I suppose the Obama team thought that it was clever to send Vice President Biden to Tampa during the Republican National Convention. It’s the equivalent of trash talking. ( “You think you own Tampa? We own Tampa!”) On Friday it was announced that Biden would not go, out of concern that emergency personnel would be stretched too thin. The Obama team should count its lucky stars that it had reason to cancel.
President Obama did not show good judgment in selecting Biden as the man to step into the presidency at a moment’s notice. Biden is not only long-winded but misguided on virtually every point of foreign policy. His “y’all back in chains” remark is symptomatic of his willingness to say or do anything. Even Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has called him out for his race baiting. (“Did he think it was cute . . . Yes, he did. Was it something stupid to say? You bet your life it was stupid.”) He is perhaps the last person you’d want in a crisis. It points not only to poor judgment but also Obama’s vanity (Don’t admit an error.).
Obama could have dumped Biden this year; lots of presidents including Democratic idol FDR made a change. But the idea that Obama might need someone’s help (specifically, Hillary Clinton’s) was likely too much to stomach.So he’s stuck with a man who is thought by many to be foolish and slightly out of it.
Meanwhile along comes smart, disciplined, vibrant Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). According to the latest CNN poll, voters — despite his newness on the national scene (for most people) and his status as a mere congressman — find Ryan to be more likable than Biden. Ryan’s favorables are +6, while Biden is at -1. A majority of voters think that the choice of Ryan was excellent or good, and by a substantial margin, they find him to be qualified to serve as president (52 to 43 percent). By a huge 57 to 39 percent, voters think that picking Ryan reflects favorably on Romney’s ability to make important decisions.
So why stick Biden in the same city to highlight that unfavorable comparison? This was arrogance getting the better of the Obama camp. It is fortunate it had reason to cancel.
Imagine what could have occurred. Since his opponent is in town, Ryan might have strolled out from the convention to a Biden event one day. Shake his hand and even suggest a little impromptu debate. Yikes!
Well, there will be time for a full debate in October. It should be an illuminating face-off: fresh ideas vs. hackneyed politics, mathematical precision vs. absurd invention (“The vice president should know better than to spout off half-baked facts in service of a dubious argument.”) and conservative reformer vs. defender of the status quo.
In the meantime, the Romney-Ryan campaign should do all they can to highlight the differences between the the two men and what they say about the men at the top of the tickets.