Saturday, August 23, 2008

Biden for VP

As the world now knows, Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden as his VP running mate. Biden is a fine choice. A safe choice. But I didnt' think he was the best choice.

I sent the following email (I've edited out references to other VP contenders) to a friend yesterday before the Biden choice was confirmed:
Just wanted to get this thought out there before it becomes moot tomorrow. Obama is announcing his vp pick tomorrow. In my opinion, there is one guy who is the obvious choice, and would be an absolute grand-slam...but he's apparently not even on the radar screen.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

What does Richardson give Obama?

1. He's a connected, inside-the-beltway, exceptionally experienced - and an "outsider."

If Obama chooses Biden - who is fine - he's getting an almost 40-year veteran of the Senate. There goes the "change" theme. ... Richardson spent eight years in Washington in the Clinton Admin, and was in leadership of the Democratic party prior to becoming Governor. He has the connections, understands the inside game, has a national name, can raise money --- and as Governor of New Mexico, has a legit claim to being an outsider that can reinforce a change message. Perfect.

2. He brings boatloads of experience and the "resume."

What's Obama's biggest alleged weakness? His resume. He doesn't have the "experience" necessary. (Off topic - Yeah, right. Go look at Bush the Lesser's "experience" prior to running on his daddy's name. Go look at Reagan's "experience." Or JFK.) Badda-bing. Problem solved. Richardson - even though he is governor of New Mexico - may have the most foreign policy experience of any "name" democrat right now outside of Biden. He negotiated with North Korea, Iraq/Sadaam Hussein. World leaders know and respect him. He was clear in opposition to Iraq. He served as Energy secretary in the Clinton admin. What are the four biggest issues of this campaign (probably): 1. Economy; 2. National Security; 3. Health Care; 4. Energy. Obama is lights out on 1/3, Richardson is lights out on 2/4. It is a perfect complementary fit...AND he doesn't serve as a glaring signpost to Obama's alleged weakness. You select Biden - who has little directly going for him other than foreign policy expertise - and what that primarily does is show voters that Obama is sensitive to foreign policy as a weakness. ... Richardson reinforces that area, but is much more well rounded (pun intended) so that he doesn't accentuate it as a weakness of Obama's. Perfect.

3. He is geographically targeted to states that are close and Obama needs.

Biden is from Delaware. Yawn. It always votes democrat. It's close to Virginia, but he's not going to move Virginia. .... What does Gov. Richardson bring? He pushes New Mexico in safely Dem territory. He *likely* solidifies Colorado as Blue, and may just put Nevada out of reach. He will also genuinely puts places like Montana, South Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, etc. in better position - why? He's a gun-toting, pro-gun, anti-gun control Democrat. Don't find many of those. He is really liked and respected in the west because he's willing to take on the national party on guns. That will help in those other generally red states too. Perfect.

4. He isn't a white guy.

.... Biden [is]. He solidifies a hispanic base that - at least the media reports - is having some trouble coming around to Obama, and sees McCain as the moderate he was before the lust for the Presidency got to him. If he was to really push up the hispanic vote, he could make Florida a lot closer than it is now and, again, really help in Colorado and Nevada. Perfect.

5. He brings the Clinton supporters around.

Biden... - none of them are an overt olive branch to those Clinton supporters that are still (irrationally) irritated that Obama won the nomination. Richardson is. He has a long history with the Clinton family, and in the Clinton Admin. He is still close to him, her, and a lot of the key players from that era. He could be seen as the olive branch without actually nominating Hillary (which just can't be done). Perfect. (By the way - my gut feeling is that this is also the very reason he was never considered - he too much a Clinton choice, and Obama's people wanted a clean break.)

In every way conceivable, Richardson would be a perfect compliment to Obama on the democratic ticket. And he, apparently, wasn't even considered.

It just doesn't make complete sense to me that Gov. Richardson wasn't considered. That said, Joe Biden is a very solid choice. My concern, of course, is that Biden acts as a bright red flag pointing out Obama's "weakness," rather than reinforcing his general message. We'll see.

Biden was probably my third choice in the Democratic primaries behind Obama/Hillary (tie for first) and Richardson (which explains why I would have preferred him as VP).

It's a solid ticket. Still underdogs, but solid. 70+ days to go...


Ted said...

Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

RightDemocrat said...

I would have rather seen Bayh, Nunn or Chet Edwards picked but Biden is a decent choice. Biden strikes me as more of a defensive strategy kind of VP selection. Obama could have made other choices with the potential for delivering a red state or two, however, Biden is a good running mate to help hold the blue states.