Ezra explains the Biden pick better’n anyone else.
For progressives, this is encouraging pick. More encouraging than
Bayh, or Kaine, or even, in a way, Sebelius. More encouraging than
picks who might have been more progressive, but less pugnacious.
Elevating Biden suggests that the Obama campaign has decided to have an
argument. Not try to win on momentum and inspiration and GOTV, but to
engage, and win, an argument about which set of ideas is better for the
future of the country. And in Biden, they’ve engaged at the point of
greatest vulnerability and opportunity for Democrats: National security.
A political history of the past few years in Democratic politics is
a history of the party’s failed attempts to dance away from foreign
policy discussions. There was the Thomas Frank school of thought: Pivot
from "national security to economic insecurity." There was the George
Lakoff approach: Reframe the language. There was the Kerry approach:
"How can they be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in
Boise?" But even if these approaches had succeeded — they didn’t —
they would still have bespoke long-term weakness in the Democratic
Party: A fundamental inability to win arguments about American foreign
A Democrat has not been elected during wartime in over 50 years. A
healthy party cannot only prosper when the world is at peace and the
waters are quiet. But seven years of Republican incompetence and
failure have generated tremendous mistrust in the conservative foreign
policy approach. Iraq was a historic blunder, Osama bin Laden is loose,
America’s international standing is dismal. There’s an opening for
Democrats to press the advantage, argue that they, in fact, have the
better record, and the sounder ideas, on national security. But they
have to actually engage the argument. They can’t hope that events will
do the work for them. Picking Biden, the Obama campaign signaled that
this is a project they want to take on, and a project they realize will
have to be engaged affirmatively and aggressively. The fact of Obama,
the fact of Iraq, it’s not enough. You need to actually win the
Now we’ll see if Biden is up to the challenge. Go Joe!
[pic from democraticflickr]