent changes in the Dems’ language on abortion hints of Clinton’s influence to me. Since she was already statistically eliminated from contention when she dropped out, she wouldn’t have had as much leverage as your average second-placer, and if she was using it to get changes to the platform, it’s unlikely that she was also seeking any kind of appointed position in Obama’s administration, because that kind of demand would require every penny of her political capital. An endorsment of a bid for majority leader, by constrast, costs Obama almost nothing and is therefore easier to obtain, and so she could have extracted a promise for public support on that in addition to tweaking a plank or two.


2 Responses

  1. You know, the more I think about it, the more I think Clinton as Senate Majority Leader would be awesome.

  2. I pray fervently to FSM every night for exactly that.

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