Patterico's Pontifications


Why Obama May Have Picked Biden

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama selected Joe Biden for his experience, especially in foreign policy. He might also have selected him for his age to counteract any argument regarding Obama’s comparative youth.

I agree with those views but I think there is more. Why would Obama choose the only person – other than Hillary, who I doubt Obama ever seriously considered – that has consistently said experience matters? Joe Biden has been saying experience matters for a long time as evidenced by this Biden ad from 20 years ago:

“The White House isn’t a place to learn how to deal with international crisis, the balance of power… the economic future of the next generation,” the narrator of Biden’s 1988 ad for the Democratic nomination said. “The president has got to know the territory.”

This criticism has already been used by the GOP to discredit Obama and will be used again. However, what makes Biden desirable despite these statements are his background and family values.

David Brooks recently recounted how Biden’s father had been wealthy but lost his fortune and spent the rest of his life as a proud member of the working class. Brooks’ stories suggest Biden may know what it’s like to feel like a second-class citizen, and if so that’s something Obama probably identifies with.

In addition, Biden has a compelling story. Biden was teased as a child for stuttering but overcame it, went to law school, and helped other stutterers. He suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm in 1988. And just before Biden began his Senate career at age 29, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident and he was left to raise two small boys. [EDIT: Biden’s sons were critically injured in the accident and Biden took his Senatorial oath of office in his son’s hospital room.] Biden commuted each day between Washington and Wilmington instead of uprooting his sons. Five years after his wife’s death, Biden remarried and has been married to Jill Jacobs Biden for 30 years. They have a daughter Ashley and Biden has 4 granddaughters.

George W. Bush ran for President in 2000 on the theme of compassionate conservatism. This approach appealed to conservatives but also to moderates and blue-collar Democrats who agree with conservative family values but worry that conservative policies aren’t compassionate. Bush co-opted the Democratic message of compassion but he didn’t have to show his policies were more compassionate than Democratic policies. He only had to show that he was compassionate enough.

I think Barack Obama plans to run George Bush’s campaign except he knows that, as a Democrat, voters believe he is compassionate and ‘feels their pain.’ His goal is to emphasize family values and co-opt that as a GOP issue.

The Obama campaign has repeatedly emphasized Obama’s commitment to Michelle and their daughters and Biden’s story confirms and strengthens that message, especially when compared to the story of John McCain’s first marriage. Obama-Biden will promote family values to convince moderate Americans they are good enough on family values to deserve their votes:

“Barack Obama introduced Sen. Joe Biden Saturday as his vice presidential running mate, positioning the Senate’s fifth-most-senior member as a “rare mix” of working-class roots, foreign policy experience and compelling biography.”

We should hear a lot about family values in this campaign, only this time it will be from the Democrats.


88 Responses to “Why Obama May Have Picked Biden”

  1. It’s good to be reminded that though you may disagree with a particular candidate, and though you might find them pompous and insufferable, that candidate just may have a very compelling life story worthy of one’s respect. Thanks for the details on Biden, DRJ. I’m not going to vote for him or the Obamessiah, but at least I can admire where they come from and how they have negotiated life’s difficulties.

    (This comment is rendered invalid if it turns out that Biden is fooling around with some young staff worker. Not that there have been any allegations of this.)

    JVW (d54fc4)

  2. Biden has a compelling story but he is still a windbag with his foot permanently attached to his mouth. The conclusion I agree with is that Obama is on the run.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. Biden certainly has a sympathetic story that will garner much compassion and coupled with his age, will certainly work to his benefit. (Its smarmy to see these great tragedies reduced to mere cogs in political machinery.)

    I wonder how Biden’s views on abortion will mesh with Obama’s. Last I read, Biden believes life begins at conception. In this one thing, he at least has the backbone to make a commitment to a timeframe. He also voted to support the partial birth abortion ban. Since Obama’s blunder at Saddleback, even McCain is now attacking Obama’s inability to make a stand for life and his support of partial birth abortions, this is becoming an increasing problem for Obama….in light of this could Biden also be the Chosen One’s chosen one to deflect and soften this increasing scrutinization of Obama, abortion and his subsequent lies to cover up?

    Dana (084de8)

  4. Dana,

    Biden is a pro-choice Catholic so that might have made him attractive to the Obama campaign.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  5. Yeah, Biden’s a great guy–just ask Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas–a regular prince among men.

    (and no, I’m not confusing him with Ted Kennedy)

    ECM (de5660)

  6. I think Barack Obama plans to run George Bush’s campaign except he knows that, as a Democrat, voters believe he is compassionate and ‘feels their pain.’ His goal is to emphasize family values and co-opt that as a GOP issue.

    Is “God damn America” a family value?

