I’m not sure a political campaign could possibly screw up a running-mate announcement as badly as Team Obama. The e-mail message that the world awaited for days finally came — at 4:50 am ET. As widely known late the evening before, Barack Obama picked Joe Biden to be his VP nominee, but apparently he didn’t want too many people to know it:
I have some important news that I want to make official.
I’ve chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate.
Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois — the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago.
Let’s emphasize the timing of this announcement. Supposedly, Team Obama planned to release this when all the hip kids would have their cell phones at the ready and Blackberries in operation. At least, that was the excuse we heard when Wednesday, Thursday, and then Friday slipped away and Obama hadn’t made his announcement.
So when did the Magic Text Message come? After last call in every time zone in the lower 48. The people in Hawaii were awake, though.
Of course, picking Joe Biden would be a fairly good reason to bury the news. Biden has a long history of really foolish statements, and managed to set a record for kneecapping a campaign through a verbal fumble. On the day Biden launched his own presidential campaign, he made this reference to his new partner:
“I mean, you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a story-book, man,” Biden said.
Joe Biden also pushed the surge a little after John McCain publicly called for it, which conflicts with Barack Obama’s obstinate refusal to acknowledge it worked. However, Biden also called for the US to impose an ethnic partition in Iraq over the objections of the Iraqis themselves — a position he maintained during the entirety of his presidential campaign. The Biden Plan would have meant a real civil war in Iraq, and probably a genocide, as anyone who has studied the history of partitions would know.
Democrats want Biden because they want an attack dog, since Obama supposedly is too nice to fight back — despite spending the summer smearing John McCain as a racist. As I noted earlier this week, Biden told serial lies on the campaign trail in 1987 about his background and education, rudely dismissed a voter by telling him that he (Biden) had a “bigger IQ”, and most notoriously plagiarized a speech from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. All of this will come out in this election.
But in the end, one has to wonder how Hope and Change and “cleaning up Washington” fits with selecting a running mate who’s been there longer than John McCain. More than half of Biden’s 66 years have been spent in the Senate; he took office during the Nixon Administration. All of those ads about how John McCain was responsible for the state of the nation because he’d been in office for over 25 years now apply equally to Barack Obama’s running mate. Why not pick a governor like Bill Richardson, who had plenty of foreign-policy experience, or even Kathleen Sebelius, who may have bridged the gap between himself and most of the women angry with Hillary Clinton’s defeat?
If Obama needs Biden as a sherpa, then maybe he shouldn’t have been running for President in the first place. That kind of admission maybe suits the timing of this announcement, too.
Update: Here’s some applicable video: