Incidentally, I’m kind of surprised by the number of people I’m reading who seem convinced that Joe Biden would be too old to run for President in 2016 at the age of 74. John McCain is running for president right now at the age of 72, and though voters do seem to have some concerns about his age it’s hardly a crippling disadvantage. What’s more, to the best of my knowledge Biden, unlike McCain, doesn’t have a history of cancer or physical ailments stemming from years of captivity and torture. From an actuarial point of view, Biden-at-74 will almost certainly have a longer life expectancy than McCain-at-72. What’s more, given population trends the country as a whole will be older in 2016 than it is in 2008. Obviously, a million things could happen that prevent Bidenmania from sweeping the country in 2016, but if Obama wins two elections and Biden stays in reasonable health (big ifs!) I don’t see what’s stopping him from running.
Today, the New York Times highlights the hundreds of bloggers who will be attending next week’s Democratic convention in Denver. Not only will they be receiving national credentials — which members of the media also have access to — many bloggers will get coveted state blogger credentials to “cover the convention alongside its state delegation, with unlimited floor access.” A look at the blogger presence at next week’s events:
This year, both parties understand the need to have greater numbers of bloggers attend. While many Americans may watch only prime-time television broadcasts of the convention speeches, party officials also recognize the ability of bloggers to deliver minute-by-minute coverage of each day’s events to a niche online audience.
One perk that bloggers will have access to in Denver is the Big Tent, an 8,000-square-foot two-story structure adjacent to where the convention is being held. For a $100 entrance fee, 400 credentialed bloggers will be allowed to enter the air-conditioned space, hosted by a coalition of progressive blogs and organizations and sponsored by the Web sites Google and Digg, where they can eat meals and find work spaces with Wi-Fi.
Several members of ThinkProgress will be blogging from both the Democratic and Republican conventions in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for our coverage and let us know in the comments section if you’ll be there too.
Via James Fallows, here’s a kind of greatest hits reel of Joe Biden at a Democratic debate:
From a Heads in the Sand point of view, I’d be much happier if Joe Biden had opposed the 2002 Iraq AUMF. And even beyond that, I don’t always agree with his substantive positions on the issues. But one clear asset he has is that like only a handful of other prominent Democratic leaders (Wesley Clark one among them) Biden consistently approaches national security debates with an attitude of confidence that projects a desire to win the argument rather than wriggle away from it.
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, it’s official and Barack Obama’s running mate will be Joe Biden. He wasn’t my favorite choice for the gig, but he was far from my least-favorite choice either. The major pro is that this signals as desire to take the argument to John McCain on national security policy which is a wise decision — the American people deserve to hear a full-spectrum debate about the issues facing the country rather than a positional battle in which one party talks about the economy and the other talks about national security. It’s also the case, as I noted previously, that Biden’s ascendancy augurs well for the SUPERTRAIN even though this aspect of his record isn’t especially well-known or close to the core of his political persona.
Biden also has the lowest net worth of any U.S. Senator. Combined with Barack Obama whose prosperity is a very recent consequence of book sales, it’s definitely a ticket that can argue they have more personal acquaintance with the struggles of middle class American life than John McCain or George Bush or recent Democratic nominees like John Kerry and Al Gore. It also seems to be a pick that the elite media is enthusiastic about, which isn’t necessarily an idea I’m enthusiastic about, but I suppose definitely counts as an asset. Last, moderate Republicans, especially those with a national security orientation, like the pick.
I congratulate Senator Barack Obama on his selection of my friend, Senator Joe Biden, to be his vice-presidential running mate. I have enjoyed for many years the opportunity to work with Joe Biden to bring strong bipartisan support to United States foreign policy.
Joe Biden is the right partner for Barack Obama. His many years of distinguished service to America, his seasoned judgment and his vast experience in foreign policy and national security will match up well with the unique challenges of the 21st Century. An Obama-Biden ticket is a very impressive and strong team. Biden’s selection is good news for Obama and America.
And of course Biden’s tendency toward gaffes makes this good news for people who need to write about the campaign.
