And then there was one. I crawled out on a very wispy limb yesterday to the ears of 150,000 drivetime listeners when I went on Portland’s Air America affiliate, KPOJ 620 AM, and declared that I was going back on my 10:00 PM lock from Thursday night that Joe Biden was going to be Obama’s pick for Vice President. Then I woke up to…nothing. I had a vision in the shower that Saturday in Springfield was a smokescreen, and that on Sunday he was going to announce Hillary, and set Denver on its ear.
Senator Obama has been playing this whole symphony elegantly. He has left the media with a crippling case of blue balls for the last week. The thought that he would pull a relatively-unvetted Hillary card out of his ass didn’t seem that improbable. Picking Hillary would have set Denver on fire. The PUMAs wouldn’t know what to do with their petulant pouting.
It was a bold prediction, and it didn’t happen. That said, I’m not at all disappointed. Obama-Biden is the most exciting ticket in memory, and for once, it’s a VP pick that is generating excitement for all the right reasons.
Make no mistake, this man will make mistakes, and he will embarrass this ticket as much as the grandfather that he is, but he’s no John McCain. John McCain is a once-great senator and now desperate old man who will reach out for the Presidency no matter the cost to his dignity or reputation. Joe Biden’s senior moments are the product of a man who has all his faculties and is old enough and has been in public life long enough that he doesn’t care what the people who hear him think of his pugnacious and snotty retorts. He is a party man in the grandest Tip O’Neill/Lyndon B. Johnson fashion. No one can ever top LBJ, but if Joe Biden thinks you’re being vicious, disengenuous, or an outright fraud, rest assured he’ll let you know. He’s lived six and a half decades on this planet, and he doesn’t care who takes umbrage as his frequent mouth-offs and he won’t answer a damned single question about his 1990s hair resurgence after two decades of progressive balding.
I will always have massive props for the 1992 Clinton-Gore ticket, which was the right pair at the right time, paired against the patrician dinosaur, George H.W. Bush, and his vapid, malapropping understudy waging a one-man war against English grammar and sentence structure. But this is the funnest ticket I can cite from any time, back to Adlai Ewing Stevenson working the hustings for Grover Cleveland’s second, non-consecutive term. Not to overlook the charm, charisma, and rapier wit of Dick Cheney, of course.
INTERRUPTION: Oh, there you are. I just got my text message, at 1:59 AM, from the Obama campaign, announcing his selection of Senator Biden–four hours after the news broke on CNN. A nation of baristas in their hemp shirts are collectively wondering, “Can I get my ten bucks back?” and “I can’t remember–was it ‘nader.org’?” To which a harried Obama team replies, “Please accept our apologies and the 58 donation requests you will receive from our campaign in the next two days, but we appreciate your providing your email address and cell phone number. As a gesture of good faith, we promise we will notify you by text message when President-elect Obama chooses his director of Office of Management and Budget.”
If it’s any consolation, John McCain’s supporters will be receiving their notification of their candidate’s nominee by direct-mail postcard.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO CHUCK TODD: If you got less than a C- in college algebra, you’d best skip the voter analysis from MSNBC’s Chuck Todd and switch over to Lifetime instead. “Well, the Biden pick is a huge boon for Obama in Pennsylvania, if you consider the six square blocks in Harrisburg that turned Montgomery County for George Bush in 2004. You wouldn’t think that would be the case, but Durlene Tucker’s son was recently wounded in Fallujah, and her daughter is a City Council member who is thinking of running for mayor. It might not be apparent if you look at the electoral map, but this is a huge bellwether. Huge. Seriously.”