August 23, 2008

Stream Of Rivals

"This Nation (under God) shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

As odd as it sounds, Abraham Lincoln has been on my mind for the last few weeks, and today his relevance seemed paramount. I was in DC a couple months back, and was able to see the Lincoln Monument. It's my second favorite place in the District, right behind Capitol Building. I also recently watched Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, a film that features the Monument in a few key scenes. While I was there, I also visited Senator Obama's office, where a picture of Abe hangs prominently on the wall of the reception area. It's probably because they both represented the Great State of Illinois (Lincoln in the House) as Congressmen, but I'd like to think it's because Obama recognizes Lincoln's fantastic leadership style.

In particular, I'm reminded of the leadership discussed in the book Team of Rivals. You'll see why in second. The book explores Abraham Lincoln and the people who he chose to surround him in high-level policy-making positions. It's been on my "To Read" list for quite sometime now, and I think this morning's events just catapulted it to number one in the queue. What's the relevance, you ask? Barack Obama chose Joe Biden to be his Vice Presidential running mate for the '08 Election, but Joe and Barry haven't always been on the best of terms.

He made that comment about Obama being clean and articulate, and told (Jason Bateman look-alike) George Stephanolopous that he thought Barack Obama was not ready to be our next President. Of course, John "I'll Get Back To You On That" McCain is all over this, spouting his usual negative rhetoric:

But I'm looking at if from a different perspective. Their storied past doesn't have to be a bad thing. Abraham Lincoln surrounded himself with people who didn't always agree with him, and through his leadership a nation ended a horribly unnecessary war and began to heal. Hillary (and Joe, for that matter) made Barack a better candidate because they didn't always see eye to eye, and Joe will make him a much better President for the same reasons. Having a steady stream of rivals will only make Obama stronger. Plus, I read somewhere that "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Just thinking out loud...

"Ladies and gentlemen, your kitchen table is like mine. You sit there at night before you put the kids -- after you put the kids to bed and you talk, you talk about what you need. You talk about how much you are worried about being able to pay the bills. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's not a worry John McCain has to worry about. It's a pretty hard experience. He'll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at."
Vice Presidential Candidate Joseph Biden


Dan Maxey said...

It's not his opportunity to challenge Obama that I am most afraid of, it's his ability to put his foot squarely in his mouth regularly.

You do, however, make an important point. I disagree with those who think Senator Obama had to pick someone who agreed with him on a range of policies and decisions, including the vote to authorize the war in Iraq. For all his tiring oration, Senator Biden is a senior statesman who has accomplished a great deal to the benefit of our country. I pray his addition to the ticket will be judged by history as a wise move and believe it will be if he can keep from embarassing himself and Senator Obama by saying something off-color.

Aaron Stiner, DRB said...

You are back with a blogging vengeance!

I LOVED the Biden comment about the kitchen tables. I loved his whole speech. Especially his riff on how disappointed he is in McCain's turn towards the right. And his tying of McCain to Bush was right on spot. I think he's a great pick!

Now let's hope the PUMAs don't fuck things up!