Senator Joe Biden is the kind of vice presidential possibility that D.C. insiders and the big media love, but who would be worse than useless on the campaign trail. Yes, he has experience. But nobody in purple America knows that Biden has experience, because they don’t know who Biden is. All they see is a blow-dried East Coast elitist out of central casting. “Who’s Joe Biden?” they ask. He’s a senator from Delaware. “What’s Delaware?”
Biden won’t give Obama a single vote he wouldn’t otherwise win in any contested state. The other Obama prospects aren’t very good, but they have more going for them electorally than Biden. Kathleen Sebelius could tranquilize a brontosaurus, but she has Ohio roots and the proven ability to win a red state. She won’t flip Kansas into the blue column, but she’ll play reasonably well in the Midwest and might placate Hillary Clinton’s angry-ovaries voters. Tim Kaine might be a little better: he too has some crossover appeal as a rare Democrat who sounds authentic talking about his faith (Catholic). And, yes, Peggy Noonan (in her Kauffmanesque column on the placelessness of the candidates) is more or less right, his haircut is either his greatest asset or his greatest liability:
On the Democrats, who are up first, I firmly announce I like every name floated so far, for different reasons (Joe Biden offers experience and growth; Evan Bayh seems by nature moderate; Sam Nunn is that rare thing, a serious man whom all see as a serious man.) But part of me tugs for Tim Kaine of Virginia, because he has a wonderful American Man haircut, not the cut of the man in first but the guy in coach who may be the air marshal. He looks like he goes once every 10 days to Jimmy Hoffa’s barber and says, “Gimme a full Detroit.”
The odds aren’t good that Kaine can win Virginia for the Democrats, but there’s at least the outside possibility that the state will flip if he adds one or two points to Obama’s performance in the Old Dominion. Of course, if Obama wants to add points in Virginia, he’d be better off picking Mark Warner. (Personally, I wish Jim Webb hadn’t ruled out running with Obama.)
None of these prospects, needless to say, will do much for conservatives, even for the dwindling ranks of Obamacons. Then again, there’s no chance that McCain’s pick will do anything for non-neo conservatives either, unless he chooses South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. And that would be a tragedy, because it would almost certainly ruin one of the few reasonably good Republicans we have left.