DonAithnen (donaithnen) wrote,
DonAithnen
donaithnen

Politics stuff

So i was a little disappointed when i first heard that Biden was the VP pick. I was thinking it would be kind of cool if either Sebelius or Napolitano had been chosen. In part because it just would have been cool, but admittedly in part also because it might have mollified some of the PUMA people. (On the other hand some people have argued that the PUMAs would have claimed that choosing a woman other than Clinton would be a slap in her face.)

However looking at both his personal and professional life now i can really see why they went with him.

There were comments from multiple sources about how he needed someone with experience to balance the ticket out, but needed to be careful about picking a DC insider and damaging his message of "change." Well Biden has a ton of experience, he's been a senator for 35 years, was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee for 8 years ('87-'95) and perhaps most importantly has been the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (on and off) for a total of three years ('01-'03, '07-now.)

This definitely covers some of Obama's weaknesses. So what about the DC insider bit? It certainly seems to describe Biden at first glance. However, as has already been brought up frequently in the campaign coverage, his first wife and one daughter were killed in a car accident shortly before his inauguration for his first term as senator. Now i certainly don't think personal tragedy qualifies one for office (take note McCain) but his response was pretty amazing. He initially wanted to resign to take care of his surviving family, but was persuaded to stay in office for the sake of the party. So instead he started commuting from his home in Delaware to DC, every day, an hour and a half each way. I know that Senators get a lot more time off than the rest of us, but that's still pretty damn hardcore! Furthermore, his personal net worth is currently pegged at about $300,000. Someone joked (at least i sure hope it was a joke) that if he's been a senator for three decades and only has 300k to show for it that he clearly doesn't know how to play the game. I'd like to think that his ability to climb the political ranks inside the Senate shows that he knows how to play the game, he just doesn't choose to do so for personal gain. This is going to play well to McCain's $100+ million and who knows how many houses.

Additionally one of his sons (who introduced him at the convention) is in the Army Reserve and is about to be shipped off to Iraq, about a month before the election. That's going to suck for him of course, but make it rather hard for anyone to accuse his dad (and by extension, the democratic ticket) of not being patriotic enough.

On the downside (there's always a downside) Biden was for the Iraq war pretty much from the beginning, and will probably get hammered for that by the Republicans.

There's also the issue of his plagiarism, which has been blown rather out of proportion. In the case of using bits from Kinnock's speech during his 1988 presidential bid, there's a fair bit of evidence that he'd used the same phrases multiple times before the incident when he was being recorded, and on most of those other occasions he did credit Kinnock. So although the charge may be technically correct, it seems a little unfair for them to have sat around waiting for him to slip up and jumping on him then. And it's not like politicians don't crib from each other all the time. A lot of people would be surprised at the number of famous bits of speeches that didn't originate with the person who popularized them.

As for the incident in college, the paper he "copied" was actually included as a citation. He claimed that it was an innocent mistake because he didn't understand the proper rules for citation, which seems a rather egregious gap in his education at that point, but on the other hand i think most people actually attempting to plagiarize include any references to the source material at all. Barring further evidence coming to light i think i'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

So anyone else have any tidbits of info on Biden, either good or bad, that i haven't picked up on yet?

As for McCain's VP pick, i can't decide if i'd rather have him go with Lieberman or Romney. With Romney you've got a $100+ millionaire and a $200+ millionaire together, which will be easy to take advantage of. Apparently Romney also had lots of negative stuff to say about McCain during the primary, but at best that will only balance out the video clips of Clinton saying negative stuff about Obama. There's also claims that he sucked as a governor, although i think it's mostly democrats who've been saying that and i haven't have the chance to check the claims myself to see how biased they are.

Lieberman on the other hand... well, he _might_ draw away some of the PUMA voters, but he'd sure as hell piss off a lot of McCain's base. And personally i was never particularly fond of him to begin with because of his stance on video games in general and his his support of things like the Family Entertainment Protection Act and the Communication Decency Act in particular, and that was before his pseudo-split with the democratic party. If he were to fully go over to the other side it would provide a (mostly imaginary) retro-justification for my previous dislike of him. The same way i used to feel a little guilty for thinking John Edwards seemed kind of skeevy to me when a lot of my friends were big supporters of his. Being proven "right" about my feelings later doesn't mean that those feelings were based on anything reasonable at the time, but i can at least pretend :)

As for Pawlenty, i know almost nothing about him. I guess i'll be kind of upset if McCain picks him unless there's some huge scandal or opportunity lurking there that i don't know about yet.
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