Saturday, August 23, 2008

Biden for VP

Well, making predictions is a hazardous business. At one point, my presidential election predictions, begun in December, 2006, looked pretty sound. McCain had rebounded from his near campaign disaster (highlighted by the dreaded report that he was carrying his own bags), Hillary had won New Hampshire (my best single prediction; at the time it seemed only Bill and I thought so) and my VP choices looked pretty sound.

Now, the tables have turned. I always said Obama had a shot, but thought Hillary would take him down, which, of course, she almost did. My belief that Bill Richardson would be the Democrat’s VP candidate is now, of course, shot to hell. Nothing left for me on the Democratic side. I was wrong about everything (big deal; so were all the experts).

My picks on the other side are better. McCain is the candidate, a pick I stuck with even when he was in the gutter. My thoughts about his likely VP choice, Huckabee or Duncan Hunter, don’t appear so wise, although my underlying belief that he will pick a true conservative seems sound. Of course, I now realize that Hunter is not a good campaigner, and Huckabee almost seems destined for an entertainment career. No pundit even mentions either of them anymore. Of course, unlike Obama, McCain has not promised his pick would not be a surprise. I’ve always thought RNC chairman and former Maryland lieutenant governor, Michael Steele, would be McCain’s best choice, but I am a voice crying in the wilderness with that one. If it happens, then I look like a temporary genius, at least in the same way coaches whose teams win the Super bowl are described as geniuses. Don’t count on it.

The most important prediction I still have a good shot at – probably 50/50. That is, who will ultimately win? And way back when, I chose McCain. He was also my favorite, but I rarely think the guy I like will win. However, Obama has turned out to be the best pure politician in the field, to everyone's surprise, so I feel no great confidence, but will stick to my selection.

So, what about Biden? Watching Morning Joe this morning, the “pundit” consensus is that he is a good choice. That surprised me. Speaking to “regular” people this week who followed politics, the general feeling was that he would not be a good choice. Not only was he tainted by the plagiarism scandal (unfairly, I believe), but he is by nature verbose (if there is more than one way to say something he will choose all of them), sometimes arrogant and probably easy to mock, which is all too important in presidential politics. His whining temper tantrum during supreme court appointment hearing should be shown again and again by Republican advocacy groups. Clearly, he recognized these things during the campaign and tried hard to tamp down on himself. It didn't do much good.

Biden also has a long, long record. And when you have that, it is easy to make someone look like a hypocrite, or, as we say these days, a flip flopper. Within one day the McCain campaign has an ad out showing Biden dissing Obama and praising McCain. There are already top ten lists out for Biden gaffes.

Not that either campaign cares that much about Delaware. It will go Democrat with or without Obama and has few electoral votes. Ironically, Mr. Delaware, Joe Biden, received only 3% of the primary vote as opposed to 53% for Obama and 42% for Clinton.

Chris Dodd, although not as exciting as Biden, would have been a better choice. He has Biden’s strengths without his weaknesses. The fact that he was disqualified because he got a sub-prime loan is political correctness idiocy, of course. Who wouldn’t take the best loan they could get? He did nothing crooked or underhanded? It’s just this blockhead way of thinking that the sub-prime scandals somehow taints the people who got the loans. (take a look at my July 24th, 2008 post -Various Nonsense - where I discuss whether political do-gooders created this problem years ago by forcing banks to weaken their underwriting requirements in order to have more minority homeowners).

McCain has a harder job than Obama. He will almost certainly make some happy and others unhappy whatever his choice is. Conservatives want Romney for VP, just as they wanted him to be the presidential candidate to begin with. On the other hand, independents like me, who liked the moderate, aisle hopping, maverick McCain and are disappointed by the true believer McCain who is running for president, want a more moderate choice. I’m not a big Joe Lieberman fan, but he would excite me as the VP choice just because it means that one candidate is spitting in the face of his party. Of course, it would be Republican convention suicide, and is not going to happen.

At the end of the day, the VP selection is a bit like a roller coaster ride. It’s thrilling and seems very important in the midst of it, but when it is all said and done, it won’t mean much at all. But, you take the ride anyway, because its fun.


  1. I'm surprised by Obama's pick as well, and how positively it is being received here in Maryland. It may be part of an Obama can do no wrong thing. Hope not. Biden is the democratic version of McCain without the charisma. I think he's a poor choice. Of course McCain has no good choices (Leiberman would be an unmitigated disaster), so once again Obama will come out on top. This said, I still think McCain stuns the nation on election day and pulls it off.

  2. Well, apparently, he won't stun us.

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .