Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama Picks Biden for VP - Not The Best Choice

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.


Mary said...

You're wrong about Biden. The neoconservatives consider him an enemy because he won't let them attack Iran. This blows your thesis out of the water. Thanks for the concern though.

Truthiz said...

AI I have nothing but Respect for your intelligence and intellectual insight...and more often than not, I find myself in agreement with you.

However, on this one I have to Respectfully disagree.

Not only do I think Biden is an Excellent choice_precisely because of what he brings to the table in terms of years of experience particularly in the major areas of the economy, foreign policy and the armed services_but he's a "natural" fighter with gravitas.

In short, he's nobody's wuss_which brings me to another important point:

Given the rather lame campaign Obama has run since securing the nomination, Biden is a necessary choice. A straight-talking, independent-thinking, "son of a gun" with a blue-collar family backgroud, Biden's not afraid of of a challenge or taking "it" to the opposition.

Lastly, I agree with Mary.

From what I've read thus far, the neoCons don't like Biden because he IS his own man who goes his own way regardless of outside pressure.

Is he a "perfect" politician? No, of course not.

But I believe he's an Excellent VP pick and I'm hoping some of his "ways" will rub off on Obama!

The Angry Independent said...

I've been watching Biden for years. Don't let the smile and the Dove imitation fool you. Democratic hawks like Biden are not anti-war.....they aren't even pro-Peace.

And Iran... that is but one slice of his foreign policy. And although he has not been crazy about the idea of military aggression (at this time) he has never taken it completely off the table. He has advocated a slower, slightly more diplomatic approach than what the Bush Administration initially offered.

Regarding his position on other foreign policy matters - his position on Europe, his position regarding NATO expansion...increasing American defense treaty obligations around the World at a time when the U.S. doesn't need such burdens, his position on American empire building, American intervention and meddling in the internal affairs of nations...and in disputes between nations, his position regarding Georgia and Ukraine (future sources of conflict), his positions on the Middle East and his support for wars like the war in Iraq, his hawkish support for Israel, his support for Bush's War on Terror, his position on Asia regarding N. Korea, China, and going to war with China over Taiwan, I beg you to check the record.... these facts remain, and they are a troubling reminder of where we are likely headed. Biden is a Conservative Democrat (can be mistaken for a Republican) when it comes to international affairs.

Perhaps I am a little more Progressive than you happen to be. My Progressive side tends to shine through quite a bit on matters of war and foreign policy. These are my core principles coming out.

This is going to be one of those lessons you will have to learn on your own.
So please bookmark/save this post for your records.... and when Obama's Foreign policy takes shape the way I think it will, I want you to refer back to what I just wrote. I'm willing to take it to the Bank.

So remember the post so you can come back to it later...

"Time alone, Oh time will tell........" -- Bob Marley

The Angry Independent said...

If you guys don't like this post... then certainly you are not going to like what i'm about to say about Barack Obama. :)

Sorry Rikyrah....I know you are a certified 100% pure Obamacan. But the truth is liberating and cathartic for me.... so I must.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

i just wonder what happens if obama looses?
folks are blinded by the Obamafication of America

Nice spot u have here, hope u don’t mind the drive by, do chk me out one day

rikyrah said...


You know I respect you. I have doubts about Biden, but at the end, it was about the lesser of evils, and ANYONE BUT HILLPATINE for me.

My choice would have been Webb or the Governor Cowboy. If only either one of them had been in their SECOND terms.

I couldn't stomach Hillpatine under any circumstances.

I couldn't take Bayh, once I realized Mark Penn was attached to him.

I liked Kaine, but he wasn't known.

I would have liked Sebelius after reading the Skeptical Brotha profile on her, but I understand the trouble with picking her.

I hear ya, AI.

But, considering he didn't pick the ones on my list that I couldn't swallow, I'll have to shrug with Biden.

The Angry Independent said...

"I'll have to shrug with Biden"

And you'll be shrugging right into the next Biden War or crisis with the rest of the Obamacans....wondering what happened. (duuhhhh ....we thought we voted for change).

Do you have any sons, nephews, anyone planning to join the armed forces anytime soon?

Good luck!

Andre said...

I feel you on this post, AI.

I hope that Obama has some clairvoyance that we don't know about. Because as I'm seeing this whole thing unfold, Obama needs something to get over the pissed-off-Hillspawn-supporter complex that stands to dismantle his campaign. Outside of making up for those losses by trying to lure more independents and moderate voters, perhaps using Clinton as his VEEP would have been more logical. I hate to even bring such an idea to the forefront, but when we run the risk of having four-eight more Dubya-esque years, I'm willing to put my dislike for Hillspawn aside.

I guess that - above all - my frustration continues to mount with Sen. Obama. I would have never suspected that his campaign would have been as crappy as its been up to this point. If he would've ran a more effective campaign, he could've chosen Elmo as his VEEP and still waltzed his way into the White House.

The Angry Independent said...

Hell-ery should have never been considered in my view. Apparently she was never even vetted. Obama made the correct move in that regard. But then he turns around and chooses someone even more hawkish.

Obama has been losing support from Progressives....and it is because of his turn to the Right and not adhering to his own Change platform.

And I agree... Obama should be able to waltz right into the White House. Hell, he should be able to have furniture moved in right now.

Any other Democrat would be able to at this point IMO. But because Dems wanted to use this year for their little political/social experiment, we are in for this horse race.

