Sunday, August 24, 2008

Clean and Articulate

I like Joe Biden.

I like all the things David Brooks said about him in this article, the day before the pick was announced. David Brooks never ceases to intrigue me; the Times articles that have made me most politically furious have all been by him, but on the other hand, unlike either Kristol or Kristof, you cannot count upon his conforming to an established political orthodoxy. You have to appreciate that.

The one hesitation I have about Biden in relationship to Obama is that I have to wonder where the "clean and articulate" bit went. I would have appreciated it if Obama, in announcing the choice, had said that one reason he picked Biden was because he was clean and articulate, or something along those lines. That would have restored the balance, and established that the choice was personable as well as political. I assume it is anyway—how often does one get to pick one's co-workers at that level, really?—but it's hard to say, and discussing the prospect of Biden with an old friend last night made me realize that neither of us has really let go of that comment, and many others may not have done so either.

He's got the foreign relations street cred (as opposed to the foreign relations LURV; doesn't anybody who's hesitating about Obama's lack of foreign policy experience realize how absolutely adored the man is abroad?) He's got a different religion (I'll be simultaneously amused and terrified if McCain picks his own renegade Joe, Mr. Lieberman), different class background, different racial background (I am very, very sorry that that's important to Obama's electability, but I sadly think it is), and, in spite of the constant foot-in-mouth disease of which "clean and articulate" is evidence, he also seems to me to be trenchant and funny. Being a deep-set Giuliani-hater meself, I was very into Biden's comment that the only sentences Giuliani ever spoke were "a noun, a verb, and 9/11." (I also liked Jon Stewart's response, speaking as the Giuliani campaign: "Joe Biden sucks 9/11." [EDIT: I discovered that this was actually SNL's Weekend Update, not The Daily Show. I regret the error. -Ed.])

And for the most part, I like the sound of his legislative background. I'm not going to claim I love everything, but as someone commenting on Bilal's journal pointed out a while back, the only candidate you're going to love and agree with 100% is yourself, and sadly, you are not running for president. (I'm pretty confident that neither McCain, nor Obama, nor Ralph Nader reads my blog.) Few in the Democratic Party are radical enough for me, but there are many things I like. I like that Mr. Biden was one of the major driving forces behind the Violence Against Women Act. I like that he's helpful with loans and financial aid for college education.

I don't like the way he voted about the war, but I don't like how much of anyone did that. Barbara Boxer was most certainly not on the short-list of veep nominees. So I am going to have to suck it up.

So, I appreciate that Barack Obama has chosen a clean, articulate guy with some wild-cardish tendencies in public speaking. Even though one of those thoroughly obnoxious gaffes was once directed at Mr. Obama himself, I like that Obama is not going a fail-safe route, because it makes the campaign more human. Here's waiting to see who McCain's got in the wings, and hoping Obama's risk pays off.


At 4:43 PM, Blogger Connor said...

Hear hear!


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