Newsweek published an article about Joe Biden today. where Biden explains his emotional moment, his role in the Vice-Presidency, and other issues. I'd like to share some snipets as well as my thoughts. Here's the full article.
Also see Calexanderj's diary about the article.
I'll start by saying that Joe Biden is who I originally supported out of the primaries. Loved the guy. The thing I loved most about was his mouth. It's gotten him in a lot of trouble. But he's the type of guy who is able to speak the truth, and he isn't afraid to. Many politicians let their time in Washington curtail who they really are. Not Joe.
"The very thing people like best about me at home is that I don't have to pick every word and parse everything," he says the day after the debate, at a Wilmington, Dela., coffee shop. "And if I say something politically incorrect, they know my motive is good."
His tone is wistful as he explains how the new 24/7 coverage is draining all spontaneity from politics: "It's a shame. It requires you to withhold." So he doesn't, and proceeds to spill on subjects ranging from the demands he made before agreeing to go on the ticket, to his feelings about Barack Obama and John McCain, to a confession and Bidenesque rationalization of his own weaknesses
Biden describes his emotional moment in vivid terms.
About that catch in his throat: in the moment, he "could picture Beau in the bed" after the 1972 car accident that killed Biden's first wife, Neilia, and their baby girl and critically injured his young sons. Now Beau, the 39-year-old attorney general of Delaware, was off to war, a judge advocate general traveling to obscure regions of Iraq, where the road isn't exactly the safest place to be. The memory of being a single parent mixed with worries about Beau to create "a lot of bundled emotions. It surprised me. I was hoping nobody noticed." Only 70 million or so did.
He's a very emotional guy, so when this happened, there were no doubters that the moment was sincere. I thought Hillary's moment was sincere, but since the conventional wisdom was that she was a Fem-bot (with machine gun jumblies*!) made some people incredulous. I thought it was unfair.
Here's some of Obama and Biden's conversation about the VP role (much better than Sarah McCheney)
"Will this job be too small for you?" Obama asked, with a deft appreciation of the art of flattery.
"I said no, as long as I would really be a confidant. I told him, 'The good news is, I'm 65 and you're not going to have to worry about my positioning myself to be president. The bad news is, I want to be part of the deal'."
Biden, who had stayed neutral in the Democratic primaries after dropping out in January, told Obama that he was "ready to be second fiddle" and sought no specific portfolio—but only if he got a guaranteed hourlong, one-on-one session with the president every week (like Al Gore's lunches with Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush's with Ronald Reagan) and a presence at all important meetings. Obama said yes, that he wanted him for his judgment and for his help in enacting a big legislative agenda. And so the job was defined: "My role will be to say, 'Boss, here's the way I'd go about it'."
See, Palin? A part of the executive branch. Not some ephemeral entity floating around between undisclosed locations and secret meeting with oil company CEOs. That's the way the VP should be, IMO. And with Biden's experience, he'll do a great job of it.
I've been thinking about it, and really, Palin and Biden are pretty much exact opposites.
-Biden wants to turn away from Cheney's role of the VP. No more undisclosed locations. No more "not part of the Executive branch" nonsense. Palin, on the other hand, thinks Cheney didn't do enough. She wants even MORE power!
-Biden is experienced. Say what you want about her folksy attitude, Biden knows what's up. He was elected to the Senate when he was 29 years old. The legal age of a Senator is 30. I mean, the guy is a savant, for chrissakes.
-Biden is sincere. Sometimes he's too sincere and can get in trouble for it. Palin, on the other hand, only says stupid shit when somebody asks her about policy. Everything about her is conntrived. I think it's fitting that she was a beauty queen because that's all this really is, a pageant where she puts on this facade and does a talent show, but all of it is staged. Unfortunately for the McCain campaign, Palin has turned into less Ms. America and more Ms. South Carolina... "Give the Iraqis maps!"
On a side note, did it bother anyone else that Palin could not pronounce Iraq (she says eye-rack rather than "err-ack") or nuclear (newkuhlar rather than, well, just the way it looks: nuclear!)? I know that this is part of the McCain campaign's quest to make her look every-dayish. I'm sure they could have taught her, in her 2-week cram sesh, how to pronounce these. But like Bush, they made a decision that she'd be more relatable if she couldn't. I think Americans are tired of that contrived nonsense.
I'm going to stop offering parts of it, just to be fair to the article, and so you'l go and read it, 'cause it really is all gold. It's a great article. Go read it!
*Corrections: The proper term is "Machine gun jumblies". Apologies to Austin Powers, NMDad, yg17, and all freedom-loving people around the world.
Gratuitous rec list comment: I'd like to thank the academy, Joe Biden, my mom, your mom, and all the moms out there that made this moment possible. This is my second time on the rec list. Maybe one day some original material of mine will show up!
Update: I feel like a louse for forgetting to mention this, but of course we all wish the best to the Biden family while they deal with some tough times right now.