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Friday, August 22, 2008

It’s Biden

posted by on August 22 at 22:01 PM

Well, that was fun.

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware is Barack Obama’s pick as vice presidential running mate, The Associated Press has learned.

Biden, 65, is a veteran of more than three decades in the Senate, and one of his party’s leading experts on foreign policy, an area in which polls indicate Obama needs help in his race against Republican rival John McCain.

And, yeah, I was wrong.

And… so… Biden is 65, right?

So if Obama gets elected and survives—excuse me, serves—two terms, then Biden will be 73 when it’s “his turn” to run for president. Biden will be older in 2016 than John McCain is right now, and McCain is older than a whole lot of stuff. Doesn’t that mean BIden will be too old to run for president in 2016? Is he going to go the Dick Cheney route? Are we going to have two VPs in a row who pledge not to run for president themselves? Or eight years from now are we all going to pretend that we didn’t mock that McCain dude back in ‘08 and insist that he was too old to be president?

Oh, and what he said:

Deep Thought

Nobody really cares who John McCain’s VP is.

I have to say that I’m not all that excited by the Biden choice. I was for Jim Webb. But during the Dem primary debates Biden demonstrated a skill that we usually associate with Republicans: Biden can attack someone’s supposed strength and instantly transform it into a weakness. Biden takes down Giuliani:

Here’s hoping he can do something similar to John “You Can’t Say That—I Was a POW!” McCain. VPs are supposed to be the attack dogs. Go get him, Joe.

RSS icon Comments


I'm content. Not surprised or impressed, but content nonetheless

Posted by Will in STL | August 22, 2008 10:05 PM

It's Biden Bitches!!! Now I can get a good night's rest. Gee, Thanks Obama!

Posted by tysurfing | August 22, 2008 10:07 PM

not bad.

Posted by josh | August 22, 2008 10:09 PM

Impressive dilligence, Dan - 10:00pm on a Friday.

I like this pick.

Posted by Jaymz | August 22, 2008 10:09 PM

PRESENT for legendary post

Posted by Non | August 22, 2008 10:13 PM

Delaware? The second smallest and most forgotten state? We're we really worried about those 3 electoral votes? Biden? Could his Presidential campaign have registered less interest?
OK. That's out of my system.
Go Team! Kick Butt!

Posted by Zander | August 22, 2008 10:13 PM

i haven't even gotten my damn text. thanks a lot, obama-biden.

Posted by MK | August 22, 2008 10:14 PM

Back during the Democratic debates, Biden and Obama were always my favorites. I've been hoping for an Obama/Biden ticket for about a year. I'm really happy tonight.

Biden is going to be able to throw some kick ass hilarious punches at McCain. Let's get it on!

Posted by Travis | August 22, 2008 10:15 PM

Oh hell, we all knew the Dems were gonna totally blow it somehow.

CBS just interrupted a very important showing of Total Recall with this fatherfucking news. And right before the scene with the chick with three boobs! FUCK FUCK FUCK!

Goddammit, fuck fuck fuck, double motherfucker.


Posted by Original Andrew | August 22, 2008 10:15 PM

This is the best choice Obama could have made. Obama does have better judgement than Hillary and McCain.

Posted by Whitworth Fag | August 22, 2008 10:17 PM

Substantive things aside, Obama/Biden SOUNDS great!

Posted by Judith | August 22, 2008 10:33 PM

yo, do you forget that we'll probably have hillary back in 4/8 years? I doubt she's done

Posted by brian | August 22, 2008 10:33 PM


Posted by Mr. Poe | August 22, 2008 10:35 PM

Rush is very pleased that it is Biden.

Posted by raindrop | August 22, 2008 10:36 PM


Even if it didn't quite break the news as planned, the Obama "Text Alert Strategy" has made history and. more importantly in the short term, news. And it's news that has itself become news.

Everyone was talking about it: did you get it? "My friend in New York hasn't gotten it, and she thinks New York will be first to get it." I haven't gotten it yet -- how many bars do I have?

The MSM was in love with it all. Headlines practically begged with cock-hungry groans -- "When Will the Text Come?".

Of course, someone in the campaign whispered "Biden" into a few strategic ears. Democratic operatives don't all start singing a diffuse yet similar tune (in the key of Delaware) without a heads up. This announcement has been majestically orchestrated.

