Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reason #154: Release the Biden


The Obama administration began a "rollout" of Vice President Joe Biden today, which is another way of saying they want to get people used to him. He gave a rousing speech in Toledo, Ohio, focusing on the auto bailout and the administration's perception that it saved that industry and, more to the point, thousands of rust-belt jobs.

He went so far as to mention the Republican presidential candidates by name, which Obama has done a pretty good job of avoiding thus far - but with Romney's whole "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" thing, how could he not?

The campaign strategy is interesting to watch here, because they obviously want to use Biden's blue-collar average-guy energy to contrast with Romney's (and, let's be fair, Obama's) perceived aloofness and detachment from "regular" people, but they scheduled a speech with Obama for the same time - which is another way of saying they're afraid he might say something embarassing.

You can't blame them for trying to warm the guy up slowly, but I've been crazy about Biden for a long time now. Real people are messy and contradictory by nature, and any political figure who doesn't appear as such is a political figure whose public image is being carefully managed.

It's na├»ve to make character judgments about either of them based on public image, but as calm and reasonable as Obama can appear, it's reassuring to see someone like Biden standing at his side. Because only when someone occasionally says the wrong thing can you be sure that they mean it.

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