THE GROFF/ELLISON POLITICAL REPORT

New Dance: The Virginia Head Fake

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on August 19, 2008

About 48 hours away from an Obama running mate announcement and, at least, one of us in the G/E crew wants to go against the grain on the choice.  Call it gut instinct.  And, yeah, call whichever one of us a fool – like so many others taking a stab at it – when he announces on Wednesday, but money should be put on Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE).

Why?  Isn’t that the white-hair, Delaware, old-school white guy who misspoke and tripped on a pre-primary spin and called Obama articulate during a not-so-pretty and subtly racial gaffe?  So what: it’s a bunch of old white guys who make racial gaffes on the regular. Nothing new about that.  But: isn’t he the guy who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut?  Sure: but, he sure showed a lot of discipline on the campaign trail.  You can have a lot of fun shooting from the verbal hip when you’re a Senator of a small state where everybody knows everybody, but Biden isn’t stupid: when you go national, you learn to keep the pie hole closed.

Everybody wants to say it’s Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.  Unconventional lack-of-Beltway wisdom says: not.  What does Kaine bring to the table besides electoral dreams of a purple state win?  He hasn’t done much in his two years as Gov., frustrated by lack of movement on state transportation funding.  Plus, who’s to say Virginia will get a Democratic replacement for Kaine if Obama gets elected, especially with someone like retiring moderate centrist Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) floating about the state and looking for a gig.  Plus, you pick Kaine, you are basically thumbing your nose at older voters and making them seem irrelevant.  Obama’s camp mentions Kaine just to see how much resources the GOP really dumps into VA.  And Bayh: do you hear the crickets chirping?

Biden brings a lot of pluses to the table.  For one: you automatically get that old, 65+ white vote that can’t stand the fact that you’re young and black.  Get an old, straight-shooting white cat to relate to grumpy, tanning retirees in Florida who watch 20-something video vixens sun-bathe on South Beach all day.  Old white folks will trust a cat like Joe Biden.  Two: you get Delaware locked, obviously.  But, you’re also guaranteed at least half of neighboring Pennsylvania, which thinks Delaware should be annexed into it.  You also get a slice of Southern New Jersey, which can relate to Delaware.  Then, you get a piece of Northern Maryland, Chesapeake Maryland and, yeah, maybe a piece of Virginia by the Bay with Northern Virginia locked.  They all know Biden.  Who doesn’t vote for you in Virginia had already made their mind up back when they forgot the Civil War was over.

And, Biden is not as old school Beltway Insider as we think he is.  He’s always said what everyone else doesn’t want to say, always kept it real when others got shy.  He’s the vernacular boxer of the Senate, a likable guy who also knows when to give you his finger at the right time.  Obama will do what people will least expect him to do – which is how he’s operated throughout this campaign.  He wants to show that he can be out of the box, but that he’s also an out-of-the-box politician who can be above the fray. “So what if the guy called me ‘articulate’.  My peoples call me that all the time.  That’s the only good thing they know to say about brothers,” says Obama. “I like Joe, anyway.  Joe is cool as …”  and the rest is history.

Money is on Biden. The pluses outweigh the negatives.

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