Juxtaposition

What I find interesting about the split-screen cut that occurs here during this Biden clip is that it occurred on Fox News:

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Biden, Swinging

Sean Quinn at 538 was impressed:

In the hockey analogy, Palin wouldn’t get within a thousand miles of an NHL All-Star Game because she’s not a scoring talent. She’s a role player, an emotion-rouser. Emotion messes with the chalkboard-drawn game plan and thus achieves a specific strategic objective. She can make game-changing agitation plays that rouse her home team and provoke the other side into counterattacks that –- 100% of the time -– end up punishing the team who hits back. Democrats would be smart to understand her as such, and I see a lot of reaction that doesn’t seem to grasp what Palin is doing and the value she’s providing. I see a lot of Democrats taking a lot of bait.

This applies more to Democratic surrogates than it does to the top-ticket duo. Joe Biden had the smart response yesterday –- naming the behavior -– expecting it, and then riding through without taking the bait. … And that’s all he says of Palin’s antics. Name the behavior, even praising the skill with which the agitation was attempted, and then back to focus. It’s “the economy, stupid.”

So Far in the Convention

Blogging’s been a bit light around here (social obligations, plus things being soggy around here thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay) so I’m a bit late to commenting on the Dem’s big party. But these things stick out:

  1. Hillary’s were-you-in-it-for-me-or-the-cause moment Tuesday night. Pitch perfect, and absolutely the right question. Eventually, the intended targets of that question will answer, “the cause.”
  2. Joe Biden’s riff on the economy. No raise, falling home values, rising gas prices, all concerns for the middle class. A blow well-struck. He was less convincing on foreign policy, however.
  3. Bill Clinton’s hammering on the economy. Not the way I would have done it — all one need to is compare the misery index components at the end of his administration to those prevailing now — but effective nonetheless. 

Obama’s task in his acceptance is to build on what Biden and Bill had to say about the economy.

One Conservative’s Take on Biden

James Poulos:

No, Biden is not a sign of desperation but its opposite: calm. Recall that Picking Biden is a giant kiss-off to the Democratic party since Clinton — and a reminder that Biden would have made, by championship long jumps, a better Presidential nominee than a hapless knob like Dukakis or a professional chump like Walter Mondale. These guys are Losers, and Biden has only lost repeatedly at one thing in his life: running for President.

Obama/Biden

All in all, I don’t think the choice makes all that much difference to Obama’s chances. The more important thing is that it didn’t hurt, and didn’t create downstream problems in potentially running the government, as the choice of Clinton undoubtedly would have. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight basically agrees:

What’s noteworthy is not so much that Biden will turn a lot of McCain voters on — Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton would have done a better job of that — but that he’ll turn very few Obama voters off. As a result, this method projects a net swing of 2 points toward Obama, which is better than he’d do with any of the other candidates.

I’m not convinced there’s any swing at all. 

What the pick does tell us is that Obama feels confident enough about his chances that he didn’t have to risk a Hail Mary, which is what Clinton on the ticket would have represented. The analogy here is to 1980 when Reagan briefly considered putting Gerald Ford on the ticket and then decided, wisely, that an administration is only big enough for one president, and that picking Ford would have communicated weakness.

The question now is what will McCain do. The past five weeks are notable for his having completed the process of bringing the right on board. He has more latitude now and doesn’t have to chose a Huckabee, say, to shore up his credentials. Romney has had an air of inevitability about him but it’s well known that McCain just doesn’t like the guy personally. But a more off-the-wall pick like Lieberman would have a Hail Mary quality all its own.