Sunday, August 24, 2008

360 Degrees of "Change"

Barack Obama made his first serious gaffe by selecting Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Biden's a dishonest lightweight who exaggerated his college record and lied about his law school graduation rank. He's a serial plagiarist, ripping off the work of others (most famously British Labor Party Leader Neil Kinnock) both as a student and in the Senate. He's weak on facts--virtually "a gaffe machine"--and misses votes even when not campaigning. I don't imagine chemistry was the clincher: earlier this year, Biden praised John McCain and derided Obama's inexperience.

Adding Biden to the ticket undermines Barack "outsider" posture, as Jonah Goldberg observed:
How can Joe Biden run against a broken Washington when he's such an integral figure in it? He's been there since he was 29 years old. Isn't he exactly the sort of institution Obama claims to be running against?
If Barack represents the triumph of hope, Biden's the embodiment of . . . gray-haired gravitas and the status quo. For all the tenure and asserted accomplishments, his achievements are modest. As National Review notes:
When it came to choosing a running-mate, Barack Obama turned out to be one of those experience-conscious “3 a.m.” voters who tended to support Hillary Clinton in the primaries. He went with the long-serving senator with the most foreign-policy experience he could find, Joe Biden, who has been marinating in the Senate for no less than 35 years.
Biden's record mostly accentuates the negative: That supposed skill in foreign policy?--well, Biden's almost never been right. An initial supporter of the war on terror, Biden later advocated closing Git'mo (McCain agrees)--and proposed partition, so his elevation could chill relations with Iraq.

Biden's domestic policies are worse. Biden joined Obama on my "never" list for opposing John Roberts as Chief Justice (Biden nixed Alito too; he thinks "advice and consent" akin to an election). Biden loves pouring taxpayer dollars into perpetually mismanaged Amtrak--perhaps because he commutes by rail to Washington on a daily basis even now, or maybe for other reasons. Adding Biden probably locks up the gun-haters lobby, though Obama already forfeited gun-owner votes.

So is it good for the Dems? it's hard to see how Biden brings any additional electoral interest. Indeed, Biden's record on banking may chafe anti-business leftists without garnering conservatives for whom the far-left Obama is unacceptable and Biden an empty suit. National Review calls him "a typical liberal who has no claim to post-partisanship." Focusing especially on issue of Iraq, the anti-war Kos sees Biden's politics as "the exact opposite" of Obama's message.

Obama famously prophesied "We are the ones we've been waiting for." But Biden's more overdue than Godot, as Mickey Kaus (channeling Estragon) bemoans:
Maybe when I get to Denver I'll find someone who'll explain to me why Biden is an inspired choice. He doesn't have gravitas. He has seniority. We've been waiting for him to mature for decades.
Returning to politics as usual, the Dems have come full-circle: "so much for change".


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Kos thinks Biden's message is the opposite of Obama's on Iraq? They both have had the same message throughout: "what position helps me most while hurting Bush as much as possible?" Bide and Obama have guessed differently how to implement that position, and so are for or against various parts of the GWOT at different times. But their underlying principle has been pretty consistent.

There are times when I feel briefly sorry for the folks over at Daily Kos. They get taken in every time.

OBloodyHell said...

> There are times when I feel briefly sorry for the folks over at Daily Kos. They get taken in every time.

Doesn't that inexorably follow from the whole head-in-the-sand Leftard approach to life?

Carl said...


Agreed. See Michelle Malkin's flashback to Biden's statements on the surge.