I guess I just don't find Sarah Palin's story all that compelling. So she's a "hockey mom", somehow got elected governor of Alaska after minimal political experience, and is an effective and articulate speaker.
Oh, and she chose to have the baby even though the kid was diagnosed as having Down's syndrome. And she is a gun nut, radical Christian, anti-abortion, etc. And has a "picture book family"--well, sort of.
I couldn't stand to watch CNN's story about Palin Saturday night, but the one on Biden reminded me of a lot of things about him that I had forgotten, even if I saw some of it from the Democratic convention not too long ago. This is one TOUGH guy who has been through a lot of stuff that most people never experience. And like Barack, he was not born on third base. (I forget who remarked recently that George H.W. Bush was born on third base and thought he had hit a triple; George W. Bush was born on third base and then he stole second.)
I had doubts about Biden when he was being touted as the best pick for Obama's VP. I kept thinking about the plagiarism business from 1987, and though I read Richard Ben Cramer's WHAT IT TAKES, one of the best books ever written about politics, I just did not recall very much about Biden. I worried about his sometimes pompous style and grandstanding. Maybe I got that from Cramer's book. (Cramer issued the parts about Bob Dole as a separate tome in 1995; he should maybe rush out the Biden stuff now, if we can get people interested in Biden.)
The CNN story on Biden included excerpts from his book, and I am wondering if, like Barack, this is another politician who actually wrote his book. (I doubt if George W. Bush could write a 1000 word essay on anything.) When reading excerpts about how he was renewed by his love for Jill, whom he dated for two years, after losing his first wife and young daughter in a car accident just weeks after being elected to the Senate, Biden teared up and was sincere and moving. I'd never seen him like this. I'd like to see this on YouTube and in the campaign; it's way better in its appeal to women than anything Palin offers. It's way better than Al Gore's prolonged--and seemingly programmed--kiss with Tipper at the 2000 convention.
And talk about "family values"! After his first wife died, he considered not taking his Senate seat, so as to devote his time to his two severely injured young sons. He was urged to go forward as a Senator, but determined to commute to D.C., as he still does. This is a regular guy who worked his way up, just like Obama did.
Then there was Biden's bout with a brain aneurism. He had two difficult surgeries, facing uncertainty whether he would live or die.
Oh, and then there is his experience. Two of the most intense judicial appointments ever--Bork and Thomas, when Biden was the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Biden knows his stuff; the Bork business was pretty seriously substantive; the Thomas less so. And Foreign Relations.
Though he was wrong on the Iraq war, I think Biden is the kind of guy who, together with Obama, will get us out of Afghanistan, which I think is potentially an even bigger blunder than Iraq. (The effort should have been and should be limited to taking out Al Qaeda operatives, not taking on the task of "nation building" with the implicit assumption that the nation to be built must be a U.S. client/puppet regime.)
Finally, as I have remarked in some comments recently, Biden was knocked out of the 1988 primaries by allegations of plagiarism that are trivial compared to the lies, exaggerations, and lies, and lies about and by Palin and McCain. To reiterate, Biden used a litany in his 1987 stump speech about how he was the first person in his family to get a college degree, basically complaining about lack of opportunity in our society. He attributed the lines to Neil Kinnock, a British Labor party leader, most of the time. Then, ONE time, in a speech in Iowa, he neglected to mention Kinnock. The press, including "liberals" like Maureen Dowd and E.J.Dionne were all over that "story" and some other minor boo-boos comparable to Gore's in 2000. (Gore was mistaken about the FEMA official with whom he surveyed flood damage, and he made a few other minor mistakes that the Bush campaign and a compliant press conflated into a "Serial Liar" charge.)
Too bad. After we lost Gary Hart to a stupid sex "scandal"--it wasn't even the proverbial career-ending "dead girl or live boy"--Biden might have been a really good candidate in '88. He would have known how to handle the kind of stupid question that Dukakis got from Bernard Shaw.
And he probably could have better handled that equally stupid question that Kerry got about homosexuality in 2004.
Timing is everything. I wish Biden had been Gore's running mate in 2000, and he certainly would have been better than Edwards in 2004. But better late than never.
So I say, "Here's to Joe Biden!" And let's see some ads about him; there's no need to compare Palin. The implication will be obvious.