Editor’s Note: Now that Barack Obama has officially taken on Joe Biden as his running mate, it’s appropriate to remember how uninspiring and ineffective Biden was as a presidential candidate. After numerous trips to the Granite State, Joe Biden got a total of 638 votes on primary day. Here’s my reflections on a trip Biden made to New Hampshire during primary season.
I could have gone — it was just a 10 minute drive up the road. I thought I might ask a question about health care reform but I knew that everyone there, including Biden, had only one thing are their minds — Iraq, Iraq, and Iraq. (Technically, I guess that’s three things.)
Then, I thought, hell, I could say hello to Lynn Chong and her husband, Rob. I know they would love to meet me. Lynn is chair of the Belknap County Democratic Committee. She is euphemistically known as a “progressive Democrat.” I know she is a nice woman because she is not a Republican and is a friend of a friend of a friend.
Lynn and I see the Iraq war and the solution Democrats should offer from quite different perspectives. Those of us who think Hillary Clinton might be a worthy nominee were a little annoyed that Lynn publicly dismissed the Senator (because of Iraq, of course) even before Hillary had visited New Hampshire as a candidate. But we’re all grown ups here — we’ll let bygones be bygones, right?
But the most important factor that weighed on my decision to go — or not to go — was Joe Biden himself.
Biden has been around Washington D.C. longer than the Jefferson Memorial. There’s a lot of Biden history there. The problem is that most of it is remarkably forgettable. I’ve seen him dozens of times on Meet the Press and other political shows and newscasts. I can’t remember a single important or interesting thing that he has said.
All I remember about Biden is that Mike Dukakis fatally kicked him in the groin during the 1988 Democratic presidential campaign for plagiarizing parts of a speech. The media then woke up and found numerous other cases of Biden “lifting” someone else’s work. According to the Washington Post, these included “a serious plagiarism incident involving Biden during his law school years; the senator’s boastful exaggerations of his academic record at a New Hampshire campaign event; and the discovery of other quotations in Biden’s speeches pilfered from past Democratic politicians.”
(If it is any consolation to the half-dozen Biden supporters out there, pick anyone out of the US Senate and you have a 88% chance of getting someone with a dubious past and a historically-challenged political track record.)
Although I knew that Senator Biden was coming to town, I knew that a nasty spring snowstorm was coming to town, too. (It is here as I write, creating panic among the chickadees and juncos and making my plow guy the richest man in the neighborhood.) Instinctively, I looked into my refrigerator and saw that it was nearly empty. I had visions of being stranded on this snowy hill without food until Memorial Day. I had a choice to make: groceries or Biden. Get food or get bored.
So I got the groceries.
This morning I checked the Laconia Citizen to see what history-making pronouncements Joe Biden made at his Weirs Beach campaign event. Totally surprising no one, he said, “This war must end.”