Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Sunny Side

The Big Tease and, for progressives, the death (of hope) watch is over, not that there ever was much hope: Joe Biden, the “Plagiarism Joe” of yesteryear, will be Obama’s VP. The conventional wisdom would have it that Biden is long winded and that he talks first and thinks later. True enough. But his main fault is that, even more than Obama (but not more than the Clintons), he represents everything that is putrid in our political culture’s lesser evil: the moral and intellectual shallowness of the Democratic Party and, more generally, of contemporary American liberalism.

But there is a sunny side: now Joe Biden won’t be Secretary of State.

Biden’s selection also clarifies a point that was never seriously in doubt: Obama is not a candidate of genuine, progressive change – except in the sense that he doesn’t look like the others on the money. That’s not a difference to be despised, and Biden can be useful for promulgating the idea that, as he put it early on, Obama is attractive and “articulate.” Voters with overt or latent racist attitudes need to hear that if the electorate is to hand the doddering former napalmist war-monger John McCain, the neocons’ best hope for continuing the Dick Cheney “vision,” his just deserts. Otherwise, Obama’s choice only confirms, yet again, that the “change” he would promote is of the plus ça change (plus c’est la même chose) variety – that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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