The big storyline from Barack Obama’s selection of Senator Joe Biden as his presidential running mate is that Biden compensates for Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience. But a secondary theme is one of racial reconciliation. Back on January 31, Biden’s off-the-cuff remark about Obama being “clean” and “articulate” was criticized as having derogatory racial overtones, and it pretty much doomed his announcement of his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Later, Biden had to apologize again for racially insensitive comments he made while campaigning in New Hampshire. “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent,” he had said in an ill-fated attempt at humor. Still, most folks agreed that Biden was not a racist; he just suffered occasional bouts of foot-in-mouth disease.
Marc Lamont Hill of The Root suggested several weeks back that a Biden pick would underscore the Obama campaign’s spirit of reconciliation, and at least one other political blogger made a similar observation today. I do hope this theme gets some play from the media. With race being invoked and manipulated in such an ugly way earlier in this long presidential battle, it’s nice to see such a prominent example of racial reconciliation in action.