Now, of course, Senator Biden has something to do.

First, he must have answers and apologies for his bouts with plagiarism and overstatements regarding his academic record. Yes, they were offenses made long ago, but America loves to pick her scabs. And scabs can still bleed, years on; it's critical that the campaign be ready to counteract any Republican attempts to paint Biden as a valueless blowhard.

Next, he needs to be able to address effectively the "clean" and "articulate" gaffe. He's done so to the satisfaction of Obama, and expect Obama to come out as early and forcefully as circumstances require to dismiss the gravity of Biden's comments in this matter.

I'd be wary of him, personally, playing up the wife-and-kid-dead-in-a-car-crash scenario, as it's to resonant of Edwards's narrative and no connection, however obtuse, to that train wreck is advised. Let his surrogates play this up as an example of commitment to the right values, of never letting family elude his moral compass -- commuting home every night after the accident from DC, as he apparently still does, to care for his surviving kids. This is a beautiful story, in the best Peggy Noonan sense, and the right people should tell it to America. But not Biden.

As for the much-ballyhooed bona fides vis a vis foreign policy and "experience," for once, the reality meets the hype. Biden is a gold mine of experience and relationships within and without the official channels of international relations. The fact he voted for the war is less a weakness than one might think, if only to demarcate an official act of "submit" to the ready-for-prime-time Denver image of Obama as alpha dog.

Finally the Obama campaign will be well-advised to think long and hard about anyone's advice to "let Biden be Biden." The road to hell is paved with unbridled Bidens. Keep him on message. Wire him to electrodes if he says anything out of line. Turn him lose on the Republicans, but ensure his messages reflect more of the wit than the vinegar.

For example, Biden's Giuliani jab of "sentence = subject + verb + 9/11" was at the perfect edge of propriety, and was, therefore, a master stroke.

White collars and barrel cuffs. Chunky cufflinks and silver fox swept back hair (Poe: Yes? No?). A long paper trail and arguments made on the Senate floor at the age of 29. There's a lot to screw him with.

So let's hope for more master strokes from this learned, intelligent, good man. Let's hope for months of them. And let's hope he has a hand near the top of the ship of state's wheel.

And let's thank Christ that Royal Tenenbaum is finally running for Vice-President.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 22, 2008 10:37 PM

Crap, I was hoping for Sebelius. Red state appeal, female...seemed like a great way to win some of Hillary's base without having to actually pick Hillary.

Posted by threnody | August 22, 2008 10:39 PM

I have wanted Biden for awhile now. Have you ever noticed what a fighter he is? Kick ass and take names Joe. We need you. And he's from Scranton, PA? Look out!

Posted by elliott | August 22, 2008 10:42 PM

Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

Posted by Ted | August 22, 2008 10:51 PM

Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

Posted by Ted | August 22, 2008 10:53 PM

I still don't have a text.
The idea was good, but he should have known he couldn't keep this secret for this long.

...when I do get my text I'm going to want my 10 cents back.

Posted by iain | August 22, 2008 10:53 PM

I love Biden. Awesome. Go PA

Posted by doodster | August 22, 2008 11:11 PM

Rush is just in a drug induced haze, don't take that absent-minded drooling grin as any indication that he is "pleased" about anything in particular.

Posted by Sad Comment | August 22, 2008 11:15 PM

Not a good way to win Hillary's supporters over. An all male ticket with another white-haired good ol' boys politician. I've never voted R before, but all I have to say is: Go McCain!!! Then let's have Hillary back in 2012. Stupid Obama sheep who picked him as the Dem choice. How do you like him now, Stranger?

Posted by hillary's girl | August 22, 2008 11:24 PM

I can't believe he didn't text me. Did I do something wrong? I thought things were going really well. He said I'd be the first to know...

Posted by loudmouthgal | August 22, 2008 11:24 PM


Posted by Jason | August 22, 2008 11:25 PM

Obama promised to text me, but he didn't.

If he can't keep his promises, how can he lead our country?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | August 22, 2008 11:28 PM

Good choice. I've always liked Biden. He had enough charisma and intelligence to win the presidency in 1988, were it not for the plagiarism thing.

He's frequently on the news networks, and he comes across as a likable guy who cuts through all the bullshit. He makes his arguments clearly and simply. He also has a good sense of humor.

