I'm watching the Sunday morning news shows, and Rudy Guiliani is spouting the Republican party line about how, since Hillary Clinton got nearly as many votes as Barack Obama, he was a fool to pick anyone else as a running-mate. And of course, the McCain campaign quickly launched an ad showing Joe Biden saying in a primary debate that Obama may someday be ready to be president, but that day hasn't yet come.
It's true that 36 million people voted in roughly equal numbers for Clinton or Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries and caucuses. There's good evidence that in some states, Rush Limbaugh encouraged his lemmings to vote for Sen. Clinton to push her forward as the nominee the GOP would most like to oppose. But even considering that most of Sen. Clinton's support was genuine, more than 122 million people voted in the 2004 general election. Barack Obama was right to choose someone whose spouse was not impeached, someone who has not been vilified by reactionary Republicans, someone whose compelling personal story demonstrates strong family values, and someone who - despite 35 years in the Senate - has commuted home most nights to Delaware.
As for the "not ready" meme, Americans are smart enough to know that the primary candidate Biden needed to contrast his experience with that of his much more junior colleague. Of course Obama knew what Biden had said, and he has the self confidence to know it was "just politics." Now, Biden could - and should - put this non-issue to rest this week at the convention. He got a good start in his speech Saturday as he recounted watching the way Obama came to the Senate and immediately started reaching across the aisle to solve some of the country's toughest problems: securing loose nuclear materials, ethics reform, and deplorable conditions at Walter Reed. In his prime time speech this week, and perhaps even in a TV ad, Biden needs to underscore Obama's readiness with words similar to what he said yesterday: that these times require more than a good soldier ... they require a wise leader, "a clear-eyed pragmatist who will get the job done."
Senator Biden did a good job yesterday saying that while he is a longtime friend of John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee has supported George W. Bush 95 percent of the time and would perpetuate the failed policies of the last eight years. He made the case that Barack Obama is the best person to move Washington out of its partisan gridlock. It was a good start for what I believe will be a good ticket. Let's see some home runs hit over the Rockies this week.
Update: Bethine Church, earlier a strong Hillary Clinton supporter, likes the Biden pick. This is especially noteworthy since Bethine was the person who spoke on Clinton's behalf at the Ada County presidential caucus in February. From the Statesman story: "I think they're going to make an absolutely superb ticket. And when elected, they have so many problems to iron out. But I think they'll work together to do it. I think it's going to take all of Joe's expertise, and Obama's youth to do it. They're both really brilliant."