EDITORIAL | Staying inside the political box

So now we know. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware will be Barack Obama's running mate in the coming presidential election.Choosing Biden represents a practical, pragmatic and even logical choice for the Democratic ticket. He's a six-term senator, a former presidential candidate and an acknowledged foreign policy expert whose presence should add some heft to the Democratic ticket. Also, Biden is expected to be something of an attack dog in the coming months, someone who won't hesitate to lob verbal attacks against John McCain and whomever McCain chooses for his vice president.The Democrats also expect that Biden will provide a dose of name recognition. Anyone following this year's contest closely will recall he declared for the nomination this year, fresh off a verbal gaffe that doomed his slim chances before he was out of the gate. Biden's blue-collar roots and pro-union stance should be appealing to some voters. And his lengthy Senate career and foreign-policy credentials are presumed to offset what are considered Obama's biggest deficiencies. There is supportable thinking behind choosing Biden; he's not a bad choice.But he's hardly an inspired one.On one level, his selection represents business as usual as far as two-party politics is concerned. Consider that Obama's candidacy did inspire some people during the primaries. Earlier this year, as the Obama campaign gained momentum, the senator's oratorical gifts suggested that perhaps all the talk of hope and change was more than a well-delivered rhetorical flourish. If you held your breath for minute you could even try to believe that something resembling change was actually on the horizon.As a result, one might have hoped that Obama's trendsetting candidacy would have generated a less conventional choice. If anyone beyond the Beltway thinks of Biden at all it has to be as a complete Washington insider, and it would be difficult for it to be otherwise after his 35 years in Congress. And it's not like Biden is a sure bet to deliver a state that that's on the electoral fence. People who might vote for Biden largely consist of those who would have voted for Obama anyway. Biden hardly represents an absence of hope. But he does represent acquiescing to political reality, which, given the previous bright light of Obama's campaign, is something of a shame.Put another way, choosing Biden is an example of thinking inside the box.[[In-content Ad]]