Barack Obama’s choice of Joe Biden as his running mate has caused some concern recently amongst Democratic supporters. My wife Meri has even been opposed to him, saying he looks like a “used-car salesman” and that by picking him, Obama shows that he holds grudges. The appearance of Sarah Palin on the scene seemed to cause more panic as fears rose that Hillary Clinton’s female support would flock to the Republican party and that this could be exacerbated if Biden gets too aggressive in the VP debate. Some blogs in the Huffington Post have even called on Obama to dump Biden for Clinton. This crazy talk has got to stop.

OK, the original choice of Biden over Clinton may be debatable but is not really all that contentious. Biden has acres of experience, and whilst sometimes says the wrong thing, is at least prepared to say what others are afraid to with passion. From the electoral standpoint, yes it did open the option for McCain to pick a woman in an attempt to woo disaffected women voters. But if Obama had chosen Clinton, McCain would probably have chosen a “regular white guy” to woo other “regular white guys” away from the “black guy and the man-hating feminist woman”. All that can be learned from McCain’s reaction is that the when it comes to VP picks and conventions, the Democrats must stop going first! As regards women going to the McCain camp, it appears from the polls that not many did and that those who did came back after having a good look at Palin.

The debate could be awkward as he may well be in a no-win situation. So he shouldn’t go into it expecting any great slam-dunk victory, just focus on the Obama-Biden plan for America. However, by then people may have grown tired of the snarky comments that made Palin appeared feisty at the Convention. As more and more stories appear about Palin’s behaviour in public life, these comments start to seem like a symptom of a small-minded nastiness about her. If he allows her to make a few of these without responding in kind, he might just win it.

The best thing about Biden on the ticket would be the situation in the event of victory. At that point, he would be able to go into venerable semi-retirement and we could rest easy knowing that if something terrible did happen to Obama, a man who has the experience and ability to be President (just not the electability) would be there to take up the mantle. Meanwhile Hillary supporters should be happy that the most important woman politician of our time is not spending the next four years with only one Constitutionally Mandated task (given the way the senate races are going this year, there’s unlikely to be many tie votes in the next few years). Rather she will still continue to be a powerful voice in American politics.

So think about how this could end: An African-American president, a genuinely blue-collar regular Joe Catholic Vice-President, a woman Speaker of the House and a woman Senate Majority leader. Not bad, eh?


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