Biden?

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August 18, 2008 12:44 p.m.

I just noticed that CNN is saying that Biden’s the big buzz for VP down in DC political circles today. So I’m trying to process what I think of Biden as a potential pick.

On the one hand, it’s not the most exciting choice. He doesn’t bring a state. Delaware’s going to go Democratic. And it’s barely a state at that. And I’m not sure you’d rate it as a first: “history is made — first sixty-something white senator with deep foreign policy experience chosen to be vp nominee!” Biden clearly thinks well of himself and likes to talk. But he’s been a US Senator for pretty much his entire adult life. (He’s 65 today and was elected at 30.) So I’m not sure you can expect anything different. Finally, Biden also occasionally says something really whacked, which we’ll probably find out more of if he’s the pick.

On the other hand, wholly separate from the cosmetics and electioneering calculus, I think he’d be a good choice. On substance, maybe a really good choice. Most senators grasp of foreign policy is fairly thin — and it tends to be heavily influenced by whatever lobbyists or power players are in their orbit. But Biden has a pretty deep knowledge of pretty much every big foreign policy question. And his ideas and judgment strike me as fundamentally sane.

Back in 2004, when I was writing a piece for The Atlantic about John Kerry, I did long interview with Biden in his office on Capitol Hill. And I remember coming away thinking, this is the guy you’d want to have making big decisions on the key foreign policy questions. To the extent that we think Obama needs someone with deep foreign policy knowledge in a constitutional office (i.e., non-fireable) to add ballast to his foreign policy vision I’m not sure I could think of a much better person.

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