It looks like the smart money is on Delaware Senator Joe Biden for Obama's running mate. Mark Halperin's already announced it in his typical cryptic way (after erasing his "if I don't know the selection it hasn't happened yet" post from last night): "Bo knows," he says, which probably refers to Biden's son, Beau, though why Beau would know is unknown. Why would Obama choose Biden? Our theory is that Obama just likes Biden. He's a funny guy. But is it a terrible choice? We think it is! But we'd love to be wrong! Pros and cons (mostly cons), below. The official line is age, experience, and foreign policy expertise-Biden matches up well against McCain by outdoing him on most of his strengths besides the "tortured for five years by homos" thing. But with Biden comes the history of saying insane and inappropriate things and, you know, the plagiarism. (We said he matched up well with McCain!) And hey, let's look at some of our favorite moments of Biden saying something insane-taken entirely from his recent run for the presidency! July, 2006:
Biden: goes to a 7/-11. And says: "You CANNOT go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts without an Indian accent." Which he meant as: some sort of comment on how Indian-Americans are a fast-growing and terribly productive group whose support he's always welcomed! August 27, 2006: Biden: goes on "Fox News Sunday." And says: "You don't know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state." Which he meant as: reassurance that he was not an out-of-touch liberal coastal elitist! December, 2006: Biden: goes before the South Carolina Rotary Club. And says: Delaware, he noted, was a "slave state that fought beside the North. That's only because we couldn't figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way." Which he meant as: a joke. January, 2007: Biden: is interviewed by the New York Observer. And says: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." Which he meant as: a compliment to Barack Obama, whom he actually seems to like, and also an astute observation on the way Americans and the media represent Black-ness couched in cringe-inducing language. October, 2007: Biden: is interviewed by the Washington Post editorial board. And says (when asked why Iowa schools perform better than DC schools): "There's less than 1 percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with...." Which he meant as: look, who knows now? Maybe he meant, as his campaign said, that "the disadvantages were based on economic status, not race." But that is not what he meant because it is not what he said. The most charitable possible explanation for this is that by "it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with" he does mean that minorities are born with far fewer advantages in life than whites out in Iowa. But at this point the man's tone-deaf inability to discus race in any sane way-despite no evidence that he, you know, dislikes black people or anything-is actually stunning, like watching an acrobat repeatedly fall to his death over and over and over again.
BUT. The Biden penchant for saying dumb shit is tied to his charm for saying whatever the hell is on his mind. His extemporaneous monologuing produces both gaffes and gems. Like at the Democratic debate where he just up and called a gun nut a dangerous crazy person: See? Also when, more recently, he asked if the Vice President had been kissed, in Iraq. Why? Who knows. Maybe because he knows he's in the running for the job. Politically, Biden is probably a terrible choice. Another two Senators for the Dems. And he's from Delaware. And he makes Obama look even less experienced. And honestly he has nothing compelling to say on domestic issues, at all, which is still what the voters care about. And he doesn't help to win any swing states, at all. But, you know, the guy is also a hilarious blowhard. So we win.