    Cicero (3acd31)

  7. DRJ, uh, that was sort of my point…I was also attempting to flesh it out more. He is pro-choice yet voted for the partial birth ban, so in light of the blowback post-Saddleback that Obama’s position has rendered him, selecting Joe Biden may soften the blows that will no doubt increase regarding this issue.

    Dana (084de8)

  8. I understand, Dana, but I wanted to make it clear Biden is Catholic. It’s a mixed bag, just as it was for John Kerry.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  9. Sigh. I guess I assumed we all knew he was Catholic. I was just thinking aloud re where Biden fits into the puzzle, that’s all.

    Dana (084de8)

  10. “compassionate conservatism” is neither compassionate nor conservative. It’s Marxism in a pretty dress.

    Bob Smith (281b12)

  11. …of course Biden is Catholic, why would a non-Catholic growl,

    “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”


    Dana (084de8)

  12. Dana,
    Biden will help clean up that partial Saddleback backroom-mess that Obama left behind. It looks like he’ll have a boxing glove on one hand and a heavy-duty mop in the other (for whenever the baby burps). I know what you mean..

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  13. The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”

    Oh dear. Maybe Biden should be writing for Bill Maher.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  14. Thanks, Vermont Neighbor. I thought it must’ve gotten lost in translation…

    Its easy to conjure a mental pic of Biden being the pure muscle and street tough for the wonder boy.

    Dana (084de8)

  15. Obama found out what most Americans knew. We need an old White Guy in the White House after all.

    Dennis D (ae900a)

  16. It sure could get crowded under Bambi’s bus. Bill Ayers already has his reservation. He’s next, but Bill and Hill are scheduled to join Reverend Wrong and Granny as soon as THE ONE gets the nod in Denver. If he gets the nod.

    Joe Biden can’t run from his many attacks on uTube knocking THE ONE pretty hard. If McCain puts the spotlight on Biden’s Bambi bashing, ‘ol Joe will just have to go for a ride too. (Don’t say it can’t be done, remember Tom Eagleton?)

    Things haven’t been this interesting since FDR got in bed with Lucky Luciano.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  17. Obama will have a hard time selling the compassionate family values schtick considering the Democrat party’s (and his) stance on family values issues like abortion. He’ll also be hard pressed to convince working class folks that he’s compassionate given his position on drilling for oil to reduce energy prices, and plans to raise taxes (what amounts to) across the board.

    I also wonder how Americans will react to Biden’s smearing of the Haditha Marines before they had even been tried. By the way — for those not keeping up with that story — eight of the nine Marines involved have been exonerated. One case is still pending.

    And, yes, Biden’s history is sad and interesting. But, I find it more than a little disturbing that the campaign might use the deaths of his wife and daughter to show that he has a compelling life story. I just don’t think it’s appropriate to use a tradgedy like that in a political campaign.

    Jim C

    Jim C (3ddcf4)

  18. Omigosh, Dennis. Just this morning I thought of a line for the Pumas: Don’t send in a black man to do a white woman’s work. But then I thought, that can’t be posted. It’s just over the top. Like Rush and his on-air joke.

    If DRJ is right (good analysis), these two could cobble something together and get an A. But so far Biden has said more complimentary things about McCain as Prez than Obama! How ironic is that.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  19. Dana,
    His diehards will take anything at this point. All mistakes and flip-flops are met with gracious happiness. I thought they wanted a new Washington, post-race… hope and change and all that. Joe Biden is none of those.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  20. ECM at 5:33 PM

    Don’t forget Sam Alito whose wife fled the hearing room in tears. Joe played the clown in that hearing donning a Princeton cap during the hearing to assure Alito he wasn’t prejudiced against Princeton or its graduates.

    Stu707 (6e4ad5)

  21. That’s pretty complex reasoning. I think it’s simply and mostly that Obama felt comfortable with and not inferior to Biden. There may have been a subconscious imitation of JFK going on here too, choosing a voluble and earthier man to offset his own coolness. There may prove a nice yin-yang here that enables Obama to feel his groove.

    It seems to me McCain has a huge opportunity now by going with a woman. Is Palin possible, is she up to it?

    rrpjr (fb0748)

  22. Dana,
    63 House Democrats and 17 Senate Democrats voted for the partial-birth abortion ban. Biden has a 100% favorable rating from NARAL for every year other than 2003 (when he voted for the ban and received only a 36% rating — guess we know which side of that issue they were on).

    Icy Truth (784175)

  23. Selected passages from an analysis of the Biden pick, by AP writer RON FOURNIER:

    In picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate, Barack Obama sought to shore up his weakness – inexperience in office and on foreign policy – rather than underscore his strength as a new-generation candidate defying political conventions.

