Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Little Perspective

As always, Digby reminds us there's more to the world than just O-Biden. What really should be an earth-shattering news story is that after seven years, Bush has agreed to a timetable to pull out in 2011. The Village is still in Biden shock, apparently. Froomkin at least noticed.
...But in the end, he bowed to the will of the Iraqis' elected representatives. After five and a half years of occupation, it was their turn to put a gun to Bush's head: The timetable was the price they demanded for agreeing to let American troops remain in the country beyond the expiration of a United Nations mandate in December.

Bush's acquiescence pulls the rug out from under Republican presidential candidate John McCain, whose position on Iraq was largely identical to Bush's -- pre-backflip. In some ways, the new timetable is even shorter than the one proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

So how is this not exactly what Bush had previously decried as an invitation to disaster?
What will people do when they actually notice Bush is now agreeing to a timetable for withdrawal? As I said back on Thursday, why is Dubya emboldening the terrorists? Is anyone going to bother to call out Bush on this...and more importantly call out McCain? The reason why not, according to Digby, is simple:
I don't know. This could be an extremely important political moment but I can't see how it's going to play. Will it be that the Republicans have finally acquiesced to reality and are accepting the terms that Obama has been pushing for some time, as Froomkin suggests? Or will it suggest that the brilliant military leader John McCain was right about the surge which led to our glorious victory?

The coverage has been so muddled that I can't tell yet what the political take-away will be for this. Maybe nothing at all. One thing's for sure: it's a testimony to their puerile obsession with shiny objects that the TV gasbags spent an entire two days bloviating about something quite dull that was going to be announced shortly and didn't pay any attention at all to something important that already had been.
You can bet McSame will want to say "We won, so now we're going home, the Iraq War is no longer a political hot potato." The thing is, it's hard for Obama to say otherwise.

One more reason perhaps for General Petraeus to consider throwing his lot in with Volcano John, perhaps.

More Joe

Josh Marshall is convinced that while Biden's a loose cannon, at least he'll shoot back at the GOP on foreign policy and national security.

When Biden takes aim at Republicans on foreign policy, he exudes a strong sense of authority on the topic that tends to shrivel his target into a cartoonish figure rather quickly. Exhibit number one of this trait is Biden's now-infamous "noun, verb, 9/11" claim about Rudy Giuliani. Another choice example of this is here.

Biden, ultimately, shares and embodies one of the core convictions driving Obama's campaign: That Democrats can win an argument about national security with Republicans, and shouldn't run from a fight on the topic or concede any sort of presumed GOP superiority on it.

Biden's charisma and authority on the subject add a ton of firepower to Obama's arsenal in this regard, allowing Biden to act as an extremely credible voice to deliver the message that the GOP approach to foreign policy in the 21st Century has been a sad, sick joke. One has to pity the poor chump who will be facing Biden across the Veep debate table in a few weeks.

If we see more of the blistering firebrand Biden that flat-out decimated Rudy Giuliani, it'll be wonderful for Obama. But if we see "foot in mouth" Biden or "clean and articulate" Biden, it'll be a depleted uranium millstone around the Democrats' necks.

And in the wings this week in Denver, Hillary Clinton waits.

Biden, Your Time

Initial reaction to Joe Biden as Obama's Veep is pretty good. Jon Alter at Newsweek pegged Biden back on Friday and had this to say:
If it is Biden, the three biggest advantages he brings will be his ostensible shortcomings:

His mouth: Biden would fulfill the job of attack dog that is the first requirement for a vice presidential candidate, and that is especially important now for Obama. If Jabbering Joe is responding to John McCain's shots with memorable one-liners of his own, Obama can stay where he wants to be—above the fray. And if Biden says something off-the-wall that sticks in everyone's mind, all the better, as long as it's about McCain and not Obama or people who work in convenience stores or otherwise loosen Biden's tongue. The worry with Biden is that he just can't help himself. Obama may hope that he just can't stop himself from saying, say, that McCain is a hothead who shouldn't have his finger on the button. Obama can then denounce his No. 2's intemperate remarks even as they sink in. This is what veep candidate were put on earth to do. Same on the Republican side.

His age: Biden is 65 and has been around Washington since 1972. That's supposed to be off-message for Obama, whose theme is change. But people forget that the selection of Dick Cheney in 2000 helped George W. Bush prevail. Voters reasoned that Bush might be green but at least he'd have Cheney around him for sound advice. This logic would be especially helpful to Obama on foreign policy. Biden's experience there won't diminish Obama; it will free him to focus more on the economy. The main task now for Obama is reassurance that he could handle the job, especially commander in chief. Biden provides it.

His state: Biden is from tiny Delaware, but he was born in Pennsylvania and his Catholic background and compelling life story (his wife and baby daughter were killed in a traffic accident, and he took the train home every night for decades to be with his family) will help in several swing states. His son Beau, the attorney general of Delaware, is a captain in the Delaware National Guard and is shipping out to Iraq in September, which doesn't hurt in states with large military populations. And Biden is very popular among Jewish voters, who might be important in Ohio and Pennsylvania, not to mention Florida.

In other words, Joe Biden is Obama's Nameless One. It's a page out of Rove, but adapted for the Dems.

I can live with Joe Biden. His mouth will get Obama in trouble at least once over the next ten weeks, if not more than once. But it will be the kind of trouble I welcome, picking a fight when for far too long Democrats have been seen as bloodless wimps.

As Nathon Fillion so famously said in Serenity, "I aim to misbehave."

Oh, and Biden will win the Veep debate, I don't care who McSame puts up.

Now the bad news...and it's pretty grim. There is a downside: As Joe Biden famously said in the debates this year, Barack Obama is "not qualified to be President". That is going to be played every day in every battleground state in the nation, and the Village reaction to Biden is nothing short of "You ruined our Dream Ticket coverage, and we're going to bury you."

In picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate, Barack Obama sought to shore up his weakness — inexperience in office and on foreign policy — rather than underscore his strength as a new-generation candidate defying political conventions.

He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate — the ultimate insider — rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; or from outside his party, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; or from outside the mostly white male club of vice presidential candidates. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't even make his short list.

And folks, that's the AP tearing into Obama's ass.

From my standpoint, there's a lot about Joe Biden I'm going to have to swallow. While he has apologized and publicly renounced his Iraq War vote and Bush for "stay the course", and his views on Nameless One's unchecked executive power are excellent (even better than Obama's in my view) Biden has a pretty craptacular record on a lot of other things, and his big albatross as far as progressives are concerned is his slavish devotion to the war on drugs and the abuses of power that has sparked. He has a problem with gay marriage, ties to way too many lobbyists, and as I've said, there's way too much ammo laying at his feet not to be used against Obama.

For the next ten weeks you'll be seeing Presidential candidate Joe Biden on tape making the case against his own boss, and that's going to hurt both of them.

And the biggest question remains: Will Hillary voters come around to Obama/Biden '08?

The convention is where Obama and Hillary will have to seal the deal.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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