Biden is Obama's Dick Cheney
By Doug Patton
September 1, 2008
Barack Obama and Joe Biden each committed a telling gaffe during their speeches in Springfield, Illinois. Obama, introducing his newly named running mate, initially called him "the next president," confirming the thought that was running through the minds of many Americans - namely that, based on age and experience, this ticket should be flipped, with Biden running for president and Obama in the VP role.
Biden is 66, with nearly four decades in public life, most of it in Washington; Obama is barely 47 and had served 143 days in the U.S. Senate before announcing he was ready to be president. John McCain wasted no time ribbing Obama for his verbal blunder, suggesting that Obama appeared ready to turn the top job over to "his new mentor."
Biden's faux pas during his Springfield speech was even more entertaining. Apparently he got so excited about his newfound celebrity that, in a bizarre moment reminiscent of Jimmy Carter calling former Vice President Humphrey "Hubert Horatio Hornblower" at the Dem's 1976 convention, Biden referred to Obama (whom the McCain campaign has dubbed "The One") by a new superhero's name: "Barack America."
We all knew Obama needed a lot of phony reinforcement to bolster his image, but "Barack America"? Perhaps we should expect the Democrat nominee to show up on the campaign trail wearing tights and a red, white and blue cape.
So what's in a nomination? What does Joe Biden bring to Barack Obama's campaign? Obviously, the tongue of every pundit inside and outside the Beltway has been wagging about the foreign policy experience Biden brings to Obama's side. (One wonders how many experts Obama will have to bring in to prop up his rookie credentials. So many experts; so little time...) But there is now a sense that finally, a grownup is on the scene. Maybe that thinning white hair will lend some credibility to a campaign heretofore characterized by juvenile themes and no specifics.
Eight years ago, a relatively inexperienced governor chose as his running mate an older, far more experienced pol. George W. Bush originally appointed Dick Cheney to head up his exploration committee for a vice presidential nominee. After an exhaustive search, Cheney concluded that he himself was the logical choice. He had served as a presidential chief of staff, a U.S. Representative, a defense secretary and had worked extensively and successfully in the private sector. And perhaps most important, he had no designs on the boss's job.
Immediately, the Left went crazy, and the taunting has never stopped. You remember the mantra: "Bush is Cheney's puppet!" We've heard it for nearly a decade now. George W. Bush is a bumbling, inarticulate moron who can't put five words together without stumbling over at least two of them. Yeah, the Left whined, Dick Cheney must be calling the shots as the puppet master for little George Bush. But then, Bush certainly wasn't capable of making the important decisions of our time on his own, now was he? Yep, Darth Vader and his buddies at Halliburton have been pulling Dubya's strings for the last eight years.
Well, guess what. Joe Biden is Barack Obama's Dick Cheney. Biden's age and experience stand in stark contrast to Obama's lack of both. Like Cheney, Biden is unlikely after two terms as vice president to ever seek the presidency in his own right. That will give him the freedom to be the power behind the throne. And if (God forbid) Barack Obama is elected president, he is going to need a lot of guidance. His reckless, naïve foreign policy initiatives at this crucial point in history could put the entire free world at risk.
Neither Barack Obama nor Joe Biden has ever run anything. Neither has served in an executive capacity, such as governor of a state or CEO of a major corporation. Both are bloviating legislators in the United States Congress, the ratings of which have hovered at or near single digits in most the recent public opinion polls.
But hopefully "President" Biden will at least have the seasoning to keep Captain America from getting us all killed while he's playing his big role on the world stage. Pull those strings well, Joe.
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.