    He picked a 35-year veteran of the Senate – the ultimate insider – rather than a candidate from outside Washington, such as Govs. Tim Kaine of Virginia or Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

    The picks say something profound about Obama: For all his self-confidence, the 47-year-old Illinois senator worried that he couldn’t beat Republican John McCain without help from a seasoned politician willing to attack. The Biden selection is the next logistical step in an Obama campaign that has become more negative – a strategic decision that may be necessary but threatens to run counter to his image.

    A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his boss has expressed impatience with what he calls a “reverence” inside his campaign for his message of change and new politics. In other words, Obama is willing – even eager – to risk what got him this far if it gets him to the White House.

    So the question is whether Biden’s depth counters Obama’s inexperience – or highlights it?

    After all, Biden is anything but a change agent, having been in office longer than half of all Americans have been alive. Longer than McCain.

    And he talks too much.

    Icy Truth (784175)

  24. Your points are very compelling

    edward cropper (197b03)

  25. Technically, we see BHO rewarding racism: Biden’s documented remarks. On the other hand, he stiffed women via Hillary and Sebelius.

    Jesse should take him to the woodshed.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  26. Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony
    side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?

    We all know that people are the same where ever we go
    There is good and bad in ev’ryone,
    we learn to live, we learn to give
    each other what we need to survive together alive.

    Icy Truth (784175)

  27. #17: …
    And, yes, Biden’s history is sad and interesting. But, I find it more than a little disturbing that the campaign might use the deaths of his wife and daughter to show that he has a compelling life story. I just don’t think it’s appropriate to use a tradgedy like that in a political campaign.

    I also don’t think it’s appropriate. But then again, there was John Edwards…. Look how well that turned out.

    I think DRJ is right that we will be hearing a lot about family values from the Dims. Just not sure anyone will be buying it. All McCain has to do is contrast it with Obama’s support for infanticide while in the Illinois Legislature. That kinda overwhelms almost anything they can do on family values.

    Why Biden? I suspect the first choice was Bayh (remember the bumper-stickers). {And wasn’t there something about the announcement being made in Indiana?} Something happened along the way and Bayh backed out. Down to last minute shuffle and Ole Joe pops out on top. There may have even been another last minute choice or two who said “No.” I just don’t see Joe Biden as the best VP choice. All that may explain the delay in releasing and the almost unexplainable 3AM text message with the VP announcement. It makes a nice dig at Hillary, and I can’t believe that doesn’t play into this somehow, but the entire release thing is so amateurish. Definitely not ready for prime time.

    Gad! Stream of consciousness again.

    Bill M (5e9a70)

  28. I’m not quite clear on why people think Biden is a foreign policy straight-shooter. Isn’t this the guy that wanted us to give Iran a $200 million check?

    Biden’s tragic personal experience doesn’t, I think, match up to McCain’s personal experience in Vietnam–at least for a (vice-)Presidential candidate.

    I think the interesting contrast between Obama and Biden is that Biden actually makes Obama look more Presidential by comparison, even though Biden has more experience.

    But Biden’s years in Congress don’t rectify Obama’s lack of experience. I mean, what’s the argument? “If Obama dies, we’ll have an experienced person in office”? Biden isn’t going to magically grant Obama experience in handling these issues, and as long as Obama’s the one handling them, Biden’s experience doesn’t count for much–except insofar as it affects the counsel he gives Obama. However, the “lack of experience” charge was never about what kind of counsel Obama would be receiving; rather, it was about what Obama would choose to do.

    CliveStaples (49fc6e)

  29. Dana,

    I don’t think everyone equates a candidate’s stance on abortion with their stance on family values. For instance, moderates may view abortion as more of a political issue than a family values issue.

    I know that sounds counterintuitive but that’s why I said the Democrats only have to be good enough on family values. At this point, loving ones children coupled with marital fidelity (that is, being better than Bill Clinton and John Edwards) is good enough.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  30. ECM @533 pm-
    K. Lopez (joe for Veep) at NRO has exerpts from Clarence Thomas’ memoir that deal with Biden’s behavior at Thomas’ ’91 SCOTUS confirmation hearings. Biden was afraid Thomas would be another Scalia. Biden also had taken Thomas’ words out of context and twisted what Thomas actually thought about property rights. “Senator Biden’s smooth, insincere promises that he would treat me fairly were nothing but talk.”

    Do “smooth, insincere promises” fit alongside Obama’s “change you can believe in”?

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  31. I already can detect that Biden — who is unknown to most Americans — is going to be repackaged and sold to the electorate with emphasis on his personal tragedies, and his having spent literally half of his life in the Senate (i.e., “Washington”) will be underplayed.

