So the candidate for "change" brings us as his Vice-Presidential running mate the guy whose picture is in the dictionary under "Washington Establishment." Is Obama going to change his entire campaign message?
Barack Obama so loves himself that he chose as his running mate a higher-mileage version of ... Barack Obama. Both are guys who were elected to the Senate as young men with winning smiles and almost no real-world experience. Both are guys whose arrogance is only exceeded by their self-conceit.
I take that back - nothing exceeds Joe Biden's arrogance.
The "change" candidate - he's a uniter, not a divider - brings us a V.P. candidate who was protagonist in two of the most shameful and bitter partisan battles of our generation, the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.
The selection of Joe Biden by the Democrat nominee also tells us a lot about the Democrats as a party. A ticket comprised of two sitting United States Senators, two Washington insiders, tells us that Democrats truly believe that Washington D.C. is the center of the American universe and the seat of all political wisdom. Democrats believe that the answers to all our nation's problems must proceed from Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Not from Main Street, and certainly not from Wall Street.
The other problem with two U.S. Senators on a ticket (or in the White House) is that Senators are used to solving problems using the tools of the Senate. There's no problem that can't be fixed with a committee, a hearing, a speech, or a new law. Senators operate by committee. They debate, they deliberate, they vote. They don't decide, they don't lead, they don't take risks. They mull issues over, staff them to death, read position papers, and table them. Senators aren't the stuff great Presidents are made of. That's partly why so few Presidents have come directly out of the Senate.
In addition to all of the above, Joe Biden also brings his considerable personal baggage of plagiarism, dishonesty, and hubris. Links to a couple of good pieces on that here and here.
In picking Joe Biden as his choice for Vice-President, Barack Obama may well have just handed the November election to John McCain. By picking Biden, Obama completely undercuts his most persuasive credential - that he is a candidate for change, bringing a new kind of politics to Washington. That just looks silly now. His ticket is now just another product of the Democrat Party establishment in Washington. There's no cross-over appeal there.
In picking Biden, Obama also manages to validate the campaign of John McCain. Two of McCain's biggest vulnerabilities are the charges that he's too old and that he's too establishment. Well Biden is nearly as old as McCain and has even more time in Washington than McCain. As an added bonus, Biden is on the record having said in the past that McCain is the only guy on the Republican side who is qualified to be President, and he's also said that Obama is NOT ready to be President.
John McCain can seize this moment and blow this race wide open if he can tap as his Vice-Presidential choice someone who is not a creature of Washington politics and who can provide some cross-over appeal to wobbling Democrats. He needs someone who has some youthful vigor (relative to him), and some executive experience either in the business world or as a state governor. If his choice were a woman who could woo unhappy Hillary! voters, so much the better. About the only way McCain can screw this up is to select another old, white guy from Washington. This isn't John McCain's first rodeo. He won't screw it up.