Posted by Sean | August 22, 2008 11:35 PM



Posted by tiffany | August 22, 2008 11:38 PM



Posted by bryce | August 22, 2008 11:40 PM

@23: John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If you don't know who they are—and I suspect you don't—Google 'em, think about it, then vote Democratic.

Remember: You can't always get what you want. I wanted Gore. Boo-hoo.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 22, 2008 11:42 PM

I'm not excited, since I remember Biden during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings ... when there was certainly enough concern and cause for Thomas to not be confirmed for the Supreme Court - and they just walked all over and right across Biden. He didn't show strength and "attack-dog" characteristics then, and that impact has certainly been far reaching and long lasting.

Posted by Tom | August 22, 2008 11:59 PM

Didn't know too much about Biden but a little googling and this guy seems alright. Hilary on the ticket would have been a disaster. There's not too much to dig up on this dude. Rush would have jerked off on the air if Obama picked Hilary. Biden will destroy anyone who tries to eff with him. The guy is kind of a bad ass on camera.

@23 you are a complete fool. Seriously, are there really any Hilary supporters out there who are still biter about the fair and square loss they took? Just stop. Why on earth would you vote for McCain if you supported Hilary?

McCain will publicly laugh in your face if he wins. He will point at you @23 and then walk up to you and spit in your face and then he'll call you a dumbshit. Can you really handle McCain calling you a dumbshit?

Posted by BenskiBeat | August 23, 2008 12:06 AM

Wow - a few things.

First, get over the fucking text thing already. The first post about it was maybe mildly humorous, but the second was fucking lame. The text will come tomorrow morning. The campaign still hasn't announced Biden and no one could realistically think that we would actually find out first through a text - a leak was always inevitable. The fact that the leak didn't happen until the night before (at the point that actual logistics had to get involved) is fucking amazing. The text idea was a GOTV maneuver anyway and it will probably still work.

Second, those of you who didn't want Biden, give it a week or two and you'll be happy with him. The man is stupid smart and incredibly quick on the stump and on TV. He is an expert at doing just the sorts of things that a VP nominee has to do. He's also a good public servant who has done much, much more to advance the causes that I'm sure most of us care about than most other elected officials in the last 30 years. Yes, the war vote was a fuck-up, but it was for almost everyone who was going to be on this list. Having Obama on the top of the ticket should be good enough. Also, having Biden involved at the highest level should help minimize or eliminate the intelligence shit that got us into that war in the first place.

Third, this shouldn't be that difficult for Hillary people to get behind eventually. Biden didn't choose sides during the primary and was incredibly complimentary of both Obama and Hillary throughout the process. Surely he's one of the people who shouldn't be on a Clinton-loving shitlist. Pick Richardson and all hell would have broken loose. Biden doesn't carry that baggage. Not to mention, Biden appeals to a lot of the 18 million voters that Hillary got. He's awesome with blue-collar voters. He should help minimize (to some extent) the male vote flooding to McCain and shouldn't hurt with women.

Speaking of women, by all indications Biden has an incredible wife who should play really, really well on the national stage. She can be another effective surrogate out on the stump, particularly about education. This is a good, strong family that will make a great image on the trail (not even considering Biden's son who is going to Iraq - which is gold for the campaign).

Also, Biden and McCain have such a long history together in the Senate that Biden can be on his every word and can throw a lot of "I remember when John said X, and now he's saying Y" crap at him. McCain also has probably said so many good things about "my friend Joe" in the past that those clips will counteract any of the negative op research they've been doing on him. Yeah, Romney can go after him, but that mental midget is absolutely no challenge for Joe at the debates or anywhere else.

Finally, forget the politics for just a second. If and when Obama gets elected we need him to govern. Biden brings with him incredible knowledge and experience at foreign affairs - and they come at these things from a reasonably similar framework. Biden will be indispensable to Obama if they actually take office and will do a ton to help repair America's image around the world.

Yeah, there were some dream choices that I might have had as well (Gore or Brian Schweitzer) but without question, from the realistic pool of people Obama had to choose from, I think he unquestionably made the best decision he could for the campaign and the country. Biden is a good, solid guy. I have no doubt that Dems will fall in love with the idea of him as VP very soon.