    If the McCain team is smart (that’s a big if) they will not fail to hammer home that in the darkest, bloodiest hours of the Iraq War, Biden, the vaunted foreign policy expert, was insisting that the only way to salvage the entire operation was to carve the nation into three sections — Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish (he banged away on this idea on Meet the Press relentlessly). Bush wisely ignored this, and so did McCain.

    L.N. Smithee (452a68)

  32. #21 @ 6:34p,

    Your comment made me go hummm…

    Rational analysis of why Bambi picked Biden, I’ll leave to others for now. I don’t believe it was a rational choice, I see it as largely emotional.

    Bambi grew up without a father. His life story can be best understood as a serial searching for a masculine role model. First it was his maternal grandfather, next the commie poet in Hawaii, then Reverend Wrong, Bill Ayers, and now Joe Biden.

    Bambi wants to grow up and fulfill his destiny of uniting the disparate forces. THE ONE and ‘ol Joe can then rule the galaxy as father and son.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  33. Vermont Neighbor wrote: On the other hand, he stiffed women via Hillary and Sebelius.

    Would ANYBODY have considered Sebelius as a VP possibility if she had a “Y” chromosome? I don’t know what else is supposed to be special about her.

    L.N. Smithee (452a68)

  34. It’s those smooth, insincere promises that convince the sheeple to believe in Obama’s form of “change” — to the point where they are prepared to vote for him based on that one word. It’s like that episode of Family Guy where Lois runs for mayor and discovers that her winning strategy is to answer every question posed to her by saying “9/11”.

    Icy Truth (784175)

  35. Yeah, family values.
    Like the family values which make you let your brother live in a shack with very little money.
    If you can’t take care of your own family, what makes you think you can run the US government?

    j.pickens (53ee7a)

  36. DRJ, I didn’t say that I thought everyone did or infer it – I was merely speculating that perhaps the partial birth abortion brouha was but one reason why Biden was selected.

    Family values, like most things are in a state of flux and as the standards continue to decrease we may see behavior issues like Bill’s & John Edwards’ no longer matter and they very well could be elected in spite of themselves. Then we will officially have become…. Europe.

    Dana (084de8)

  37. #31, I cut Biden some slack for his triparte strategy. It wasn’t the best solution (McCain’s was, and he better not let anyone forget it), but Biden WAS one of the few Senators who was offering any kind of plan on Iraq during the 2006 timeframe, as opposed to meaningless soundbites. That doesn’t make him any less of a pretentious gasbag, but unlike Kerry Biden actually took his tenure on the foreign relations committee seriously.

    Sean P (4906ac)

  38. There’s an interesting look at Biden, his stance on abortion and the possible motive behind Obama’s selection of him.

    “Obama desperately needs to retain his lead among Catholics and improve upon John Kerry’s showing. But choosing a pro-choice Catholic could backfire because the Bishops and others will attack him or her for being a bad Catholic. Choosing a full-blown pro-life Catholic would alienate pro-choice, independent women and Hillary voters. Biden is pro-choice but got a low rating from abortion rights groups (60% in 2007, 39% in 2003). In other words, he’s Catholic enough to appeal to Catholics, pro-life enough to avoid some Church attacks, and pro-choice enough to satisfy Hillary voters.”

    The website, new one to me, is Catholics Against Joe Biden. Its about keeping all the balls up in the air.

    Dana (084de8)

  39. marooned in marin has a collection of biden’s greatest hits. My last two attempts didn’t go through even though links shorter than the catholicsagainstjoebiden. maroonedinmarin.blogspot Joe calls US high tech bully

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  40. I’m safe. I have a place to go to if America is demented enough to elect these two assholes.

    nk (3c7a86)

  41. #32 Ropelight @ 725 pm not sure who the commie poet in Hawaii is. Day by Day cartoon has new strip saying McCain’s mentor was William Ravenel, A Duke ball player who’d been in Patton’s tank corps. Obama’s mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, a fervent communist who also dabbled in child rape. Obama sure has some interesting bedfellows. Maybe someone could point out his INNOCUOUS associations? Love/Oriam?? Peter? Bueller?

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  42. Dana,

    I’m constantly impressed with the ability of political operatives to forecast trends and voting patterns, and it may be that Obama selected Biden in part because his polls show moderate Catholics will decide this election. However, as you noted in your last comment, it’s a two-sided sword because it could trigger a Catholic backlash like it did with John Kerry.

    I think your point is that Biden gives Obama cover on abortion. My point is that Biden reinforces Obama on American family values. In a sense, we’re making the same point – that Biden helps Obama with traditional conservative issues. However, I think abortion plays more with conservatives while ‘family values’ plays more with moderates, and IMO the next few months are all about moderates.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  43. I can’t get the comments stuck in the spam filter to release. Here’s one of them:

    Comment from madmax333:

    Ouch. Greasy Joe from Oct. 2001- America’s military a high-tech bully against alqueda and taliban. Guess he fits in with urkel in worrying about what America’s enemies think of us. Blame America first and foremost.

