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August 23, 2008

Five Things The Biden Pick Shows
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

1.  National security is now best understood as a litmus test or threshold issue for many voters; they may not decide based on it alone, but if you don't give off a sufficient aura of seriousness, you can't close the deal, especially if you are a progressive. 

2.  Taking the time to strategize about the links between national security and domestic policy/politics is, as Madeleine Albright used to say, not just the right thing to do but the smart thing.  Joe Biden built an entire primary campaign around being the national security guy -- and being the guy with the loudest, most heartfelt critique of Bush policies.  The attack-dog strategy, and a willingness to go a little farther than the next guy, wasn't necessarily what you'd expect from a card-carrying member of the national security establishment.  But it worked.  In my experience in Michigan and Iowa, that's what his fans remember him for.  Might he just be the reverse Scoop Jackson of the 21st century?

3.  Nice guys don't finish last, especially when, as Moira notes, they put good teams together to help them.  The two parts of the Biden legend I'll personally vouch for are the quality of the staff, since I know many and hired one; and the riding Amtrak home to the family ever night.  For a hard year in the 1980s my family thanked our lucky stars that Joe was keeping that Amtrak stop open for our dad, too, as he did the same commute.

4.  American lives do have second, third and fourth acts.  Sorry, F. Scott.

5.  The mid-atlantic region is the new epicenter of cool, or at the very least the bellwether of America right now.  You've got old middle class (industrial, union jobs) and new middle class (insurance, casinos, pharmaceuticals).  You've got old-line Catholic Reagan Democrats and brand-new Catholic Hispanic immigrants; you can drink a latte to wash down your hoagie, arugula and funnel cakes.  Then you will feel good, bloated and uneasy all at once.  That's my America.  If you don't believe me, check out my friend Lynne Raughley's Lives column in tomorrow's Times, about growing up in Atlantic City.  Coincidence?



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National security is not a current top consideration for Americans, according to a recent CBS News/New York Times Poll. The most important concern of Americans, by far, is domestic economic issues, outweighing national security (ex-Iraq) by more than six to one.
Poll results:
* The economy and jobs 40%
* Gas prices and energy policy 15%
* War in Iraq 15%
* Terrorism and national security 9%

Biden is a good poltician when it comes to attacking Republicans as John Nichols recent article in the nation makes clear, but he seems to lack a strategic vision for America's role in the world. For instance in 2002 he supported the invasion of Iraq and it was only afterwards that he criticized this military action. The same also applies to Russia, in which he seems to echo the same anti-Russian rhetoric as the John McCain campaign. Biden seems to go with the tide of popular opinion when it comes to foreign policy issues. If I was Obama, I would use him more as attack dog than a foreign policy advisor.


Is NSN or Democracy Arsenal doing anything special for the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver?

Obama's early opposition to the Iraq war sets him apart from establishment thinking on foreign policy and national security. But it seems to be the only thing that does, and the Biden choice is more evidence of that.

It may be that foreign policy was not a major reason for the choice. Other advantages have been suggested, such as Biden's effectiveness as an 'attack dog' and his appeal to blue collar voters.

A big 'hell yeah' to point #5, the mid-Atlantic east coast is the place to be!

I would like to agree especially with number one in terms of the Biden pick showing the Obama campaign's desire to have a VP with a strong back ground in foreign policy and national security. Though national security may have only been the top consideration for 9% of Americans as mentioned in Don Bacon's post, in a campaign where Obama has been attacked for his lack of experience especially in foreign policy and national defense a running mate with a strong background in both seems to be a logical choice

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Great information.Thanks for sharing it here.I think Biden was a choice politically, it might help get Barry elected. Barry's followers already drank the kool aid so they really don't care who he picked. But perhaps undecided folks might think Biden can settle the kid down.

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