Joe Biden, current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and past Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has officially been chosen as the presumptive Vice Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in 2008 as Barack Obama’s running mate. Joe Biden is known for many things. His foreign policy experience heads the list but it could be much longer. Joe Biden, however, has a talent that has gotten little attention and is critical to the success of an Obama administration.
One of the criticisms, mixed with supportive comments, already being published by Markos and others, much less the McCain camp, is that Biden is a long time Washington senator that contradicts Obama’s central message of ‘Change’. There are supportive major blogs as well. Jonathan Singer at MyDD has a very insightful article about another part of the Biden story that hasn’t been addressed deeply by the traditional media or the blogsphere. There is a deeply mixed set of views in the blogsphere including deep support.
Look more deeply at the subject of his experience, however, and that experience becomes a classic asset to the campaign.His six terms in the Senate give him the practical experience necessary to help Barrack Obama create the change so vital to his candidacy, his presidency and to the nation. Yet change in Washington is very difficult to achieve. (Here is the Wikipedia entry.)
Historically, If we look backwards to another time when change was in the air, it took a consummate politician with extensive Congressional experience to pass the Civil Rights Act, The Clean Water Act and much more. Remembered more for the failed war in Vietnam, LBJ was a complete success domestically in first few years of his presidency after being elected in 1964 in a landslide election.
How could someone pass a series of bills that were widely opposed when first brought to the floor? It was the Washington experience, a knowledge of the intricacies of the systems in the House and Senate as well as deep personal relationships in the House and Senate that could be converted to supporters. His vice president, Hubert Humphrey, had the same deep experience to complement LBJ’s political skills.
Having the knowledge of the very complicated rules and social structures of the House and Senate are critical for the passage of the Obama agenda.
Look backwards again to 2000 for another example. The deeply inexperienced Gov. George W. Bush picked the older Washington hand Dick Cheney knowing he needed help working with Congress. Cheney brought deeper knowledge on a number of topics and, like LBJ and Biden, a detailed knowledge of how to get legislation into law. [This is not a supportive comment of Cheney. He is a despicable man who became the shadow President and created a war that has caused thousands to be killed.]
Joe Biden has many other skills and assets that will be addressed later today and tomorrow. If anyone is upset at the choice remember that if you can’t pass the bills you can’t create change. While Barack Obama has some experience in the Senate it is minimal compared to Biden’s. Joe Biden perfectly complements Barack Obama’s campaign and it’s policies. Check back later today and tomorrow for more analysis on specific Biden strengths and skills.