With his acceptance speech Joe Biden demonstrated exactly why he was chosen to be on the ticket with Barack Obama. Biden’s speech was a combination of blue collar empathy, and strong attacks against John McCain.
Biden began, “Let me make this pledge to you right here and now. For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: The vice president’s office is on the phone.”
He talked about the America he sees, “I’ve never seen a time when Washington has watched so many people get knocked down without doing anything to help them get back up. Almost every night, I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes very late. As I look out the window at the homes we pass, I can almost hear what they’re talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed.”
“Like millions of Americans, they’re asking questions as profound as they are ordinary. Questions they never thought they would have to ask: Should mom move in with us now that dad is gone? Fifty, sixty, seventy dollars to fill up the car? Winter’s coming. How we gonna pay the heating bills? Another year and no raise? Did you hear the company may be cutting our health care? Now, we owe more on the house than it’s worth. How are we going to send the kids to college? How are we gonna be able to retire?,” Biden said.
“That’s the America that George Bush has left us, and that’s the future John McCain will give us. These are not isolated discussions among families down on their luck. These are common stories among middle-class people who worked hard and played by the rules on the promise that their tomorrows would be better than their yesterdays. That promise is the bedrock of America. It defines who we are as a people. And now it’s in jeopardy. I know it. You know it. But John McCain doesn’t get it. Barack Obama gets it. Like many of us, Barack worked his way up. His is a great American story,” Biden continued.
Most of his speech was dedicated to attacking John McCain’s judgment, “John thinks that during the Bush years “we’ve made great progress economically.” I think it’s been abysmal. And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that’s not change; that’s more of the same. Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That’s not change; that’s more of the same. He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage. For people who are struggling just to get to the next day, that’s not change; that’s more of the same. And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.”
Biden also talked about foreign policy, “As we gather here tonight, our country is less secure and more isolated than at any time in recent history. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has dug us into a very deep hole with very few friends to help us climb out… Now, despite being complicit in this catastrophic foreign policy, John McCain says Barack Obama isn’t ready to protect our national security. Now, let me ask you: whose judgment should we trust? Should we trust John McCain’s judgment when he said only three years ago, “Afghanistan—we don’t read about it anymore because it’s succeeded”? Or should we trust Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan?”
Biden concluded, “Millions of Americans have been knocked down. And this is the time as Americans, together, we get back up. Our people are too good, our debt to our parents and grandparents too great, our obligation to our children is too sacred. These are extraordinary times. This is an extraordinary election. The American people are ready. I’m ready. Barack Obama is ready. This is his time. This is our time. This is America’s time.”
This is why Biden is on the ticket. Biden is a working class guy that has brought those values back to the Democratic Party, while at the same time he has the gravitas to go toe to toe with the Republicans and John McCain on foreign policy. Obama’s appearance tonight was a bit of a necessity, because of the Obama campaign’s credentialing system for his speech at Invesco Field tomorrow night. I don’t think it took anything away from Biden. It, in fact, added anticipation for tomorrow.