    Aug 23, 8:02 PM

    DRJ (a5243f)

  44. DRJ, I understood your point from the post. It was well said. I was simply piggybacking on the thought. It did not, however, seem that you understood and/or accepted mine point.

    What we can be assured of is that there will be an endless round of touchy-feely examples and evidences from both Biden and Obama of family values being sold to the voters.

    Dana (084de8)

  45. argh. my point.

    Dana (084de8)

  46. Given the relentless investigation into what Bush and Cheney did during Vietnam…

    Biden played football for many years, yet flunked his Vietnam physical due to “asthma.” Or did he just get a note from the Doctor? Hmmmmm.

    Come on media. Redeem yourselves after you were caught covering for John Edwards. Or will the people have to depend on the Nat’l Enquirer for the facts?

    Thomas Sumter (1c5edc)

  47. Biden has a son who will be going to Iraq soon. As McCain has two sons in theater, this too is perhaps an important part of Biden’s “biography” with regards to dulling McCain’s strengths.

    bob (1ef49e)

  48. Dana,

    I’m sorry I didn’t get your point but I’m glad you’ve helped me understand it now.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  49. “it may be that Obama selected Biden in part because his polls show moderate Catholics will decide this election.”

    I believe I’d go a little wider than “moderate Catholics”. Obama is correctly seen as just another elitest liberal by a decent majority of the blue collars. With Edwards (bastard siring son of a mill worker) safely removed), Obama went to Plan B. Or maybe its plan L12, we can’t really know if Biden was the last man standing or just drew the short straw.

    The biggest problem that I see with Biden as a replacement for Edwards is that Biden cannot evoke the requisite response with lipsucking painfeeling like Edwards could. Edwards was almost Bubba class in that respect. I just don’t think Biden will make the necessary connection.

    Rick Ballard (0a8990)

  50. Sean P wrote: I cut Biden some slack for his triparte strategy. It wasn’t the best solution (McCain’s was, and he better not let anyone forget it), but Biden WAS one of the few Senators who was offering any kind of plan on Iraq during the 2006 timeframe, as opposed to meaningless soundbites.

    Sorry, I can’t agree that a bad idea was worse than no idea.

    Since things took a turn for the worse in Iraq, the Dems have always been content to condemn whatever decisions Bush made, cognizant of the fact that only the Commander-in-Chief is duty-bound to do something. Their priority was to keep their own fingerprints off of anything that happened during the war besides ending it; even slinking home in defeat a la Vietnam would have been blamed on Bush. But Biden, ever the self-aggrandizing foreign policy pseudo-genius, hoped to burnish his POTUS qualifications by floating a plan that would have (IMHO) exacerbated ethnic tensions and left a gaping hole open for Iranian influence at the least and intrusion at worst. This shows what the U.S. would be married to if Biden were “the decider,” and not Bush.

    The division idea is a strike against Biden, not for him.

    L.N. Smithee (452a68)

  51. Rick,

    How does Biden help with blue-collar workers more than Bayh or Hillary?

    DRJ (a5243f)

  52. L.N. Smithee @ 7:29 pm

    what else is supposed to be special about her.

    True; it’s debatable. Obama has repeatedly tossed racist cries even when unfounded, so it seems like a strange time to reward a male pol who has racial gaffes of his own.

    Hillary (obviously) may not have wanted the Obama ticket, had it been offered. But Biden’s done enough to make him seem like a pick or a pass. And there are 17m voters who want a seasoned Dem in the WH. For them, that’s Hillary.

    But you’re right. Sebelius on the ticket could bring less impact than Joe. We’ll see if he’s the one for… The One.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  53. Icy Truth @ 7:01 pm

    Please name a song that’s worse than that one! Right at the bottom it is, near Chevy Van … or I Honestly Love You. Wait, MUSKRAT LOVE. Okay, I answered my own question.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  54. “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene is definitely a finalist.

    Jack Klompus (b0e238)

  55. Whew, yes.

    Jack – you understand a fine whine when you hear it!

    “I’ve Never Been to Me”

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  56. DRJ, no need to apologize. I’m far less concerned about being agreed with than I am having my point at least understood (or whether I’ve expressed it coherently).

    Thomas Sumter #46, good point re the media. The media is in the bag for Obama, no doubt, but besides that I think they don’t know how to be critical of Obama lest they too be labeled racist. Now that Biden is on board, I wonder if that might change things up a bit. They’ll still be paving the way for the Lightbearer but perhaps they can periodically throw a bone of objectivity and truth.

