(Joe's got Barack's Back, courtesy of BAGnews Notes/Defense Department?)
Sorry about the no-post yesterday. I had a very busy (and good) day Friday on the job hunting front. More descriptive news to come once things are finalized. And someone else had a good job hunting day yesterday: Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Barack Obama's VP pick.
While I am underwhelmed (like many others) after all of the hype and teasing (and wrong about my guess that it was Vilsack), I think the more interesting topic of discussion is what this choice says about what Obama wants in a running mate and as a VP (assuming he wins the election).
- Obama wants someone who will get down and dirty and attack McCain on his behalf and not sully himself with attacking. Biden can get off some great one-liners (calling Rudy Giuliani a guy whose every sentence only contains "a noun, a verb, and 9/11.") but can also have some duds. Obama's willing to bet that Biden's stupid statements will be greatly outweighed by some terrific slams of McCain and whomever McCain chooses. All in all, I think Joe is a much better defender/attacker on someone else's behalf than his own.
- Obama talks about change, but he wants people who know the Washington players (and are players themselves) to be deeply intertwined in his campaign and administration. That is how he ran his senate office and primary campaign, and how it appears he will attempt to leverage his agenda in the first 100 days. Remember, most of Obama's key staffers are Daschle and Gephardt people; he is trying to learn from Bill Clinton's mistakes in his first 100 days which featured lots of people who weren't as familiar with the powers that be...and who made lots of rookie mistakes.
- Since Biden will be in 73 by 2016, the VP slot is as high as he will ever go. Joe will only have as much power in an Obama Administration as Obama let's him have, and Joe's ability to tone down that famous ego during the campaign and behind the scenes in the White House will be what gets him more power, not leaking key details to reporters or grandstanding.
- This also means that Obama really wanted to pick Mark Warner, who I think is the odds on favorite to be the party's nominee in 2012 or 2016, depending on whether or not Obama wins in November. Why? Obama told John Kerry jokingly that what he really wanted for his birthday was "Indiana, Colorado, and Virgina." And while picking empty suit Evan Bayh might have kept Indiana in play, Virginia would have been locked up with the selection of Warner, their beloved ex-governor who is cruising into the U.S. Senate (like Obama was in 2004). The key note speaker slot is now the grooming appointment for a nominee's successor, like the Secretary of State slot was in the early days of the U.S.
- Joe Biden is the vanilla pick. A choice that placates most "wings" of the Democratic party, but doesn't exactly get them all worked up like a more daring pick would. Obama is enough excitement for one cycle.
- Obama decided his biggest vulnerability as being seen as too green for the job and that some wing voters might be concerned with his "finger on the button" since he is a newcomer on the national scene. Biden is designed to reassure such voters that Biden will be there to talk him out of making a bad call. And since Joe is the "poorest" Senator (which means he is still a several hundred thousandiare), Biden helps present a contrast with McCain (especially if $200 Million man Mitt Romney joins the ticket) and tap into his "working class Catholic roots."