Have Joe Biden and Barack Obama actually bothered talking to each other in the last couple of days?
In the space of 24 short hours, we’ve seen:
- Sen. Biden castigating the Obama campaign for the campaign ad mocking John McCain for not being able to use a keyboard (and later implying McCain had it coming);
- Sen. Obama saying Biden “should have waited” before deciding to oppose the bailout of AIG last week;
- Biden jabbing his finger in a young woman’s face and disavowing the development of clean coal technology, contrary to Obama’s stated position (and conflating it with “dirty-coal” plants in China in the process, which kind of ignores the point of CCT as an alternative to dirty coal in the first place).
Caroline Kennedy’s BlackBerry must be smoking with hate email from the Obama campaign these days. “Thanks a million for the yeoman vetting process, lady.”
It’s hardly unusual for running mates to disagree. Eight years ago Joe Lieberman was forced to “evolve” his positions on a number of issues (affirmative action, the content of Hollywood output, etc.) in order to make sure he didn’t make things too difficult for Al Gore. Much was made in 1980 of the differences between Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush on supply-side economics (“voodoo economics,” according to Bush during the primaries).
John McCain and Sarah Palin are famously on opposite sides of the fence regarding drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an issue near and dear to the Alaska governor’s heart for years. However, the difference between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin is that with the latter, you get the clear impression that they have at least discussed the matter between them, even if they haven’t come to a meeting of minds yet.
Points of disagreement between Obama and Biden, on the other hand, always seem to come as a surprise to them both when asked about them by reporters or voters, and you’re invariably filled with dread at what the next conversation between the two of them is probably going to be like.