Presidential candidate Barack Obama declared Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate via text message early Saturday morning, August 23. Later that day at the public announcement of his selection, Obama said, “[Biden] is that rare mix. For decades, he has brought change to Washington, but Washington hasn’t changed him. He’s an expert on foreign policy whose heart and values are rooted firmly in the middle class.”
Obama, a public advocate and civil rightist, lacks critical foreign policy experience, something he’s frequently hounded for by his opponents. On the issues, Biden closely relates to Obama, with a more libertarian tone. The key factor for Biden on this ticket is the whopping 33 years of experience with foreign policy with the Senate, chairing its Committee on Foreign Relations for three years. Biden frequently travels abroad (Iraq, Afghanistan, and Georgia most recently) to speak with foreign leaders and discuss international conflicts. He also co-chairs the Senate’s NATO Observer Group (a group that keeps the Senate updated with and involved in NATO’s decisions) and vice-chairs the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (organization of NATO member countries’ legislatures).
Foreign policy is certainly Biden’s most valuable quality to Obama, but he also boasts a hefty national resume. On the issues, Biden closely relates to Obama, with a more libertarian tone. Since 1977, Biden has been a member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (senate body that reviews laws and investigates important national issues), chairing it for eight years. Of its seven subcommittees, he chairs its Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs and is a member of subcommittees for human rights, immigration and border security, technology terrorism and homeland security, and consumer rights. Biden’s major focus in the U.S. is combating illicit drugs, especially the notorious date rape drugs like Rohypnol, introducing legislation against the growing club drug scene at rave parties. Also, since 1990 he has authored laws to prohibit trafficking of steroids and has added 18 substances to the list of banned steroids.
Overall, Biden has more experience in a public office than Obama, McCain, and Palin (only five other senators have held office longer than Biden), yet he is considered one of the least wealthy senators. Neither Biden nor Obama has been a mayor, governor, or vice president; the last president who had held none of these positions was President Kennedy in the early ‘60s. However, their extensive domestic and foreign policy skills complement each other to form a well-balanced ticket and future well-balanced administration in the White House.