At first glance, Joe Biden seems everything that Barack Obama is not. In the first place, the presumptive Democratic candidate for the White House was but 12 years old when Delaware sent his ticket's number two to the U.S. Senate. He was sworn in early 1973.
Senator Obama chose a man comfortable slapping backs, engaging in small talk (even telling an off-color joke); moreover, he knows how Washington works: that's important for anyone who proposes changing the system.
The last politician I remember talking about reorganization of the national government was Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich. Something went very wrong to his Contract with American. Before tootling off to Georgia, or wherever, Mr. Gingrich managed to collect a GOP group of elevator operators and new beauticians. If he went much further, it escaped my attention. Mr. Obama must do much better. Mr. Biden is the man to tell him how or why.
It's a great mystery why the presidential poll standings are so close. Everybody understands this Washington is not desirable for the future. Republican John McCain buys into that. Of course, he's not above borrowing White House snippets now and then. The Iraqis told the senator and George W. Bush they want our troops out of their country. Mr. McCain talked about the possibility of keeping an American military presence "for a hundred years," if that's what it takes.
Of course, racism comes into play. If only five percent of voters don't see an African American at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, that has the potential of a 10 percent change in attitudes. If you don't like my figure, choose one of your own – and double that. I didn't see the survey, some opinion takers were nosing it around that Mr. McCain's popularity had jumped sharply; they said it had all to do with Russia stepping in to protect its allies lying within the Republic of Georgia.
Much of that was the media's fault: too many reporters, editorialists and commentators wanted to blame Vladimir Putin.
Joe Biden could wade in and set the record straight. He had all those years serving on the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, which he now chairs. Also to be noted: he was a longtime head of the Senate's Judiciary Committee. He has the experience in the District's halls of power.
Nobody really knows why the candidate-presumptive asked the Delaware senator along; it could be a bumpy ride. For two months there will be an all-out war waged by both sides. I read in the papers that Mr. Biden has a very sharp tongue, when needed. This race for the White House already has a tone that might need his talents, all his talents.
Readers may recall how I wanted New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for one slot or the other on the national Democratic ticket; well, there are plenty other jobs where his skills and experience could pay off.