Saturday, August 23, 2008
I was afraid this was going to happen. On the face of it, Biden has a wealth of experience and might be seen as a good VP choice. Even I have stated in the past that he wouldn't necessarily be a bad pick. But on the same token, Biden was not the best choice that Obama could have made....not by a long shot. Biden was near the bottom for me.
Some of the problems with Biden have actually been highlighted in recent days with the events in Georgia. And the problems with this choice are plentiful.
1. Biden is a Republicrat with hawkish foreign policy views. He represents the American interventionist foreign policy of the past 50 years - a foreign policy built around American imperialism & global hegemony, militarism, American hubris, Democracy at gunpoint, and the famous Truman Doctrine & Reagan foreign policy as well. Biden is a believer in old Cold War thinking. All of these views are more closely aligned with Neo-conservative Foreign policy thought. Read the PNAC's (Project for a New American Century Think Tank) white paper/policy paper from the year 2000 entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses. See a Summary Here. This white paper/policy paper spells out what the future of American foreign policy should be. Learn more about the PNAC here.... here, and here. (The PNAC's policy papers are the bible for Neo-Conservatives). Democratic Hawks like Bill Clinton and Joe Biden largely agree with the Neo-conservative foreign policy view....with only slight differences. The core beliefs are essentially the same.
Biden also believes in empire building and U.S. expansionism. He is a staunch advocate for NATO enlargement, particularly NATO enlargement eastward into the former Soviet Union, and he has no problem with the idea of continuing (and possibly intensifying) an adversarial relationship with Russia. Biden also has hawkish views about China.
Biden does not come close to fitting a "Change" platform, particularly in terms of International Affairs. Biden represents a further turn to the Right for Obama in terms of foreign policy...and this move solidifies Obama's own turn to the right - solidifies all of the traditionally centrist & hawkish foreign policy positions that Obama has taken over the last several months.
2. Biden does not represent genuine progressive ideals.
3. Biden is a Washington DC insider with 35+ years of experience there....contradicting Obama's entire Change theme (he may as well pack it up). The whole Change branding, which was already becoming stale...because he was not living up to it, is now out of the window as far as i'm concerned. Therefore, Obama will have to re-package himself after today. Observers should be on the lookout for any signs of major re-branding either before or during the Democratic Party's Convention. The mantra of "change" will itself have to change. How ironic. I see no other way around it, because it no longer holds water.
--Mr. Obama, reaching back to the American foreign policy of the last 50 years and promising to carry that into the future does not represent the change we need. It certainly isn't the change that I seek as a Progressive. It signals more of the same.... in fact, it screams more of the same. You would have had to pick Senator Joe Lieberman or a Far right Republican to scream the message any louder.
4. Biden has 35 years worth of skeletons... quite a large graveyard for Republican operatives to choose from. Talk about kids in a candy store....
5. Republicans are already using Biden's own words when he himself described Obama as not being ready for the Presidency. That may cause serious damage to the Obama campaign.... it at least has the potential to be damaging. We will have to wait for the smoke to clear. But there will be plenty of these soundbites that will now be used against Obama.
6. Biden lacks any substantial military background.
7. He's experienced.... but as I mentioned above, it is not necessarily the kind of experience that America needs right now. America needs someone who represents a new direction.... represents fundamental change. Not someone who represents the U.S. foreign policy of the last 50 years - a foreign policy ideology (held by both Democrats and Republicans) that has gotten this Country into the mess that it is in today. This is going to be Obama's Dick Cheney???? This is going to be Obama's primary advisor on policy, foreign policy in particular? Not only am I not excited.... I am actually a little frightened about our future.
Essentially you have a Democratic candidate who is offering nothing significantly different from the pro-war Republican candidate. Obama has turned so far to the right that distinctions have been washed away.... and the ideological lines are now blurring.
I was hoping that Obama would choose a running mate who was more of an outsider, but who had all of the tools and experience to lead... the right kind of experience and the right kind of tools.... not just "experience" for the sake of experience. Kaine, Richardson, Strickland, or Clark (among others) might have been wiser choices.
This, in a way, represents the final dagger in the heart for my enthusiasm for Obama. I can't fake it any longer. I have to tell the truth. Unlike Obama.... i'm principled.