Joe Schmo

I ain’t thrilled about him, but as I’ve looked at the other big options for VP over the last few weeks (Hillary, Kaine, god forbid Bayh), he’s probably the least worst. All the good options (Sebelius) sadly aren’t well known enough yet.

This is a pure tactical decision: Biden plays well with older rust belt voters and for all his many flaws is a capable attack dog when someone else (Obama) is pulling his strings. His Iraq war record is bad, but no worse than any of the other establishment Dems mentioned (remember that among the three Presidential front-runners in the primary only Obama had opposed the war). Also, Biden’s not the sort I can ever see getting anywhere with a run for President after Obama’s term.

If (hopefully when) Obama wins, it will also remove Biden from the Senate, and given that Delaware is a fairly liberal state, get some much-needed fresh blood in there. At the same time, Biden has the decades of connections to help with what would be one of an Obama presidency’s hardest tasks: pulling the establishment Dems into line to get out of Iraq, get health care through, etc. The problems with Biden (his primary era criticisms of Obama, for example) are ones he would have faced with just about any well-known Dem selection (since most of them were either in the race themselves or backed Hillary) and can easily be countered by playing plenty of McCain’s own contradictory statements or his repeated fervent support for Bush over the years.

Again, I don’t like Biden, but I don’t like any of the other establishment Dems either. From the manipulation side it’s a canny play that simultaneously pulls one of the establishment players out of the Senate, puts him in Obama’s corner, boosts his candidacy in some key regions/demographics and gives his campaign the ground-level knife-in-gut political brawler that Barack can’t publicly be due to the approach his campaign is taking and the image he’s built.

I think the office of VP has been given some inflated importance by the role Cheney’s played. Frankly one of the things I look forward to about an Obama Presidency is putting the office back in its relatively insignificant place.