Joe Biden, the Democratic convention, and whatever you hold dear


So it’s Joe Biden, the guy who said “it’s not me. I’m not the guy” earlier in the week. And the whole “you’ll know first by text message” angle turned out to be a load of hot air. Big shock, both. For many, the text mails announcing Biden’s choice are still making their way to the be-the-first-to-know recipients.

The early line from Rasmussen? Biden is seen favorably by 43% of those surveyed.

What do you think? Whenever I think of Biden, I think of one of the two best political quotes of all time (in my opinion): “The greatest love affair in Washington is between Joe Biden and the sound of his own voice.” The other great quote has nothing to do with Joe Biden but it was Walter Mondale’s comment the day after he got clobbered in the election for president, “I wanted to run for president in the worst way, and that’s just what I did.”

Here’s my analysis: Kiss it goodbye, Gov. Pawlenty. The McCain campaign has made ‘experience’ an issue in this campaign. There’s going to be a debate between the vice presidential candidates. So how can the McCain camp trot out a Tim Pawlenty — nice guy, but being governor of a state in flyover country and the state rep from Eagan isn’t going to compare well with the credentials of Biden, no matter what you think of Joe Biden.

Forbes Magazine today rips Biden on the basis of the economy, and says all of the rumored choices were negative on that issue. But Pawlenty’s state now has higher unemployment than the national average, so he’s not going to stand out as a sage on economic issues, either.

For that matter, Gov. Mitt Romney — the other oft-mentioned possibility for McCain’s vice president — doesn’t match up that well, either.

Tom Ridge and even Joe Lieberman move up a rung on the ladder, it says here, regardless of their position on abortion.

I’m on my way to Denver today and probably won’t have much to post until later this evening. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide you with a gentle blend of trivia, behind-the-scenes images, and occasional insight that cuts through the showbizzy informmercialness of it all.

As I did at the ’04 conventions, I want to make this a conversation during the week — letters to home from the convention, and involve your perspective and questions on things. So bookmark this page, and whenever you’re moved to ask a question or make an observation about things, write it down and send it and I’ll figure out some way to work it in here.

Some of the MPR crew is already in Denver, the rest are heading there today. There’s a “media” party tonight, which is usually one of the two major non-political events. In the past, they’ve been sponsored by the dominant media in the convention city. But that was when the media was a living, breathing thing — not the shriveled-up banana peel it often appears as today. The media party planned for Minneapolis next week is nothing if not “restrained,” and it’s sponsored by the host committee.

I’m not entirely sure what Denver’s scale is or the involvement of the local media — in particular Dean Singleton’s operation (the head of the company that also owns the Pioneer Press). I’ll let you know if I make it there.

Sunday night is a media party of our own, although it’s not a party. I started the “tradition” in ’04 with MPR reporters and a small group of fellow-Minnesota reporters. We have one nice meal together on Sunday evening, knowing that come Monday, our dinners consist mostly of vending-machine Cheetos and soda. Seventeen colleagues from MPR, the Star Tribune, and the Pioneer Press are getting together.

I called only two places for reservations. The first — downtown — had no tables available. The second seemed almost relieved I called. So I’ll try to assess the local business impact of the convention this week to see how it may — or may not — reflect on what the Twin Cities will experience starting next week.

I’m anxious to explore one comparison between Denver and MSP. Can I take a picture in Denver without being rousted? If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll have the answer.

  • Hi Bob: thought you might enjoy my latest post on Biden.

  • Bob

    I’d hoped, but didn’t really expect, Obama to make a bolder choice. I assumed it would be a white guy, but it would have been nice to see someone who could actually back up Obama’s “change” theme. Instead, we get an old white guy who is the epitome of Washington gridlock and a living, breathing argument for term limits. Talk about diluting the brand.

    Biden may come from working class roots, but his real roots are as a Washington insider lo these last 30 years, so I don’t see him having that much appeal to blue-collar voters.

    Given Biden’s penchant for opening mouth and inserting foot, I shudder to think at what kinds of campaign gaffes lay ahead. And let us not forget that Biden is from the East, which bodes ill indeed; the last time a Democratic ticket with an Eastern Prez or VP candidate on it carried the election was in 1964.

  • Zeb

    I can understand journalists’ distaste for losing their position as official news filters, but I don’t understand your “hot air” comment.

    A couple points: First, Biden said those words before he heard the official invitation from Obama. In other words, he hadn’t been selected yet.

    Second, I got my message from the Obama campaign as promised, and yes, it was before I saw or heard it anywhere else.

  • Bob Collins

    Zeb, I’m not familiar with Biden’s use of “hot air.” My comments weren’t meant to play off anything he said.

    The email notification gimmick was a naked attempt to data mine, not that far removed from the famous GOP Same-sex marriage CD I diagnosed years ago.

    The fact there was no privacy statement on the sign-up page told volumes about what the Obama campaign was up to.

    They could’ve been more upfront about the privacy aspects of their plan, but that might’ve diminished the participation, which would’ve defeated the point.

    I’m not particularly concerned about “losing my position as official news filters,” because my job involves peeling back the stage show and exposing what’s really going on backstage.

    Business is booming in that area and the future looks bright, Zeb.

    But I appreciate your concern. (g)

  • Zeb

    How is it a gimmick if it works? Anyone who didn’t recognize their contact info would be kept in a campaign database is pretty dense. I guarantee you that many people signed up with junk email addresses. And the diehards had already submitted their real info long ago.

    My observation about the death of the news filter wasn’t directed specifically toward you or MPR. But it is pretty clear that the big names and networks are bitter about losing their place as the middleman for political scoops. So they’re left with vague questions like, “What’s your sense of blah, blah, blah?”

    MPR has some excellent reporters. It is best when it ignores the show, including the backstage, and just focuses on the facts. End of ramble.

    Have fun, Bob.

  • VeriaBreaky

    Now that the Obama campaign is coming to a close I am getting ready to get back into the volunteer world again. The best way to find a volunteer job in my opinion is to use sites that concentrate on putting all of the volunteer jobs in one place. Since most volunteer jobs are not paid anyway, very few volunteer opportunities are listed on sites like Monster, etc. because they can charge employers $400 or more to post an ad on there.

    Most volunteer jobs are found on nonprofit websites and also in small regional publications that do not cost a lot to advertise in.

    Many work at home opportunities are really not opportunities at all and, instead, are essentially just trying to get you to sign up for referral program, for example.

    A lot of people I know who actually got volunteer jobs used job sites that go out and gather all of the volunteer jobs from nonprofit websites and regional job boards.

    The site, for example, basically gets jobs from employer websites and job boards and puts them on its site. Another good site is called Hound.comwhich list volunteer jobs directly from employer sites.

    There really are a lot of good opportunities out there for volunteer jobs if you know where to look..