Tough Guy Biden
Following Joe Bidenâ€™s acceptance speech yesterday evening, many of the TV pundits gave the senator average marks. â€œServiceableâ€ was how I heard David Gergen describe it. O.k. Sure. Content-wise, it was a bit of a smorgasbord and the attacks on John McCain were predictable. But there was something I really liked about Bidenâ€™s speech.
After months of Barack Obamaâ€™s affability and after the grueling 2004 campaign featuring John Kerryâ€™s aloofness and John Edwardsâ€™ sticky charm, I enjoyed listening to a Democrat who sounded like he could, if pushed, pop another fellow in the nose. He wasnâ€™t angry, like some two-bit populist (or like Al Gore sounded at the 2000 convention). He was just firm in a way few Democrats seem to be these days. His tone reminded me a lot of the Texas Democrats I grew up admiring â€“ like Anne Richards, like how Hillary Clinton wanted to sound throughout the campaign but never managed to pull off convincingly.
This is not an endorsement of Bidenâ€™s policies or politics. But I realized last night that Biden doesnâ€™t just bring Obama a wealth of foreign policy experience. He gives Obama a guy who knows how to deliver the liberal message without sounding like a liberal. If Biden can keep his blowhard nature in check and not let his senatorial airs overpower his Wilmington roots, heâ€™s going to help Obama quite a bit in this campaign.