Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

The Anti-Palin

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.


September 18, 2008 - Posted by | Veepstakes | ,


  1. Great Article! I just want to add that many people believe that one of the greatest unifying issues against Palin is her well-known practices of animal cruelty that transcends her willingness to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Here is s a post from The Daily Kos in which several people echo this sentiment:

    Is it possible that Slink or any of you could write about how people from all walks of life–even and especially hunters–can unite and expose Palin on this issue? I just wish that the Obama Campaign would jump on what Defenders of Wildlife has done for them–and of course, for the animals!

    Much Thanks!

    Comment by Midwesterners | September 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. As a lifelong Democrat and Obama supporter, I wish that he would not have picked Biden. He did not receive any type of bump after the selection, and Obama’s attacks on McSame don’t resonate when Biden has actually been in Congress longer. Besides that, people have to admit that he has been wrong on some of the foreign policy issues in the last 30 years. I admire Sarah Palin, I just don’t think she’s ready to hold such a high office.

    Comment by Brian Branson | September 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. Mr. Branson: Honestly, what do you “admire” about Sarah Palin?
    It would be most “informative” if you could please delineate your opinions or beliefs.

    Comment by Midwesterners | September 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. Biden was a solid pick, which will become more and more evident as we move closer to the election. Plus, he is pulling in great crowds in PA and OH (4,500 at a recent rally).

    I THINK he is going to absolutely blow Palin away in the debate — but there’s also a risk there. Overall, though, I think he is going to turn out to be a net gain for Obama, and a strong factor in PA and OH.

    Comment by Bruce Maples | September 20, 2008 | Reply

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