Thursday, August 28, 2008

Biden's Speech to the DNC

Biden takes moment in the spotlight as an opportunity to fade into the background

Of the numerous speeches being delivered at the Democratic National Convention, that of newly-nominated Vice Presidential hopeful Joe Biden was almost certainly one of the most anticipated.

In delivering the speech, Biden had his work cut out for him: former President Bill Clinton delivered a barnburning speech, complete with his traditional campaign song ("Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" by Fleetwood Mac) and a trip to "a place called hope".

In the course of his speech, Biden hit on all the basic themes: the disappearing American middle class, the war on terror, loss of international trust in the United States, and the fading of the American dream.

But instead of making his case to be Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden instead took the opportunity to denounce "his friend" John McCain and cheerlead for Barack Obama.

Which is rather unfortunate. Many of Biden's policies (including his support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) have posed serious philosophical challenges for the Democratic ticket.

Biden certainly couldn't have helped his reception amongst the anti-war movement when he referred to American military personnel as "the bravest warriors in the world".

Nor would his story about his mother telling him to "bloody the nose" of neighbourhood bullies be likely to win them over. After all, a hawkish mother would almost certainly be expected to raise a hawkish son -- at least in the perception of the anti-war movement.

These are questions the Obama/Biden ticket will need to answer if it expects to continue benefiting from the "progressive infrastructure" previously described by Naomi Klein.

Which is unfortunate. There's a general belief that the Vice Presidential candidate on a ticket tends to be unimportant during a Presidential Election. Yet when a President is rendered unable to continue in office, the Vice President takes over as President.

Joe Biden may prove to be a rather disconcerting figure for the anti-war movement should any misfortune ever befall Barack Obama. And unfortunately, one plot against Obama's life has already been uncovered.

In the end, the only way Biden could top Clinton's speech is with a "surprise" appearance by Barack Obama -- one that had been speculated on hours in advance.

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