10 June 2008

Why is no one talking about Biden?

With all the talk about potential Vice Presidents I have noticed one name has been conspicuously absent from the prospective pool of candidates.

Senator Joe Biden, who ended his own Presidential campaign following the Iowa caucus, ran a reasonably strong campaign and was lauded as being clear, concise and compelling in the debates. His grasp of foreign policy issues and understanding of the complexities in Iraq marked him out as a man of genuine experience.

With one of Obama’s weak spots being his relative lack of foreign policy experience, Joe Biden would appear to be an ideal candidate to balance his ticket. He is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a Senator since 1973 and has been able to frame opposition to a continued US presence in Iraq in eloquent and powerful rhetoric.

With John McCain likely to contrast his own foreign policy experience with that of the first term Illinois Senator, Barack Obama will need to find a way to safeguard himself from the allegation of being unable to defend the nation in a time of war – a Republican smear tactic that has befuddled Democratic candidates since Vietnam.

Of course the Senator does have negatives.

For one, his 1988 Presidential Campaign ended humiliatingly when he was forced to drop out after ‘plagiarising’ a speech by former British Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock.

What’s more, having camped out in Iowa for the best part of a year, Biden was never able to break into the top tier of candidates – or even manage to surpass Governor Bill Richardson in the second division of candidates.

Additionally, he doesn’t bring geography or a demographic to the ticket. Delaware is not a key state in the November election and unlike Bill Richardson - who would help with the Hispanic voter, Hillary Clinton - who has endeared herself to older women, and John Edward’s - whose anti-poverty agenda and humble origins make him a blue collar pin up, Biden isn’t a poster boy of any swing constituency.

Perhaps, rather than the Vice Presidency, we can expect to hear his name used abundantly in discussions about potential Obama cabinet members. He would seem an ideal candidate for secretary of State or Secretary of Defence – although he may face stiff competition from Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who has made little secret of his admiration for Barack Obama.

And if President Obama controls both Houses of Congress he would be reluctant to begin pillaging the Senate of Democratic members to fill his Cabinet – especially if control of either house is delicately balanced.

But he is certainly one worth thinking about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't fully agree with this view, he is way down the list of obvious people to take the position.