In Defense of Joe

Since Romney has picked his running mate (Congressman Paul Ryan, in case you were not aware), I have seen a lot of crowing over what a doofus Joe Biden, our current vice president, is.

I have seen it predicted that he’s going to get his ass handed to him in the VP debate. I have seen him called a joke, a goof, an idiot.

In my opinion, there’s a lot of premature gleeful hand-rubbing going on.

Why don’t people take Biden seriously? Sure, he’s prone to gaffes, he sticks his foot in his mouth — name one politician who isn’t and doesn’t. He’s got a lot of passion and goes off message (though, ultimately, not to his party’s detriment). He doesn’t use a lot of high-falutin’ rhetoric.

In some ways, he’s both the perfect foil and the perfect partner to our serious, calm, and articulate president. According to an article in Politico, Obama says, “The best thing about Joe is that when we get everybody together, he really forces people to think and defend their positions, to look at things from every angle, and that is very valuable for me.” From what I’ve read of the man, he plays devil’s advocate in the Administration. He’s not a lick-spittle.

Joe Biden is well-liked on Capitol Hill. He has more than 30 years experience as a politician. He’s been chairman of two Senate committees and a caucus. He’s written laws, and was the youngest senator with more than 10,000 votes in the Sentate. He is smart, savvy, plain-spoken, and bipartisan.

And he’s been through some shit. He lost his first wife and a daughter in a car accident. He was a single dad for five years. He’s been married to the same woman, his second wife, since 1977. He’s had some serious health scares.

Paul Ryan is 42 years old. He’s served as chair on one committee. He has no foreign policy experience. He’s a Tea Party favorite, which is the direct opposite of bipartisan. He’s probably no dummy, but come on. You really think he can hold his own against Joe Biden?

Because I don’t. Not that I’m going to discourage Republicans (or libertarians or independents) from underestimating Biden. Oh no, underestimate him all you want. I think he’s going to surprise you.

I’ll go make some popcorn.


Updated to add: Since the Bush/Kerry run off (was it the 2004 election?), there’s been this “beer test” for the candidates, as in “Who would you like to have a beer with?” As much respect as I have for our President, out of the four candidates in this race, I think I’d enjoy sitting down with Joe the most. He seems pretty humble, pretty funny, and pretty smart. He seems to be in touch with the electorate, and he seems like he’d go to bat for the middle class. Paul Ryan has dreamy blue eyes and all, but he also seems like, on a date, he’d prefer to listen to the sound of his own voice. Plus, he wouldn’t drink beer, he’d drink really pricey wine.