It has been reported by CNN and MSNBC that Barack Obama’s running mate will be Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. The choice is not a surprise as momentum had been building towards a Biden selection for the past two weeks.
Biden is the sixth longest serving member of the United States Senate, and is currently the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also was a candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination, but Biden dropped out of the race after a poor performance in the Iowa caucuses. Biden serves on several other committees in the Senate including the Judiciary Committee. He has crafted several crime bills while on this committee including the famous Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 a.k.a. the Biden Crime Law.
He brings a serious policy presence to the ticket with Obama, as not many members of Congress are as well versed in policy making as Joe Biden. The senator is also a blue collar Catholic who will likely help ease concerns with voters about Obama’s inexperience. Biden has a compelling personal story as he lost his first wife and infant daughter to an auto accident just after he was elected to the Senate in 1972.
Biden is one of the few members of the Senate who is not personally wealthy. He brings toughness and debating skill to a ticket that critics have called soft and vague. Biden is not without skeletons though. His national political career was derailed twenty years ago when he was accused of plagiarizing a speech by then British Labor Party Leader Neil Kinnock.
All in all, Biden is a very safe choice. He won’t help Obama tip a red state into his column like a Bayh or Kaine would have, but he addresses two of the campaign’s weakest areas, foreign policy and experience. He certainly won’t cost Obama any votes, and he is a nationally known name, who can lend a steady policy hand to a presidential candidate who seems to think most in big conceptual terms. Biden will not generate enthusiasm, but Democrats already have plenty of that anyway. However, this is a choice that most Democrats will be happy with.