    Dana (084de8)

  57. Vermont Neighbor wrote: Please name a song that’s worse than that one! Right at the bottom it is, near Chevy Van … or I Honestly Love You. Wait, MUSKRAT LOVE. Okay, I answered my own question.

    Even “Muskrat Love” is Mozart compared with some of the raw sewage on the Billboard charts and iTunes lately. Especially repulsive to me personally is anything by the talent-challenged Lil Wayne.

    Jack Klompus responded: “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene is definitely a finalist.

    It’s not my kind of music, but it took GUTS to record and release “I’ve Never Been to Me” in the freewheeling seventies. It hit the charts twice, reaching #3 in its re-release in 1982. From Wikipedia:

    The use of the line “I’ve been to crying for unborn children that would have made me complete” hints strongly at abortion. The line refers to a woman who is at a point in her life that she wished she had taken the time to have children. However, this was deemed too close to feminist issues and when Charlene’s song was first released in 1976, the version used was the one without the spoken bridge. When the song became an unexpected hit in 1982 it was the version with the spoken bridge intact that was released. It has also been widely reported that the 1982 single was a re-recording, it is not.

    L.N. Smithee (452a68)

  58. #53 – Vermont Neighbor

    Please name a song that’s worse than [Ebony And Ivory]! Right at the bottom it is, near Chevy Van … or I Honestly Love You.

    — First, let me say that I take umbrage . . . extreme umbrage, at the suggestion that the first single I ever bought was somehow second-rate! Sammy Johns was a freakin’ genius!!! Okay, a couple of qualifiers: 1) I didn’t actually buy the 45; a friend gave me his copy because his little brother had scratched up the b-side beyond playability. 2) I was 9 years old at the time; what the hell did I know? On another note, after not hearing or thinking of that song for at least 15 years it is now playing on an endless loop inside my brain. Tanx-a-lot, VN! 😉

    Oh yeah. For the record, the first three 45rpm singles that I did buy with my own money in 1975 were: “Walk This Way”-Aerosmith, “Born To Run”-Springsteen, & “Rock And Roll All Nite”-KISS. That’s right, I was cool.

    Coulda’ been a lot worse. One of my friends actually owned the album that contained “I Honestly Love You”!

    One more thing (since you did it to me):

    And you
    You light up my life
    You give me hope
    To carry on
    You light up my days
    And fill my nights with song
    It can’t be wrong
    When it feels so right
    ‘Cause You
    You light up my life

    — Sweet dreams!

    Icy Truth (394169)

  59. Yeah, yeah; you got me. I tried to pass off “What the hell did I know?” and “That’s right, I was cool,” at the same time. All I have to say about that is: 1) I told the truth about those first three singles that I bought. 2) I don’t know anything about the Bay City Rollers, and you can’t prove that I did. 3) Ditto for those photos purported to be of me dressed as Elton John for Halloween.

    Icy Truth (394169)

  60. Very funny, #59 – “That’s right, I was cool,”… but what were those neat little disc things called that we used to have to pop into a 45 to get it to fit on on the record player?

    Dana (084de8)

  61. Okay, Icy. Because your first 3 singles were really pretty respectable, you get a pass. Sammy Johns, though. whew.

    But get that hook out of your head. Chevy Van will reprogram your mind, it will make you do things you never thought possible. You’ll drip candle wax on wine bottles and buy milk crates for furniture. As a fellow friend and blogger I give you lyrics with a sweet hook that should run through your head like an endless sugar-spun loop:


    Fab Five Freddie told me everybody’s high
    DJ’s spinnin’ are savin’ my mind
    Flash is fast, Flash is cool
    Francois sez fas, Flashe’ no do
    And you don’t stop, sure shot
    Go out to the parking lot

    And you get in your car and you drive real far
    And you drive all night and then you see a light
    And it comes right down and lands on the ground
    And out comes a man from Mars
    And you try to run but he’s got a gun
    And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
    And then you’re in the man from Mars
    You go out at night, eatin’ cars
    You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
    Mercuries and Subarus
    And you don’t stop, you keep on eatin’ cars

    Then, when there’s no more cars
    You go out at night and eat up bars where the people meet
    Face to face, dance cheek to cheek
    One to one, man to man
    Dance toe to toe
    Don’t move too slow, ’cause the man from Mars
    Is through with cars, he’s eatin’ bars
    Yeah, wall to wall, door to door, hall to hall
    He’s gonna eat ’em all

    Rapture, be pure
    Take a tour, through the sewer
    Don’t strain your brain, paint a train
    You’ll be singin’ in the rain
    I said don’t stop, do punk rock

    Well now you see what you wanna be
    Just have your party on TV


    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  62. L.N.
    Great info about the Charlene song. Sort of like Harry Chapin. Everything with meaning.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  63. The first single I ever bought was Hot Time, Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful. It had Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? on the flip side. They were great songs then and still are today.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  64. Great songs, DRJ. The Spoonful put out some really good stuff.