When the whole McCain house thing came to light my initial reaction was to observe that most journalists don’t really have the technical background necessary to determine the metaphysical status of John McCain’s main residence, a Phoenix condo that’s actually two condos combined into one. I thought we might need the assistance of Laurie Paul, Arizona’s leading mereologist (that’s the branch of philosophy that studies “the relations of part to whole and the relations of part to part within a whole”) and wife of Crooked Timber blogger Kieran Healy. No word yet from Professor Paul, but Healy blogs in from on vacation in Ireland:
My understanding is that mereological relations are somewhat flexible, and it’s quite acceptable for the same material object to be two condos and one home. Nevertheless, I am a mereologist by marriage only, so my views should not be taken as representing the opinions of a trained and licensed professional.
That does make sense and tends to highlight the fact that political philosophy is in some respects less independent of metaphysical considerations than John Rawls would have you believe.
You sometimes hear, most recently from Ezra Klein, that it would be illegal to appoint a shadow cabinet during the campaign because of the law against “directly or indirectly” promising anyone government jobs. In practice, though, it’s easy enough to leak that you’d appoint “someone like Chuck Hagel” as Secretary of Defense if you want to signal that you’ll appoint Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. The reason not to do that isn’t the legal problem, it’s the other consideration Ezra brings to bear — you don’t want to re-enforce the idea that progressives can’t handle the job. If you’re going to go the route of putting a politician in the Secretary’s chair (which, paired with a Deputy Secretary from the policy world, seems pretty likely) then pick a progressive politician.
It would be much more productive, I think, to take someone with a solidly conservative domestic record but internationalist views on foreign policy and make him (or her) UN Ambassador or something. That sends the message that the liberal approach to world affairs has appeal that transcends party lines or debates over tax policy or whatever else. Or, similarly, if you could find someone with a generally conservative record but sound views on climate change and give that person an environmental policy role. Those are ways of co-opting conservative politicians in order to broaden the appeal of progressive solutions, rather than a way that draws attention to alleged weaknesses in the progressive approach.
Grist has a nice post here.
The California Energy Commission is considering a proposal by PG&E to require televisions sold in the state to meet a minimum efficiency standard. Why is a utility proposing its customers by more efficient appliances? Because California allows utilities to earn a return on investment from negawatts (see Energy efficiency, Part 4).
CNN’s John King is reporting that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has selected Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) as his running mate. King said the Obama campaign will officially reveal the selection in a text message to over three million people soon. Obama is scheduled to appear with Biden at a rally this afternoon in Springfield, IL.
Biden, who ran as a presidential candidate in 1987 and 2007, has served in the Senate since 1972 and is currently the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Last week, New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks urged the selection of Biden, writing that he “provides what Obama needs.” Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter wrote, “The main task now for Obama is reassurance that he could handle the job, especially commander in chief. Biden provides it.”
John McCain remains wedded to the Bush Administration’s myopic view of a world defined by terrorism. … He would continue to allow a tiny minority to set the agenda for the overwhelming majority. It is time for a total change in Washington’s world view.
In an interview with ThinkProgress in May, Biden criticized McCain’s “overwhelming lack of sophistication when it comes to foreign policy.”
Biden has called the Bush administration “the worst administration in American foreign policy in modern history, maybe ever. … Every single thing they’ve touched has been a near disaster.” And in an interview last year, he suggested that “we should be acquiring and accumulating” information “for possibly bringing criminal charges against members of this administration at a later date.”
UPDATE: The AP is also reporting it.
UPDATE II: CNN’s King attributed his confirmation to two Democratic officials “who told us things they’re not supposed to tell us tonight”:
UPDATE III: The New York Times notes that Biden was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee “during two of the most contentious Supreme Court nomination battles of the past 50 years: the confirmation proceedings for Robert H. Bork, who was defeated, and Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed after an explosive hearing in which Anita Hill accused Mr. Thomas of sexual harassment.”
UPDATE IV: Biden’s son — Capt. Beau Biden — is preparing for deployment to Iraq next year. “I don’t want him going,” Biden said. “But I tell you what, I don’t want my grandson or my granddaughters going back in 15 years and so how we leave makes a big difference.”
UPDATE V: In an Oct. 2007 Democratic presidential debate, Biden famously quipped there’s only three things Rudy Giuliani mentions in a sentence — “a noun, a verb, and 9/11.” Watch it:
UPDATE VI: The Drum Major Institute takes a look at Biden’s record voting on issues “that matter to the pocketbooks of middle-class Americans.”