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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama's Choice

It's Saturday, and as promised, B. Obama has revealed his choice for his Vice-Presidential running mate. It is Senator J. Biden of Delaware.

That's okay, but I'm still surprised. I didn't know he was that high up in the calculations. But I admit I hadn't been paying much attention. People consistently get worked up over things that I think are barely worth mentioning, while they ignore things that I think should be right up front and center. So I had no chance to get caught up in all the suspense and shortness of breath that preceded this announcement.

I thought, and still think that H. Clinton would have been the most obvious choice, but, aware that too much bad blood may have flowed over the dam during the primaries, not between her and Obama but between their supporters, I had whispered to the Obamarites, How about Jeff Bingaman, of New Mexico? But clearly they didn't hear me, and I doubt if his name otherwise ever came up.

Like Biden, Bingaman has been in the Senate for a long time, but he may very well be its quietest member, Biden's complete opposite, and that may be why no one else looked his way.. I remember him from some televised hearings back in 1989, that showed a Senate committee closely examining a case that led to the impeachment and removal from the bench of a Federal District Judge named Alcee Hastings (who, however, later fought his way back to become a Congressman from, I think, Florida). On a committee filled with rambunctious, noisy, in-your-face characters, Bingaman was the chairman. I had trouble understanding that. It was just like a couple of local businesses that I could tell you about, where you could never tell who the head honchos are, even after several visits.

He had hardly anything to say, yet you could tell that nothing was escaping his attention, and when he had to make various judgments, which were frequent, they always seemed reasonable and fair, and he had the obvious respect of all his colleagues. And also Bingaman looked the part.

He looks just like the good, fair-minded sheriffs that you occasionally saw in the westerns of my childhood, as if he is full from his toes to his crown with sound judgment combined with eminent restraint, the kind of guy that the fates are kind to, and you can bet that he would have finished his Navy career without having crashed any of its planes. He would make a very Gary Cooperish, "High Noon" kind of Vice-President, or President. But as that would make so much good sense, such a thing never has the slightest chance to happen.

Biden has been fighting the good fight for decades, and he's been very successful at it, to be a Democratic senator from a tiny state that has no reputation for being progressive and whose main distinction to my eye is that it houses the southern ends of the twin bridges that comprise the Wilmington Bridge on I-95, an ever-impressive sight that always hiked up the enjoyment of the many drives that -- incredibly to me now --I once used to make routinely between D.C. and N.Y. But the fact that he is a successful politician from Delaware has helped make me suspect that there's something not quite right with him.

I've had a lot of years to watch and to hear Biden in action, and it has always seemed that while he has a lot going for him, there's still one little thing missing from his mental makeup that would really make him a force to be reckoned with. I've never been able to give it a name, and the closest I can get is to say that it is as if, during the forging of his samurai sword, the steel was pounded a time or two too few.

But I will say this. Though incomplete, he is still a good guy, and he has such a huge reputation for volubility that even a whole team of raving Republicans will never be able to outdo him in the production of words on any subject. And in a Presidential campaign like this that is so filled with sound and fury, that's going to count for a lot. ...Maybe everything. --Yes, definitely everything.


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