“I don’t want to look like a schmuck. I want you to look like a schmuck.”
-Kevin Kline in Dave
Senator Obama had his choice of huge range of individuals for vice president candidate. He could have picked Hillary Clinton, who has a solid constituency, or he could have picked Bill Richardson, who has a brain the size of the planet and represents the left well. Instead, he picked Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, who received a whopping 1% of the vote in the primaries in which he participated. Biden has a less than distinguished carrier in the Senate that includes such debacles as the Anita Hill massacre, in which Clarence Thomas was confirmed as a justice of the Supreme Court, having been publicly shamed by his assistant. Biden chaired the mess.
He also was accused of plagiarizing work of other candidates the last time he ran for president in 1988. While this is a seemingly normal thing for politicians, it’s not something I want my daughter to aspire to do.
Why, then, pick this man?
Senator Obama has put a huge effort into seeing that he is perceived as a positive campaigner. He objects to each of Senator McCain’s attack ads, and he does his best to not fight back in kind. But it’s pretty clear that at least someone thinks he needs someone to fight back. That would be Joe Biden, in the fine tradition of Spiro Agnew. This, it seems to me, is why Obama picked Biden. The man won’t make a great vice president (whatever that means), but he can be nasty, in a whithering sort of way.