The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Biden helps Obama’s lack of experience

As the Democratic Convention approached, all the media hype was surrounding the possible candidates for Senator Barack Obama’s Vice President. Well, the media can finally relax now that Obama has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be his running mate.

Now that the process of choosing the Vice Presidential candidate is over we can look at the events of the past few weeks. The media have been certain as to who the VP candidate was going to be, and each time they were incorrect. At one point it was Hilary Clinton, but as we all know that was a short lived belief. There was then the female Governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, who although a solid choice with her experience as a Governor and ability to grab the female vote, was not interested in leaving her current position in Arizona. Other possible choices included John Edwards, but with his recent personal life conflicts his name was dropped, Governor Kathleen Sebelius from Kansas, General Wesley Clark, and Senator Chris Dodd.

Within the past few days Obama’s VP shortlist seemed to be down to very few hopefuls including Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware and Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia.

All of these choices would have suited Senator Obama very well in one respect or another. Evan Bayh, a former Hilary Clinton supporter, would have been able to close the gap between Obama and Clinton supporters, which would have strengthened the Democratic base over the next month. Bayh is also considered a centrist in the Democratic Party and would have been a good balance for Obama, whom some consider an “extreme liberal”.

Then there was Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, a Democratic leader in a key swing state. One of the earliest supporters of Senator Obama, Kaine could have rallied support from his home state. Virginia’s electoral votes could be the ones necessary to win what is presumed to be a very close election.

Finally there is the actual Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden, a senior Senator from Delaware who brings political experience the critics say Obama lacks. Biden’s track record is especially pertinent in the area of foreign policy- he has been a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations since 1997 where he serves as chairman. Just the other day, President Bush sent Senator Biden to the country of Georgia to help deal with the conflict between Russia and Georgia as well as to acquire information for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Those who question Obama’s experience do so in the area of foreign relations. Adding Biden to the ticket will quiet those pundits. The Obama-Biden team will be tough to beat due to the combined experience of the two candidates which cover all areas, and Obama’s ability to gain support during debates and public appearances.

Though Senator Biden prevailed, there were many other names mentioned as possible running mates for Senator Obama, all pushed aside for different reasons.

Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska should not be overlooked. His experience as a Senator, record of bipartisanship,and outspoken opposition to President Bush make him a great candidate. Many of you may be thinking, why would Obama want a Republican running mate from a state which has little influence in the grand scheme of things? I think this would be a perfect statement for Obama to make to the country. Obama is a proponent of bipartisanship, and working towards a better America with support from both Republicans and Democrats; there is no better way to show this than having a bipartisan ticket. Hagel, who is a senior Senator and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, has the necessary experience to hold this position. Beyond this is the fact that Hagel was the lone Republican to speak out and vote against the War in Iraq and oppose the Bush administration’s foreign policy actions in the Middle East. Senator Hagel is also a Vietnam War Veteran and has the combat experience that John McCain criticizes Obama for lacking. Although Hagel is a Republican, he is a rare breed of politician who votes based on what he thinks is right and best for the American people, not just based on how his party would have him vote. An Obama – Hagel ticket would show the American people that an effort is being made to bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans and work for a better America for everyone.

For all of you who disagree with the last few statements made, you won’t have to worry because Hagel is retiring from the Senate and Obama has a Vice Presidential candidate, even though he would be great for the job. The best we can hope for now is that if Obama is elected president on November 4, that he will name Hagel to a cabinet position, because it would be a shame to lose the intelligence and insight of a man with a record as a great politician as well as a good person. Until then, it will be interesting to see how Joe Biden raises support for Obama and if the media pundits will stop talking about the “lack of experience” for Senator Obama. With Joe Biden at his side, there is no political topic either Obama or Biden has had no previous experience in.

Garrett Landry is a junior political science major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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