I suppose as the weekend passes, I may have more to say about presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s choice of Delaware’s senior Senator as his running mate. For the moment, I will echo Bruce’s point that it does seem a lot like George W. Bush’s choice of Dick Cheney in 2000, an older political veteran with foreign policy experience from a small state that was already a lock for their party.
But, Cheney, unlike Biden, actually had some executive experience, having served as White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald R. Ford and as Defense Secretary under President George H.W. Bush. Joe Biden has spent well over half his life the Senate, having served there since Barack Obama was eleven years old.
Others have dissected the choice with Jay Nordlinger calling it an “error.” Glenn Reynolds links some interesting and insightful posts and articles here and here while John Hinderaker weighs in here on Biden’s “unbearable lightness.”
For now, I’ll relate the story of my meeting with the now-presumptive Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee. I met the guy. I like him. Despite his loquaciousness and polical obtuseness, he’s very decent, if not classy, man. While he never impressed me as a politician, he did as a human being.
Back in the late 1990s, I was dating a fetching young man who worked in Biden’s office. My friend invited me to his office’s holiday party the winter we were seeing each other.
When I arrived, he introduced me to Biden who could not have been more gracious. Biden looked me in the eye when we met and praised the work of my date (his staffer).
We didn’t get much time to talk as other staffers wanted to chat with their boss and/or introduce family members they had brought along to the shindig.Â I no longer remember if my political leanings came out. Indeed, I can hardly remember the content of our conversation beyond the pleasantries.
What I do remember is that when everyone was posing for the office picture, I stood aside not clear whether or not I should participate in the shot. I didn’t work for the Senator and was only dating the staffer. We were not then (nor did we become) boyfriends or partners.
Seeing me standing awkwardly (and uncomfortably), Biden looked up and gestured at me, “C’mon, Dan, Get in the picture.” I was impressed that he had remembered my name and touched that he had reached out to me when even my date was uncertain what I should do.
It showed a lot of class–and compassion, that he would reach out and include me.
It’s been over ten years since that moment. And that remains the one lasting memory of that evening. I don’t share Joe Biden’s politics, don’t think he would make a good vice president, much less a good president. But, he is a decent guy, a good man, a mensch, as my Dad might say. And that should count for something.