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Obama needed an "attack dog" to "maul" John McCain. So he chose the most venerable hot air balloon in the Senate?

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Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

Obama needed an "attack dog" to "maul" John McCain. So he chose the most venerable hot air balloon in the Senate?

Crack out the champagne bottles, Sen. McCain. Barack Obama has just conceded the 2008 presidential election to you with a vice presidential pick only a Harvard Law School professor could love.

The choice of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as Obama’s veep choice is so bizarre it leaves Al Gore and John Kerry looking like, well, at least Bill Clinton.

Let’s get this straight: Obama won the college and the suburban fat cat radical chic crowd by promising youth, dynamism, “change”, and a fresh new face to “clean up” Washington (where have we heard that before?), and he chose has his running mate – Joe Biden?? Obama is supposed to be an intellectual genius and the second coming of John Kennedy, yet he’s scared to take John McCain on one-on-one in a town hall meeting like a real man. Now he’s chosen to fall back on the most pompous, boring guy in the United States Senate to help him win.

The Candidate of Change had two first class ladies to chose from as his running mate (and no, we’re not talking about Hillary Clinton) and he does this? The Blackberry-gazing, Starbucks-sipping super-high-tech swingers have been whipped into a frenzy with the anticipated climax of getting the red-hot news texted to them – and they click on to learn that their Great Harvard Law School Hope daringly chose an old white geezer venerable enough to make Paris Hilton swoon for John McCain.

At least Al Gore gave himself a 15 point boost in the polls and put himself back into contention with George W. Bush in 2000 when he chose Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut as his running mate (People forget how thoroughly Bush was whomping Gore in the polls standings up to that point). And even John Kerry, that charismatic bundle of joy, could produce the illusion of freshness and wit by getting the media to swoon over John Edwards, even though Vice President Dick Cheney hooked Edwards in their vice presidential debate like a gasping trout.

Yeah, yeah, we all know the supposed “strategy” and “calculations" that impelled Obama to pick Biden: He needed an “attack dog” to “maul” John McCain. So he chose the most venerable hot air balloon in the Senate. Compared to this guy, John Kerry really is a genius.

Obama needed an "attack dog“ to go negative? Hey, that’s his job. He’s worried about his “leadership” image compared with John McCain? Getting a sexagenarian to do the dirty work he can’t do himself ain’t gonna make him walk tall. That‘s what any effective presidential candidate is meant to do to the other guy.

Almost any other choice would have made Obama look (well, maybe not good, but at least better) than this one. Gen. Wesley Clark is the former NATO Supreme Commander and, even if he nearly started World War III in 1999 by ordering British troops to use force to eject Russian paratroopers from an air base in Kosovo, at least he “stood up” to the Russians, right? (British Gen. Sir Michael Jackson refused to send his troops in and told Clark he wasn‘t going to start World War III for him.) But Clark hails from Arkansas and, as I saw with my own eyes during the 2004 presidential campaign, he has evolved a nice, relaxed and informal stump speaking style reminiscent of a good Southern Baptist pastor on Sunday morning that ordinary people appreciate, even if Democratic Party activists don’t.

Bill Richardson ‘s famed “coattails” have always been as imaginary as John Edwards. But at least he has been secretary of energy and ambassador to the United Nations without notable embarrassment — no small feat for any Democrat — and got himself elected governor of his own state of New Mexico.

And what about the ladies? Gov. Kathleen Sibelius of Kansas is respected throughout the Midwest, and Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona often sounds tougher on border security than McCain. Napolitano especially could have proved a formidable choice, forcing McCain to defend his home state and reviving the immigration issue on which he has been so vulnerable. All that and the first Italian-American ever on a presidential ticket for one of the two big parties. It is typical of Obama and his advisers that they never even took her seriously for a second.

If McCain were to throw his own conventional preferences out of the window and pick Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska – young, dynamic, articulate, intelligent, attractive and a feisty conservative to boot — he’ll take a lot more disillusioned lady Dems away from the Lamb.

Nor did Obama have the courage or wit to consider his only two real heavyweight options: Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia would have been the only choice who could have given Obama a prayer of any traction across the white, working class and lower middle class Scots-Irish Heartland. But in the eyes of Harvard Law School liberals and the Chicago Machine of the Daley Dynasty that made Obama what he is, patriotic populists don’t count as “real” Democrats at all, as Webb well knows.

And that leaves, of course, the Ineffable Hillary herself: Yes, she blew a quarter of a billion dollar-funded Sure Thing, and she couldn’t run a shoe store, let alone the United States of America. But, as polls show, even now more than half of her supporters are still fuming at Obama for beating her and more than 20 percent of them are actually prepared to vote for McCain. An at least Hillary can argue and look alive in a debate — which gives her Yale education a decided plus over Obama’s Harvard Law credentials.

Hillary did at least manage to win 18 million Democratic votes in the primaries – more, of course, than Obama himself did. By contrast, Biden brings … Delaware.

That’s his upside? Doesn’t Obama know that every East Coast driver who’s ever been skinned alive by those endless and shameless Delaware tolls on I-95 is going to be storming the voting booths to vote McCain? No, of course he doesn’t. He and Michelle are too busy nibbling their arugula salads to care.

Apart from monumental stupidity and a political death wish that Sigmund Freud would have killed to analyze, why did Obama do it? There can be only one reason: John McCain has gotten inside his head.

McCain has already proved himself vastly more decisive, dynamic, effective, smarter and fearless than Obama. (Yes, we know Barney the Dinosaur on public television could have done that too.) So what has Obama done? He has run to a reassuring Father Figure with all the imagined qualities that McCain really has and Obama knows that he himself so obviously lacks.

Like McCain, Biden has been more than three decades in the Senate and boasts, at least in the imagination of “West Wing” fans, an “impressive” record of “experience” on foreign policy. And of course, he‘s another old white dude. After all, it’s been working for McCain, huh?

Obama wanted to gave himself a boost riding into Denver. But his shot in the arm only put a bullet in his foot. Obama-Biden? These guys are gonna be more laughs than Tom and Jerry.

Written By

Martin Sieff is defense industry editor for United Press International. He has been nominated three times for the Pultizer Prize for international reporting. His latest book, ??The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East,? was published in January by Regnery.

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