Gravitas - Macleans.ca

Gravitas

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The choice of Senator Joe Biden seems to be well received by Democrats in general, and Hillary Clinton was quick to lend her support to the new ticket. It is a solid choice and one that addresses some of the perceived weaknesses in the Obama candidacy. Biden’s experience and credentials give the Democrats a ticket that balances vision and passion with purpose and stability. Latest polls have indicated slippage with Obama but Biden brings the toughness and the foreign-policy expertise to match Republican John McCain. In a word, gravitas.

Despite the general appreciation for the Biden selection, it was a conventional and safe choice by most standards. He is able to stand in as president should tragedy strike, brings potential electoral strength with Catholics and blue-collar workers, and can be helpful in some swing states like Pennsylvania. By choosing a more traditional type of running mate, it does say something about the presidential nominee. Obama may seem unconventional and his vision of change more emotive than concrete but with this choice, the Illinois senator shows a streak of realism to go with with idealism. With Biden, he will get the real deal and the ticket is stronger for that.

The Biden story will be heard in the days to come and it will impress. A man who has had his share of personal tragedy and adversity, a person of personal courage and tireless devotion to public service. Some Clinton supporters may feel slighted but we can expect her full support. The Democrats will unite behind this ticket and they should because it can win.

The impact on the McCain campaign is already being felt. A new attack ad showing Biden questioning Obama’s credentials is being aired. However, Biden’s debating skills, intelligence and his knowledge of national security matters will probably force McCain to make a conventional and safe choice of his own. Mitt Romney and Joe Leiberman come to mind. Already, we feel the McCain camp is very defensive about the choice. But today, it is Obama and Biden’s day and the Democratic ticket can once again use the next week to set the course for the next campaign.

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