    The first single I bought was Diana Ross, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. I didn’t even know till years later that Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recorded it first. This is the first album I bought around 70 or 71.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  65. VN, I have “Rapture” on my iPod (no foolin’).

    Icy Truth (394169)

  66. Come on guys – who can forget:
    1. “Run, Joey, Run” by David Geddes
    2. “Afternoon Delight” by Starland Vocal Band
    3. “You Make Me Feel Like Dancin'” by Leo Sayer

    Just sayin’…

    oldmusicman (7e1592)

  67. Comment by Vermont Neighbor — 8/24/2008 @ 12:30 am

    LOVE that song. First rap I ever heard (and still love [clean] rap today). Thanks for the trip down memory lane. 🙂

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  68. The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama selected Joe Biden for his experience, especially in foreign policy.

    True, and quite obvious. Which makes this statement from Obama a few days ago seem a bit odd:

    Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday laid out his key criteria in a vice presidential pick – somebody who will be the diametric opposite of Vice President Dick Cheney – but didn’t air any names.

    With speculation rife about who the Democratic White House contender will choose as his running mate, Obama said he wanted a true partner in government who has integrity and is unafraid to speak their mind.

    ‘Here’s what I won’t do,’ the Illinois senator told a raucous crowd of 2,600 people at an evening rally here, beginning an outspoken attack on President Bush and his secretive and enormously influential deputy, Cheney.

    ‘I won’t hand over my energy policy to my vice president. I won’t have my vice president engineering my foreign policy for me. The buck will stop with me, because I’ll be the president,’ Obama said.

    How is Biden the opposite of Cheney? Old, white, years in DC. OK, Cheney doesn’t stick his foot in his mouth, but other than that?

    Pablo (99243e)

  69. Sugar, ah honey honey
    You are my candy girl
    And you’ve got me wanting you.
    Honey, ah sugar sugar
    You are my candy girl
    And you’ve got me wanting you.

    steve miller (028fae)

  70. “How does Biden help with blue-collar workers more than Bayh or Hillary?”


    Bayh is a Senator’s son – no resonance. Hillary is a… , well, she doesn’t actually resonate with the blue collars either. She’s no lipbitinng painfeeler.

    Axelrod/Obama are running a completely substance free campaign. It’s all hokey symbolism tied to “feeling” with an unhealthy push away from anything which might be considered “thinking”. I’m not saying that the Biden pick will actually swing blue collars because it won’t. Nothing will, wrt, Obama because they’ve seen him before. Last time was ’04 when he reported for duty. This time he’s a different color but his substance is the same as last time – 2/3rds commie, 1/3 supercilious jerk.

    Had the pick been decided on the basis of substance, Bayh would be there.

    Rick Ballard (0a8990)

  71. #41 @ 8:23p, madmax333,

    Yes, Frank Marshall Davis is the poet. The following is from Wikipedia:


    In his autobiographical Dreams from My Father, U.S. Senator and Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama wrote about “Frank”, a friend of his grandfather’s. “Frank” told Obama that he and Stanley (Obama’s maternal grandfather) both had grown up only 50 miles apart, near Wichita, although they did not meet until Hawaii. He described the way race relations were back then, including Jim Crow, and his view that there had been little progress since then. As Obama remembered, “It made me smile, thinking back on Frank and his old Black Power, dashiki self. In some ways he was as incurable as my mother, as certain in his faith, living in the same sixties time warp that Hawaii had created.”[15]

    Gerald Horne, a Communist Party historian and contributing editor of Political Affairs, claims that “Frank” was Davis, and further claimed he was a “decisive influence” on Obama.[16] Similar claims were made about Davis in the anti-Obama book The Obama Nation.[17]

    A rebuttal to The Obama Nation released by Obama’s presidential campaign, titled Unfit for Publication. confirms that “Frank” was in fact Frank Marshall Davis, but disputes claims made about the nature of their relationship

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  72. As for the nature of Obama’s relationship with Frank, the following is also from the same Wikipedia entry.

    Frank Marshall Davis, under the pseudonym of Bob Greene, was the author of Sex Rebel: Black, which has been described as “a hard-core pornographic autobiography”.[13] According to [The Daily Telegraph]], the book describes a sexual encounter with Davis and his first wife and a 13-year old girl. The Telegraph also stated that, according to the book, Davis “derived sexual gratification from bondage, simulated rape and being flogged and urinated on.”

