Ken Balckwell has an interesting piece on Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden and what he brings to the Democratic ticket. Biden helps Obama in a couple of ways, primarily in that he brings a wealth of foreign policy experience, having served as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also has a relatively good relationship with the Clintons, which certainly doesn't hurt but may not be enough to influence Clinton supporters still angry over the primary duel.
On the other hand, Biden doesn't help swing any states in favor of Obama, and it must be noted that Biden's own run left the base decidely unexcited, and went nowhere with Democratic voters, dropping out after Iowa. Blackwell notes that Obama's weakness on foreign policy issues extends to national security issues, where Biden is not exactly an expert, although he may help to a limited degree.
However, Biden may actually hurt Obama in two other areas, one being that Biden really doesn't bring any ideological balance to the ticket. Both men are extreme liberals, and the choice of Biden ia a curious one when Obama's perceived weakness is convincing moderate voters that he shares their values. Both men are anti-gun, pro-abortion, and support higher tax rates and increased Federal spending. Biden alos has no executive experience, something distinctly lacking from Obama as well.
While Biden is known as a tough campaigner and is generally well liked by Senate colleagues, he has been known to shoot off his mouth on occaison, and has a history of "borrowing" words from other political figures, such as Robert Kennedy. The selection is also curious given Senator Obama is running as a transformational figure, so selecting a old-haqnd Senate insider cuts across one of the central themes of his entire campaign.
Blackwell has a pretty good summation of the pick:
"Mr. Biden was not the best choice for Mr. Obama. Sure, Messrs. Bayh and Kaine certainly had problems of their own. But if he wanted someone with broad-spectrum national security/foreign policy credentials who could reach traditional voters, he could have asked Sam Nunn of Georgia. If he wanted executive experience and appeal to new constituencies while still getting foreign policy expertise, he could have asked Bill Richardson. And if he wanted to heal his party, he could have asked Hillary Clinton."
I have to agree, my thought was that Obama would have been wise to select Evan Bayh or possibly Sam Nunn, both of whom bring a lot more to the table, at least in my opinion, particularly if you are trying to switch a red state to blue. To my thinking, Biden isn't a very inspired choice, but I guess Obama could have done worse.