But if you look at the generic Democratic vs. Republican numbers... The Democratic Party brand leads the Republican Party brand by 10-15 points in some categories. So why isn't that being reflected in the candidate vs. candidate matchup? Race is a factor... I have stated that a million times. That probably accounts for much of the difference. However, the contest has tightened over the last few months, since May and June when we knew Obama would be the Democratic nominee. And some of that tightening has been due to Obama's turn to the Right...and his eroding support among base Progressives and Liberals. He has not been able to pick up enough Clinton supporters and Independents to make up for the losses among the base.

There are States that are in play right now... (toss ups) that shouldn't be.

rikyrah said...

Any other Democrat would be able to at this point IMO. But because Dems wanted to use this year for their little political/social experiment, we are in for this horse race.

Um, AI, should I, at this point, remind you of how you sorta rooted for Edwards -the safe White guy- and what trouble we'd be in right now if we had chosen Edwards?

jurahar said...

Regardless of the conflict between Russia and Georgia causing predictions that Obama would choose Biden to beef up his weakness in foreign policy, I have always thought Biden was a good choice.

As far as all the posturing and US tough talk, the man’s got to do what he’s got to do, he’s on the Foreign Relations Committee. He can't talk like he’s ready to “tip toe through the tulips.” Even though this country gets off on its world's superpower rhetoric and unilateralism, it took a total idiot and fool like George Bush Jr. being lead by a psychopath like Dick Cheney to start a preemptive war. No one is calling any nation “Axis of Evil” or putting out wanted "Dead or Alive" notices like cowboy Bush on world leaders. After almost six years of wars and billions spent monthly, this administration couldn't come up with Bin Laden with a #25 million bounty. Publicly no one is going to say that the US can't afford that foolish talk any longer. The economy is the issue. People are suffering.

Biden, like a lot of Democrats, gave Bush a blank check for war. But Biden fought hard to get funding for the right armor and protection for the troops after they were sent to war inadequately protected. Biden’s son who is Delaware’s Attorney General will soon be deployed to Iraq. Unlike the warmongers who created this unnecessary war.

If you haven’t heard Biden’s personal video [ ] address to us, Obama’s supporters and donators, please take the time to hear him. He is joining us on Obama’s team. He ain’t taking over, he’s taking the second seat behind Obama.

I don’t remember which female politician said how refreshing it will be to see both candidates for President and Vice President who adore their wives and are sincerely affectionate and respectful towards them .

Biden’s appeal to the White blue collar voters will negate his “foot in the mouth” candid talk and mistakes if they occur. Biden and his wife Jill who runs and woman’s breast cancer and health initative will have more appeal to Clinton’s stubborn women voters than McCain and his stiff former addict rich wife Cindy who refuses to acknowledge that she’s not an only child (she has two half sisters).

Also Biden is the poorest senator and John McCain is the eighth richest senator. His maximum personal assets with less than $300,000 with a yearly 2006 salary of $165,000. Obama with two books is over ten times richer than Biden.

Biden’s family tragedy (first wife and daughter killed in auto accident – two young sons seriously injured) and his commitment to commute daily from Washington to his family in Delaware. His parents lived next door. His brother moves in to help care for his sons. His sister becomes a surrogate mother for his sons. Biden still teaches on weekends at a Technical College in Delaware.

Biden isn’t perfect. His baggage of the plagiarism and the savings and loan don’t care to the Bush savings and loan scandal and Cindy McCain’s scandal as well.

On a spreadsheet with pluses and minuses. Biden in solidly on the plus side.

The Angry Independent said...

Um, AI, should I, at this point, remind you of how you sorta rooted for Edwards -the safe White guy- and what trouble we'd be in right now if we had chosen Edwards?

I had a feeling you would go there :)

Yes... Edwards ended up being a horrible dissapointment. But at least he spoke up about poverty when he ran (and was the only one doing so on a consistent basis). He spoke on it when it wasn't popular....and didn't stop speaking about it as he got towards the end of his campaign, even though it was not helping his poll numbers. He stuck with it anyway.

Obama has been playing for the middle (and to a large degree... trying to please Republicans too)... compromising his Soul all the way to the White House.

I'd rather see someone in office with a fornication problem, and a scared Soul than someone with no Soul at all.... or a man who is willing to sell his Soul to the highest bidder.

Good people have problems with sex, addiction, fidelity, etc.
But there is no telling what a Soulless character might do.

At least you knew that Edwards would fight for something.

I think he lied to try to protect his family.... he has school aged children...

Not making excuses for him though. He's a jackass for what he did. And what he did was unforgiveable, especially considering his wifes condition.

Yes, the Democrats dodged a bullet... but their list of candidates was so bad that any one of them presented some sort of minefield.

The Democratic Party is just a piss poor Party.

Vilsack was an early choice for me... because of his energy policy... Then Edwards (after Vilsack left early)... then Richardson, then Dodd.... Obama was somewhere near the bottom w/ those who were not viable.

Yes I went for the safe white candidates, because I was so horrified at the prospect of 4 more years of Republican lunacy. I didn't think this was a time for experimentation. Too much is at stake.

But now that Obama is the nominee... I hope he wins. In fact, I wish I could support him wholeheartedly... but I can't.

I see Obama as the traditional lesser of two evils Democrat....and I see this election as the same old lesser of two evils election. I won't be cheerleading much for Obama.... but I damn sure will be slamming McSame every chance I get.

I'm on Obama's case right now, because he's taking center stage this week.....and he really needs to address these issues.