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In Their Shadow

The Washington Post observes that Joe Biden’s positions on NAFTA and the Iraq war vote were the same as John McCain’s, making it dicier for Barack Obama to attack him on either grounds. But what comes across in the article are not the policy complications posed by Biden, but the degree to which Biden’s presence in the Senate and involvement on these issues entirely dwarfed Obama’s. Where was Obama during all of this? Not even in the Senate. And what did Obama do once he arrived? Not much when compared either to John McCain or Biden.

The Convention may recalibrate the relationship between the halves of the Democratic ticket and re-elevate Obama. But for now, he seems  inconsequential in comparison to two of the other three members of the presidential quartet. One wonders if Obama can even get a word in edgewise when Biden is around.

It is bad enough to be running for President as an unaccomplished Senator in his third year, but it is even worse to face two of his more prominent colleagues. By picking another Senator, Obama has converted this, at least for now, into a battle of the Senators. You can imagine Biden and McCain going toe-to-toe. But just how does Obama fit in?

It seemed easier for Obama to rise above the crowd when he was running as The One. But if The One is fading into “another liberal politician,” he now faces the problem of making himself more impressive than his peers. And the simple fact is that by virtually any standard of achievement (other than the ability to beat Hillary Clinton in the first half of the Democratic primary) he just isn’t.



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