Jason Zengerle lays out all of the reasons why Joe Biden may turn out to be a good pick after all, but he only briefly touches on the biggest one. In almost every sense — geographically, stylistically, experientially, gynecologically — Biden is the polar opposite of Palin. In fact, I would go so far as to say they are more different than any opposing VPs in recent memory. As such, it makes sense that their fortunes would rise and fall in inverse proportion to each other.
The reason for this effect is that one’s feelings about Palin can be perfectly mirrored in Biden. Do you feel like Palin is an exciting new force on the scene, a breath of fresh air who has come in to shake up the race? In that case, Biden will appear to be a tired, uninspired pick (as has been the conventional wisdom over the past two weeks). On the other hand, if Palin continues to lie and gaffe her way through the campaign, driving her favorables down and raising questions about her preparedness, Biden is perfectly positioned to benefit from those second thoughts. Does the thought of Palin in the Oval Office unnerve you? Biden is suddenly a steadying presence. Do you view Palin as a risky, cynical choice by McCain? Obama’s caution in picking an experienced pol like Biden becomes far more reassuring.
Of course, we’re still just talking about the VPs here, so just because Biden’s stock improves doesn’t automatically mean it will redound to Obama’s benefit (just ask Vice President Bentsen). Still, to the extent that it fits into the larger narrative (concern about the economy, McCain’s temperament and decision-making process) it certainly can help.
Regardless, I’ve been saying to Dan for the past few weeks that this race still has a few twists and turns left in it. Don’t be surprised if the resurrection of Biden is one of those.