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  73. 72- sounds like Frank is like Muhammad with the craving for younger girls. Isn’t that a recommendation? Ok, I guess Big camera-shy Mo diddled a six year old, but Muslims are down with that. Anyway Frank fits right in with the rest of the weird ass friends of B. Hussein, an assortment of thieves, scoundrels, racist preachers, unrepentant terrorist and other assholes extraordinaire. Reminds me of the cantina scene with the motley alien crew in Stars Wars.
    Wonder what gave rise to rumors that Obama himself was involved in homosexual sex at Wright’s church? One never knows for sure, but his company is rather odd.

    Someone just sent me an item about the new dollar coin not having In God We Trust on it. Isn’t that special? I replied it would say In Obama We Trust after January if his disciples get their way.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  74. #73 @ 12:38p,

    Yeah, something’s not quite right here. Bill Ayres is also a pervert and has been accused of rape. Bambi has a history of unsavory associations with a collection of odd balls.

    There’s something rather twisted going on here, I sense an unholy presence lurking about, close to THE ONE.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  75. “The Night Chicago Died” was the absolute worst song of the 70’s, despite many worthwhile and excreable contenders – such as:

    Muhammed Ali
    Billy Don’t be a Hero
    Paper Roses

    That is all.

    Dmac (874677)

  76. Obama needed a father-like figure for a VP. He has always had someone like that around (wright etc).

    Mila (cb35e6)

  77. #74 – Ropelight

    There’s something rather twisted going on here, I sense an unholy presence lurking about, close to THE ONE.

    — A see el you

    Icy Truth (c38387)

  78. #75 – Dmac

    — Seasons In The Sun

    ‘Nuff said.

    Except for this: I actually once talked (over the phone) to the guy was going around impersonating Terry Jacks, back in the 80’s.

    Icy Truth (c38387)

  79. “guy who was going around”

    Icy Truth (c38387)

  80. I was trying like hell to remember that one, Icy -on the tip of my tongue. Truly terrible, no question.

    Dmac (874677)

  81. #77, Ice Man,

    Not me pal, I haven’t been in Chicago since 1965, and somehow I just don’t think I’d fit into Bambi’s social circle.

    However, there is something wicked or depraved hovering over Bambi’s left shoulder. You can just make it out on TV if you look close enough. At first it seems like a puff of smoke about to disipate into the air. It does, but leaves an acrid odor behind.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  82. He picked Biden because he needed at least one person on his staff who could get a security clearance.

    crosspatch (f364ce)

  83. Security clearance? I’m not sure either one of them could pases the background check to buy a 6 shooter.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  84. #81 – Ropelight

    Not me pal, I haven’t been in Chicago since 1965

    — Okay, dude. I just . . . wait a minute. I was born in 1965 . . . and my mom is from Chicago . . .


    Icy Truth (f54eb3)

  85. Seriously though, let’s try this again:

    eh see ell ewe (go phonetic)

    Icy Truth (f54eb3)

  86. Icy 11:06, Dmac 1:13 –

    I don’t know how it happened, but over the years You Light Up My Life just lost its kitsch. Now it’s like a show tune. It’s sort of been replaced by the songs mentioned here. (Billy Don’t Be A Hero, Afternoon Delight.) I’d definitely add Hotel California to the flush list! And all of oldmusicman’s titles, too.

    Seasons in the Sun – just awful. And the dog song, Shannon.

    Icy, how do you talk to someone impersonating Terry Jacks? As far as crimes go, that would be the perfect crime! Who would ever know?

    You have Rapture on your iPod >>> aha ! But what’s it surrounded by? No collection is complete without Undercover Angel. Or Fox on the Run. Just keep that in mind.
    . )

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  87. NOYK 4:43, Steve Miller 5:23 –

    Thanks, both! I also bought Sugar, Sugar… but hey, back then who didn’t.

    Agree, Deborah Harry just slid thru that song. That was rap with gloss. Reminds me of Terri Nunn on Sex (I’m A…) Lyrics too racy for a family site.

    Here’s another sample that puts my brain into happy land:

    You like your life in a free-form style
    You’ll take an inch but you’d love a mile
    There never seems to be quite enough
    Floating around to fill your lovin’ cup

    Oo-aho-hoo, Jackie Blue
    What’s a game girl, if you never lose
    Ask a winner and you’ll probably find
    Ooo, Jackie they’ve lost at sometime

    Don’t try to tell me that you’re not aware
    Of what you’re doing and that you don’t care
    You say it’s easy, just a natural thing
    Like playing music, but you never sing

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  88. Ice, I got it the first time, right as I hit the “submit” button. Like the bumper sticker says: I might be slow, but I’m ahead of you!

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

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