Also, quick side notes: wanna hurt Obama with women, then Dan's suggest of Webb would've been great. Yeah, he survived the issue in Virgina (progressive sex relations state that VA is) but he was running against such a loser that his issues were overshadowed. On a national stage Webb would've gotten eaten up. Not to mention that he's a piss-poor campaigner who doesn't enjoy being there and Biden offers the same national security cred anyway.

Sibelius would've been great if she actually appeared to have a pulse on camera and if we could've trusted that the Hillary supporters actually cared about women and not just Hillary. It's more likely that it isn't a woman who needs to be on the ticket, it's their woman or nothing. Also, Silbelius has won in large part by welcoming Republicans into her administration - not by doing battle with them. There is no telling how she would've faired in a VP debate or as an elbow-throwing advocate. Give her 4-8 years (hopefully) and we'll see if she's ready then.

Biden's the guy and it's a good choice. There are many fewer downsides to him than there are advantages that he bestows on the campaign. I'm betting Wednesday night at the convention will be a lot more fun that it has been recently.

Sorry about the long post (can you jump in comments?) but it was good to get these thoughts out.

Posted by Ed | August 23, 2008 12:13 AM

Did you really think that he would text you first? Seriously. And what would you have done with the news - run through the streets like a demented town crier, screaming it's Biden? And now you don't like him, or you're pissed, or he didn't pick your boy/girl, and you're going to get in your Snitmobile and vote for McCain or stay home and pout. Seriously.

Here's to the techies who blog,
aren't they too much?
clutching at print-outs of Slate,
just to stay in touch

Blogosphere = verbal paparazzi...

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | August 23, 2008 12:20 AM

Two more really quick things.

A. Biden is Catholic, something that could be huge. They're a bellweather group and Obama has had a lot of trouble with them.

B. Hillary people - she has ZERO chance of ever being nominated for president if Obama loses. There will be a big group of us (like me) who wouldn't vote for her against W running for a third term, this time as all-powerful emperor, unless she and Bill get their shit together, quick fucking pouting, and work their asses off to legitimately help the campaign. And by the way, why don't all 18 million of you people donate $1 or $1.50 to her campaign and retire her debt? I'm tired of being expected to pay for that sinking ship of a campaign she ran and her strategist-extraordinare Penn.

Posted by Ed Again | August 23, 2008 12:22 AM

@23: I really can't wrap my head around you people. You must all be seven-year-old girls, as you seem to be under the impression that a loss to McCain now will somehow lead to the American people/Democratic Party being ~taught a lesson~ which will, in turn, lead to Clinton riding into the White House on a sparkly magic unicorn in 2012.

Posted by oh, for god's sake | August 23, 2008 12:31 AM

Anyone unimpressed with Biden needs to read up on him more. The only other choice was Clinton, and really, that ship sank to the bottom of the ocean 6 months ago. Get the fuck over it, vote McCain, spontaneously combust, or sit the fuck home, but for fucks sake, Hillary is out! Shut up about it.

Posted by hal | August 23, 2008 12:40 AM

Ed Again
Off your meds again

Who says you're expected to pay off Hillary's campaign debt? What kind of "trouble" does Obama have with Catholics - doesn't like confession or what? There's something huge about Biden but it's not his religion.


Posted by LATE NIGHT TOCK SHOW | August 23, 2008 12:41 AM

Right on, Ed.

Also, in Obama/Biden vs. McCain/Romney, the former beats the latter in both foreign policy (Biden), vibrancy (Obama), and intellect (both). The latter beats the former in being old (McCain) and being Mormon (Romney). That' I'm likely biased, of course. I suppose Romney has the business acumen, but he seriously freaks a lot of Christians out, which is great. I think I like that match-up. Make it happen, McCain!

Posted by bearseatbeats | August 23, 2008 12:52 AM


You don't know me, so how the fuck would you know if I was on meds or off them? Oh, was that supposed to be clever? Supposed to explain my super-silly comments? Damn, somehow that slipped by me. I guess you'll actually have to learn something and respond to the substance of my arguments.

If you don't realize that Obama has a Catholic problem then you're obviously not nearly as informed as you think you are. It's an issue and it's one that Biden will help with.

