Last night, I went to a DNC fundraiser featuring our titular politician, so I'm bringing you the full report. I'm happy to return with some positive news: Joe Biden is doing a great job as Vice President of the United States.
Exactly 23 months ago today Joe Biden was announced as the veep nominee. On Kos, I made this prediction in a diary:
Joe Biden will be able to help Barack Obama reunite our countrymen and our allies around a sober, responsible, but courageous foreign policy. I believe President Obama and Vice President Biden will build the political capital needed to pass progressive domestic reforms at home while growing our economy by exporting green technologies... I believe that they can win North Carolina and I'll be able to cast a vote for them as a Presidential Elector.
Turns out I was right on all three counts.
First, the foreign policy. Though the diplomatic spotlight has shone on Secretary Clinton as of late, this great article by Steve Clemons elucidates Biden's role in the Obama Administration:
Joe Biden .... all jokes aside about his gaffes and loquaciousness is the person on Obama's team who has surpassed expectations far more than any other Cabinet Member.
Joe "Bite Me" Biden, as some in General Stanley McChrystal's Afghanistan command team referred to him, has emerged as a consequential player in many of Obama's toughest portfolios -- not because Biden has stuck his nose in the game but because Obama wants Biden's decades-forged, informed takes on America's strategic choices given the constraints that face US power today. The military's disrespect of Biden is actually evidence of the fact that he is pushing them in ways that few others are; it's a sign of Biden's power.
Joe is a tremendous resource at home and abroad. Though he may lack the star-power of others in the administration, he is held in high esteem by diplomats abroad. I may be looking at this with glasses far to rosy, but to me the occasional VP gaffe simply serves to strengthen VP Biden's ownership of the truth. Not to mention "BFD" ended up being a net-positive. But I digress.
Even when I was a lowly Senate Foreign Relations Committee intern in the minority office, I saw something special in Joe. The man engenders the sort of respect that is vital in diplomacy, and his candor (though sometimes excessive) makes him an honest broker. The few times I had the pleasure of seeing then-Senator Biden work with other foreign leaders, their admiration was palpable and Biden's skill was evident; so it's no surprise that Joe is handling the heavy lifting in Iraq.
The second part of that prediction had to do with passing domestic reforms, growing the economy, and creating green jobs. Our Vice President brought word of how a North Carolina LED company called Cree is expanding the American share of the LED market abroad, creating well-paying jobs in North Carolina, and helping create a green economy (more details about Biden's visit here). Cree's leaders told President Biden that they wouldn't have been able to grow and expand without the policies that the Obama Administration passed. This is true of companies around the country, and it's more than a talking point to show during election season - it's evidence that the administration is getting the job done.
Biden spoke with a fiery conviction last night. He's got a new speech to rev up the troops, and it went over great. Vice President Biden cast the GOP as the party of "repeal and repeat" - repealing the reforms that are helping America recover, and repeating the mistakes of the Bush Administration. He was not afraid to say over and over again that while he doesn't think the Republicans are bad people, their policies are going to destroy our country. That they want to win the election even if it means seeing America fail. I was elated to see that he was unequivocal on this point.
This is certainly true in North Carolina, where Biden said there is a clear choice "between a woman who knows what driving forward means and somebody who clearly is continuing to drive backwards." That wasn't the only love the Vice President showed to North Carolina's own Elaine Marshall. It looks like the national party isn't going to leave her out to dry, and it was great to hear that the Veep had an additional fundraiser for her that night. Elaine will be a plainspoken, powerful progressive in the US Senate, so go here and help her beat Richard Burr.
In summary, I hope Joe takes this show on the road ... not just the fundraisers he's been doing recently, but to towns across America where they know - like him or hate him - that if Joe Biden's in town they're going to hear the truth. He's great on the attack, and when he's not engrossed in international affairs he's a real asset on the campaign trail.
As to the third part of that prediction ...
when I had the honor of nominating Joe to be our 47th Vice President at the meeting of North Carolina's Electoral College, I said that the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was a message to the people of the world that when they want to look for hope, they can look to America’s example; and when they want to look for change, they can follow in our footsteps. Joe is helping to make these words ring true.
Look, Joe's not perfect. But as he said last night, "don't compare me to the Almighty; compare me to the alternative." Biden effortlessly made the case that the Obama Administration kept our country from falling off the cliff, and though everyone on Kos knows that the Obama Administration has created more jobs than all 8 years of the Bush Administration, talking points like that are going to come across loud and clear when voters start tuning in before the election. Joe gives me faith in our party, and I believe him when he says "the reports of our demise are premature."
The alternative's got nothing on Joe ... and Joe Biden makes me proud to be an American.