The Democratic ticket now has the balance that it has almost desperately needed and I want to thank whomever, whether Obama himself or his vetting committee for the choice he has made. I’ve always seen Obama as the dreamer, the visionary with youthful energy who can and has inspired us to reach for the higher goals. But those qualities, as admirable and desirable as they are, aren’t enough and, unfortunately he has come across as an elitist. I, personally, don’t believe that is the case, but for many it is and what they want is someone down to earth who can see and feel their own pain. I believe those people can more easily relate to Joe Biden.
Joe Biden isn’t perfect. He has a big mouth and he has said some really dumb things – and who of us hasn’t done that? But, as David Brooks of the New York Times said in his Op-Ed piece yesterday, “voters are smart enough to forgive the genuine flaws of genuine people. And over the long haul, Biden provides what Obama needs.”
Biden has working-class roots with a fierce working class-pride – no one is better than anyone else. He has maintained an unpretentious manner even after serving decades in the world’s most pompous workplace, according to Brooks. Obama has had trouble connecting with working-class voters, particularly Catholics – Joe Biden is Catholic and would be Obama’s bridge. And Biden is loyal, another thing all presidents need, not just Obama.
And, according to Brooks, Biden’s truly outstanding feature is that he’s direct and no matter who you are he will tell you exactly what he thinks and he will do it over and over and over. Presidents need someone who will be relentlessly direct. Obama, who attracts worshippers, not just staff members, needs that more than most.
New administrations sport a lot of the young and the arrogant and, as Brooks continues, they can benefit from the presence of those who have been through the worst and have a tinge of perspective. There will be those moments when a president goes into the cabinet room and announces a decision that nearly everyone else on his team disagrees with. That’s when he needs a vice president who will provide absolute support. That kind of loyalty comes easiest to people who have been down themselves and who had to rely on others in their own moment of need. Biden certainly has that quality to offer. He had a severe stutter as a child and was ridiculed by teachers and peers, he lost his wife, Neilia and daughter, Naomi in a car crash. And he nearly died of a brain aneurism.
While Obama’s vision is inspiring and romantic, McCain’s is more realistic to many. Obama needed someone with the kind of legislative knowledge who can bring the senate together.
Brooks could only hope that Obama was wise and self-aware enough to know what he really needed and apparently he is.