A few weeks ago, with Pennsylvania Primary Fever, I suggested that Barack Obama choose Ed Rendell as his running mate. My logic was that Obama should choose someone from the Hillary camp to bring the warring factions together. I like Ed Rendell; but the fighting between the Obama and Clinton camps is already drawing to an end, and the party is quickly uniting behind Senator Obama.
Some thought the reconciliation would not occur until the Democratic Convention, at the earliest. But the party leaders and many supporters of Senator Clinton's are already racing toward the Obama camp, and there appears to be no need for a dramatic move by Obama to unite his team with the Clinton folks.
Senator Obama will have a united party behind him, regardless of whether he chooses one of his Hillary's supporters. So, whom then should he choose as his running mate? Does he go with geography (Dukakis chose Bentsen hoping to win Texas), does he add to the "Change" message (Clinton picked Gore to contrast their youth and newness with George H.W. Bush), or does he pick the person who would best help him navigate Congress and the world stage, in order to help him accomplish his enormous goals?
Let me give away my choice right now: Obama should choose Joe Biden as his running mate. I say this not because I was Senator Biden's speechwriter, but because Senator Biden would be the best vice president for a President Obama.
He's accomplished: If the party's nominee was chosen on the basis of resume, Joe Biden would have been promoted to the presidency. His long career is filled with indelible achievements. He dragged the Senate into the modern era with his landmark Violence Against Women Act; he led the charge to stop genocide in Bosnia; he made our country safer with his program that put 100,000 more cops on the beat.
He's well-rounded: He has led the Senate Committees on the Judiciary and Foreign Relations.
He's no-nonsense. He calls bullshit when it's bullshit, as he did last week when the president made his ill-advised and poorly received remarks in Israel. He is unafraid; this is a man who suffered two brain aneurysms and suffered the unspeakable tragedy of his wife and child's death in a car accident.
He is a man of the people: Senator Biden is not wealthy, never has been. He is a working man. He takes the train to work every morning, and then he takes it home again every night. He relates to the people because he's one of them, and when you watch him campaign, you can see that the people relate to him. His wife, Jill, is a teacher. He has an extremely close-knit family.
He understands the world we live in today: he knows Iraq as well as, if not better, than any political figure in the United States. He's traveled there several times. He has a plan for victory and a plan to bring out troops home safely.
His first priority is our veterans: You will never -- never -- see our returning troops treated as miserably as they have been under Bush-Cheney if Biden is VP. I believe he'd personally clean up Walter Reed if he had to, and he'd relish the opportunity to expand the GI Bill so that our veterans can get a college education.
He is probably the second best speaker in the Senate: second to Senator Obama. Between the two of these guys, we'd be a long way from the oratorical horrors of the Bush-Cheney years.
Now, you may look at this and say, that's all well and good, but Joe Biden -- can he help Obama win?
I'm glad you asked, because the answer is a resounding "yes." Biden would be a huge asset with the white working class voter, a vote which went overwhelmingly Republican in 2004. He is also an outstanding debater, as evidenced by the Democratic Party primary debates. Remember his line about Rudy Giuliani -- "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence. A noun, a verb, and 9/11." He would shred the Republican VP choice. His experience will go a long way toward making people comfortable with Senator Obama's youth.
There are excellent candidates for Senator Obama to consider for VP. I've seen articles and watched TV personalities talk about Jim Webb, Ted Strickland, Wesley Clark, Chuck Hagel, Mike Bloomberg, Bill Richardson and Kathleen Sebalius. There are pluses and minuses to all of them.
But if Senator Obama wants to pick the best person to help him get his agenda through the Congress; if he wants to pick the person who is not afraid to take on the Republican attack machine; if he wants to pick the person who has the background that shows he can do the job, then he should pick Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.