Here's some reading material for you:
w w w
w w w

He's not doing as poorly against McCain as he was against Hillary, but this is definitely a constituency that he wants to do well with and I guarantee that having a Catholic on the ticket was a serious consideration and plus when the Biden discussions were taking place.

And the Clinton whiners keep saying that Obama hasn't done enough to help get her debt paid off, that he wouldn't ask his supporters to help on his website, yadda yadda. They expected a rush of Obama supporters, for "unity," to help pay off her debt. Yet again your ignorance shows.

I will let you do your own google work on this one. Again, it's not that hard.

And wow, you caught me with the misspelling there. I'll try to do better at spelling the next time I post at 2:48 a.m. (yes, I'm in the Central time zone).

Posted by Ed | August 23, 2008 12:56 AM

Hey!! I got my text!

Yay - now we can all go back to supporting Barack!

Posted by Ed | August 23, 2008 12:59 AM

I'm relieved that Obama didn't choose Jim Webb. His 1979 article, "Women Can't Fight," was filled with misogyny. Maybe if he had apologized for authoring it, we could move on. Instead, as recently as 1992, he wrote about Tailhook using language I can only describe as "pro-rape."

Dick Cheney hates the whole country, and look what that's done. We definitely didn't need a vice president who hates half the country.

Posted by Mark | August 23, 2008 4:34 AM

Since no one else has mentioned it...

Personally, I'm inclined to view Biden's age as a good thing, particularly if he shows that in 8 years he has no wish to run for President again. It would allow for a second Obama term to be filled with governance, and not campaigning.

Posted by David | August 23, 2008 5:02 AM

My excuse for asking this is I'm new to the country: why does it matter what religion a Veep or Prez is? Shouldn't the Constitution, issues and present/predicted circumstances take center stage, rather than what prayerbook, if any, an official uses?

Posted by huh? | August 23, 2008 7:07 AM

Concentrating on the VP as the next president is pointless outside of the context of the president dying, resigning, or being impeached. George HW Bush was the first sitting VP to actually get elected in over a century. All the others either didn't run, or lost (Nixon, Gore). Really, we should be asking if he's getting Dick Cheney powers, or Thomas R. Marshall powers.

Posted by Gitai | August 23, 2008 8:30 AM

Boy, am I eating crow. I totally thought Biden was a smokescreen. I thought (and still think) he's a lousy choice. I don't see how this helps Obama at all.

But I guess that's why I'm a lowly slogger, and not a presidential candidate.

Whatever. Go team. Obama/Biden 08!!

Posted by Reverse Polarity | August 23, 2008 8:44 AM

Dan...don't forget you still have to go for a bike ride.

Posted by just sayin' | August 23, 2008 9:21 AM


If only that were true... Not in the United States of Biblerica, I'm afraid. Not yet anyway. I'm still waiting for our socially-conscious atheist president, but I think that a woman president is more likely first. Atheist female president, perhaps?

Posted by bearseatbeats | August 23, 2008 12:31 PM

This may come as a shock, Dan, but, on the whole, you're just not any good at politics. You may be the best sex advice columnist ever, though, and that's not nothing. So don't sweat the political stuff. You're entertaining and that's more than most people are. You don't have to be right, too.

Posted by whatevernevermind | August 23, 2008 3:02 PM

Sibelius would've been great if she actually appeared to have a pulse on camera and if we could've trusted that the Hillary supporters actually cared about women and not just Hillary. It's more likely that it isn't a woman who needs to be on the ticket, it's their woman or nothing.

A lot of women I know caucused for Hillary without really liking HER all that much...just liking some of her positions on issues slightly better than Obama's (like on nuclear energy, the health care mandate) and feeling like her toughness could prove useful in the fight. Personally, I'm frustrated that we haven't had a female POTUS or VP yet, so finding a good candidate that would end that inequity was a nice touch. However, like any progressive, I'm pretty happy with the idea of President Obama. I'm not ashamed to have supported Hillary before, though, and I don't think people can have it both ways: "you Hillary supporters are just voting with your vaginas!" is all we heard then. Now it's "you wouldn't support Sebelius, you must have Hillary or no one." Please.

Posted by threnody | August 23, 2008 3:05 PM

Please tell me you were joking about Jim Webb. That guy sucks shit. In the bad way.

Posted by julie | August 23, 2008 6:23 PM

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