Last week I blogged about whether Obama would replace Biden on the ticket.
I’m not going to repeat the reasons this was a possibility.
But with his 45 % unfavorable rating higher than his 42% favorable–and higher than Obama’s negatives– clearly he was/is in jeopardy.
I don’t know what happened next, exactly. The great thing about writing fiction is that you can connect the dots, even when there may not be actual dots or they may not be connected.
In this case, there are dots.
We know, or think we know that Biden is not in the Obama campaign strategy sessions. That’s because he’s not there to give strategy advice. He doesn’t need to hear the latest polls or focus group results. He has a job. He knows what to do. He is a heat seeking missile.
So Obama goes after his base with anti-rich rhetoric. Michele raises her profile with young blacks, with such harmless, innocent moves as attending a Beyonce concert. And Joe will connect with white, Reagan democrats.
As with most politicians who reach a high level, Biden is actually not stupid. Whether someone wound him up, or whether he figured it out himself, he had to do something about those negatives.
So he’s been out there, giving the populist performance of his life, going back to his roots, talking about his parents and their dreams.
And then yesterday, he pulled out the stops. He went personally nuclear: he talked about the accident in which he tragically lost a wife and child. I don’t know whether he has brought up this extremely sad and moving story over the past 40 years. What I do know is that it made the front page of the Washington Post, and probably went out on AP all over the country (I first noticed it in an UneditedPolitics.com tweet).
I am reminded of the 1988 campaign, in which then Vice President Bush had an image problem. He was regarded by some as a “wimp.” This was incongruous of course with the facts and with his war record, for example, in which he had not just served, but been a hero. His campaign advisors wanted to get the story out, but it was delicate. The candidate was uncomfortable with raising it. Ultimately, they figured out a way to get their spin out, and the press stopped pushing the wimp issue.
You cannot objectively listen to Biden talk about his personal tragedy without being moved by it, or without seeing how it connected with the military families that have experienced loss. It would be easy to be cynical about Biden and his horrific personal experience. But I suggest we dig deeper and look at this man who has worked almost all of his adult life, to be at the pinnacle of American politics—and now, to be mocked, laughed at, reviled—to be one press conference away from standing bravely and applauding enthusiastically “it’s time to pick a woman.”
What would you do?
You would pull out all the stops and use everything you have, because the one thing you do know is that you are likeable. And if you can get out there enough, you can turn this thing around. You will not be a drag on the ticket. You may not get Obama elected, but you are by God not wind up a laughingstock.
He already pushed the gay pride button. He is very at home with big labor. So prepare yourself for the performance of a lifetime.
Oh, and if you are a gambler, Intrade now has Biden’s spot as VP at 92.8%. Any takers?