As current polling stands, the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is between three people: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. But it would do you well to remember that just weeks before the 2004 Iowa and New Hampshire contests, Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt were leading in the pre-election polls. The two men who would eventually make up the party's ticket - Kerry and Edwards - were mired in single digits at the bottom of the pack.
That little fact gives me hope for my candidate: Senator Joe Biden, of Delaware.
To be sure, the Democratic field is strong and each candidate has made a strong case for their nomination to take on the Republicans next November. But, in my eyes, Biden has astounded Americans with his tell-it-like-it-is truthfulness, his mastery of domestic policy, and his firm grasp of international affairs. His is the steady hand we will need to get America through the morass of minefields the Bush Administration will leave behind in January of 2009.
Barack Obama would be a superb candidate as well. His attempt to turn red and blue America into a more solid shade of purple is admirable and sorely needed. His personal history would make a "President Obama" a key transitory figure in American politics. He has the potential to provide a reset moment that historians could look back on as a turning point for the U.S. both domestically and internationally.
However ...Biden, I think, brings much more than the proverbial reset moment to the table. He also brings 35 years of deep knowledge and experience that the rest of the field combined can't live up to.
First and foremost, his command of global affairs is beyond reproach. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden has distinguished himself against the incompetent fool currently residing in the White House, offering the only workable alternative plan to fix the mess that is the Iraq War (a loose federal system under which the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds would each control their own territory).
The Iraq debacle has cost America a huge chunk of her reputation around the world, and Biden's international star-power would be a huge asset in next year's general election. He says his first order of business as president would be to shut down the torture chambers at Guantanamo Bay prison. And what a moment that would be! That one single step would go a long way toward reclaiming respect and admiration, relighting Lady Liberty's torch as a guide to those other countries around the globe who had - before George W. Bush - previously looked to America as a source of freedom and strength.
During the course of this primary campaign, Biden has been the only real grown up on those debate stages, telling it like it is while the others danced around the questions, afraid to give solid answers because it might cost them votes. After eight years of Bush and Cheney and their secretive and destructive form of government, Biden's truthfulness and competence would be a breath of fresh air. Those traits could translate into a huge Democratic victory next November, with Biden playing the up-front, honest, and strong "Reagan" to the incompetence of the Republicans' "Carter" (whoever their nominee turns out to be).
Many of my more progressive friends and liberal readers will probably be spitting at the computer screen right about now. "Why not Edwards!?" "I thought you liked Obama?" "What the fuck! Biden?!!"
The plain and simple fact is this: The Democrats have lost five of the last seven presidential elections, and at some point you just get sick and tired of losing. The other Democratic candidates are competent, and each would make a strong president. But Biden is the guy who would not only guarantee us a win...but he would win big. Once in office, he would bring a competence to governing that would, in turn, bring some moderate Republicans and Reagan Democrats into our column for years to come.
He's the most likely to win because, mark my words, foreign policy will be the number one issue on voters minds next November. While any of the Democrats would go into the election with the upper-hand on that issue when compared to the Republicans, the unfortunate fact of the matter is Americans hold Democrats to a much higher standard on the issues of war and peace. As such, our candidate needs to be an "A+" student, not simply an "A" student.
This presidential election is said to favor the Democrats. I agree, only to the extent that we nominate the right candidate. Hillary, Barack, and John could well be victorious next November. But Joe would definitely seal the deal. His competence and steady hand are beyond reproach.
And that is why I will cast my vote in the Democratic presidential primary for Joe Biden. I urge you to do the same.