Obama-Biden: What Does It Mean?

Joe Biden has joined Barack Obama on the Democratic ticket
Joe Biden. Photo in public domain

The text message hadn’t yet arrived: the media, once again, by way of stakeout, pestered its way to this scoop. After 1 a.m. Saturday morning, and after leaks throughout Friday evening indicated that Barack Obama’s vice presidential finalists were being slowly disqualified from the veepstakes, it’s official that Obama will run with six-term Delaware Democratic Sen. Joe Biden.

Obama’s choosing Biden will present all of the positive and negative effects that the punditocracy can muster up, but picking Biden is certainly more than simply running with a Washington fixture with a quick wit and a progressive bent. He has more foreign policy experience than John McCain, and that’s what we’re going to hear in the coming days.

But what about at home? Biden’s 1994 crime bill was lauded as putting more police on the streets resulting in a reduction in violence nationwide. In 2007, the senator introduced a reauthorization of many of the original elements of the 1994 bill, including the reauthorization of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; adding 1,000 FBI agents to focus on traditional crime (Biden has argued a drop in FBI resources since 9/11); creating a national commission on crime intervention and prevention strategies; a proposed reduction in recidivism; and not to mention the renewing of the assault weapons ban while closing the gun show loophole.

So while we’re going to hear a lot about a foreign policy balance on the Democratic ticket, let’s ask ourselves what this ticket, with Obama’s community organizing background, can do for American communities.

Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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