Saturday, August 23, 2008

What Joe Biden Brings to the Ticket

Here is what the Obama campaign is hoping to achieve and communicate with their VP pick:

-If Obama cannot attack without soiling his image, Biden will and will do so with his inimitable and authentic vitriol.
-If Obama is an intellectual who is out of touch, Biden is a working class man who knows everyone he meets on his daily train commute to and from Wilmington.
-If Obama is inexperienced in foreign affairs and too fresh-faced in Washington, Biden is experienced and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
-If Obama is a young black man, Biden is an old white man.

The veepstakes reveal what Team Obama thinks are their weakest link, and they have sought to address them in the person of Joe Biden. All told, if Biden represents the old Democratic party, the party of unions and blue collar workers, Obama represents the new.

Because no VP candidate will be able to seal every one of the principal candidates' weakest links, both campaigns will be taking a risk in evitably leaving some gaps open. For Obama, he's still going to have a problem with women voters, some of who would be allayed by the fact that Biden is an older man with working class roots, but some of whom would not be thrilled that Obama passed over Hillary Clinton and Katherine Sebelius. For Obama supporters too quick to put the blame on the avaricious Clinton, they are seriously underestimating the groundswell of support that still exists for her.

When McCain picks his VP this Friday, he too shall inadvertently reveal his hand about what he thinks his weaknesses are. Curiously, if Obama was trying to balance the old and new wings of his party, McCain shall be trying to balance existing factions of the Republican party that were first united under Ronald Reagan. Whoever McCain ends up with, it seems likely now from his shortlist that he will continue to have some problems coalescing the religious right within his party.

In a battle where both candidates will have admitted, via their VP picks, their weakest link, both sides will now spend the rest of the Fall campaign scouting for remaining crevices in the armor of the other to assault. For all the vetting that has gone on through the primaries season, these crevices can sometimes emerge to become incredible vulnerabilities. In American election-speak, an undetected vulnerability is called the "October Surprise," and no amount of vetting in years past have proved sufficient to prempt these.

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