WASHINGTON - Call it the Biden Buzz. Part of the noise comes from the reporters swarming around Sen. Joe Biden. Yet all the speculation about the Delaware lawmaker as a leading candidate for vice-presidential running mate may be saying a lot about what Barack Obama's campaign lacks.
Biden is staying uncharacteristically quiet in the face of growing attention as Obama nears a decision on his running mate. Dressed in a suit and sunglasses, Biden left his home by car Thursday morning in Wilmington, Del., with only a casual wave to the news media.
Obama is keeping quiet, too, but his staff in Chicago and party activists see Biden as addressing two of Obama's biggest weaknesses — his lack of experience, especially on world affairs, and his reluctance to attack his opponent.
Obama plans to appear with his newly selected running mate Saturday, with the pick announced via text message to supporters. Obama also is believed to be considering Govs. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.
But Biden is at the center of much speculation now. Biden, 65, first was elected to represent Delaware in 1972. Obama was 11 at the time; half the people living in the U.S. were not born when Biden arrived on Capitol Hill. He is a curious front-runner to join a ticket headed by Obama, who prevailed during the primaries by making the case that he is an outsider who can bring change to Washington.
Biden has a compelling personal story: His wife and daughter were killed in a car accident a few weeks after he was first elected, but two sons survived serious injuries in the crash. Biden commuted home to Wilmington daily to care for them, a practice he continues to this day. The oldest son, Beau, is now Delaware's attorney general and a National Guard member whose unit is being deployed to Iraq in October.
Biden got another scare 10 years ago, when two brain aneurysms kept him out of the Senate for several months.
This week Biden returned from a trip to the former Soviet state of Georgia that he made at the invitation of the embattled country's president, a well-timed reminder of the value he could bring to Obama's ticket.
Fighting between Georgia and Russia has only increased the sense that Americans will turn to the candidate they believe will be a strong international leader.
Was the move of Bush's Georgian protégé, an obvious provocation of Russia which we knew the US media would not adequately and honestly cover, intended to help bolster McCain's chances this fall?
American voters are tired of Bush's wars, but they also see the world as a dangerous place, and they see McCain as having the credentials to lead the world in a dangerous international arena, far more so than Obama. Senator Biden's presence will strengthen the Obama ticket, much as Bush, Sr's, presence strengthened the Reagan ticket, and much as Cheney's presence strengthened the Bush, Jr, ticket (?).
Bush can help with fundraising -- and does fantastic raising money -- but how else can such an unpopular President help McCain get elected? By helping create an unstable world where McCain is seen as the candidate we need to deal with the instability?
We now conclude by finishing our review of The Brezhnev Doctrine: Alive and Well by Srdja Trifkovic, August 21, 2008, with which we had begun Part 1:
The two "American" doctrines suffer from the same problem, however, as the Brezhnev Doctrine that we are remembering today. Each act of resistance, however costly for the defender, undermines the hegemon's credibility and self-confidence. After 1968, just beneath the drab surface of "Real Socialism," anti-Sovietism was rampant. Back then, and for almost two decades thereafter, members of the Politburo were old, sluggish, devoid of fresh ideas, and oblivious to the long-term challenges to their hegemony. The neoconservative strategists who run the show under Bush and who will continue running it under McCain are, by contrast, hyperactive and still convinced that hegemony can be maintained as the divinely-ordained, morally mandated, open-ended and self-justifying mission for decades to come.
The Soviets were dull and dumb. Their heirs in Washington are insane; and quos deus vult perdere, dementat prius. There is hope.
"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."