San Francisco Chronicle; by Debra Saunders; August 23, 2008
Joe Biden? I feel the same way I did at the end of the last episode of “The Sopranos.” Sure, some people considered the go-to-black ending nuanced, but as far as I was concerned, the producers punted. They chose a non-ending because they couldn’t decide on a strong ending.
I confess. I thought Barack Obama would pick Hillary Rodham Clinton as his vice presidential running mate, not because he likes her – word is, he doesn’t – but because he needs the backing of the 18 million or so voters who supported her. It would have been the smart move for victory in November. My second wrong guess was Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine – a gutsy pick that would have gone against the punditry argument that Obama had to pick a candidate weighted with experience and may have put Virginia in play. Such a pick would have reinforced Obama’s message of change.
Instead, Obama chose a man who, months ago, was shooting for a third- or fourth-place finish in Iowa – but came in fifth, and dropped out after he failed to garner 1 percent of the vote. The Clinton contingent is not going to like this. And thanks to this extended roll out of the announcement, the ladies will be showing up in Denver having just learned of the arrangement. Hide the ashtrays.
Yes, Biden is considered a statesman with strong foreign-policy credentials. Also, in a political world teeming with craven opportunists, Biden is a very decent man, who has been able to work with Democrats and Republicans. Alas, he also is a statesman with a gift for putting his foot in his mouth in his own backyard. Like the time he quipped that you can’t work in a 7-Eleven unless you have an Indian accent. Or when he said Obama is “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
In picking Biden, Obama clearly decided to play it safe. He may have played it too safe.