Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama-Biden -- that's the ticket

I was just delighted when I awoke this morning to learn that Barack Obama has tagged Joe Biden to be his running mate. The selection not only highlights Obama's weaknesses, but it also adds to the Democratic ticket a man who has significant flaws of his own.

To begin with the obvious: Could Obama have shouted more loudly to the American public "Yes, it is true that I have no experience!"? Had he picked a running mate who merely had somewhat more experience than he himself has, that would have have comforted the public, but would not have cast a spotlight on Obama's obvious absence of any practical experience. By selecting a man who has made Senatorial politics his life's job (he's on his sixth term), Obama effectively announced that he needs lots and lots and lots of help in the experience department. In other words, Obama's choice is the worst possible backdrop to highlight his greatest weakness.

Next most obvious point: What in the world States does Obama think Biden is going to help him deliver? Biden is the Senator for Delaware, for goodness' sake. He has name recognition from his longevity and his own (failed) Presidential runs, but he does not have emotional resonance for any specific geographic region. He's not going to carry any useful states or regions for Obama -- which is, again, a reminder that he's simply there to offset Obama's myriad failings.

Another obvious point: Biden is a thief. He doesn't steal objects, he steals ideas. Thus, he has a long history of plagiarism, which is nicely summarized at the "Famous Plagiarists" website:
In 1965 Biden plagiarized while writing a paper as a student at the Syracuse University Law School in a legal methods course which he failed because of that copied paper. Such “stressless scholarship” as it is euphemistically called has become all too common in the modern Internet era with countless cheatsites and “research services” offering to sell students papers on topics from A to Z.


In an article entitled “Biden’s Belly Flop”, Newsweek printed Joe Biden’s yearbook picture from his college days and a copy of his law school transcripts with the big “F” in his transcripts circled. Biden was given a chance to repeat his legal methods course, and above the “F” his retake grade of 80% was eventually penciled in. Being a repeat offender when it came to plagiarism made things much, much worse for Biden than they might have been otherwise in his failed bid for the Democratic presidential ticket in 1987.

Senator Biden’s plagiarism of a speech by British Labor Party leader Neal Kinnock took place at a campaign stump at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. In closing his speech, Biden took Kinnock’s ideas and language as if they were his very own inspired thoughts, prefacing Kinnock’s ideas with the phrase “I started thinking as I was coming over here . . . “. Little did Biden suspect that video footage of this speech would be spliced together with footage of Kinnock’s speech in an “attack video” which would be distributed by members of the Dukakis campaign.


Name recognition was no longer a problem for Biden, but not the kind of name recognition which would assist his campaign for the democratic presidential nomination. His name was now a byword for plagiarism. His situation became a classic example of plagiarism for high school teachers and college instructors across the nation lecturing on the evils of unacknowledged source use.

Biden initially denied any wrongdoing, claiming that this was just an inadvertent lack of acknowledgement. Yet there were other instances of rhetorical borrowing from speeches made by Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. And the fact that Biden had given other speeches using the Kinnock passages without acknowledgment suggested that the lifting was more than just an inadvertent oversight.
Given the fact that the public is always outraged by signs of corruption in the White House, and given how badly burned America was when the hyper-corrupt Clintons entered that same institution, do Americans really want to have a do-over with Biden? His disregard for ethics is not casual, it's habitual, and there's every reason to believe that he will fall again. Further, given increasing evidence that Obama has a corrupt streak (think Rezko), do we really need a two-for-one pair when it comes to dishonesty on the Democratic ticket?

Oh, here's another obvious point: Biden suffers from foot-in-mouth disease. Of my two favorite Biden quotations, one concerns Obama himself: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." The other Biden quotation I just love, one that tells you way more about the man than anyone really wants to know, is this one, a statement Biden made to a potential voter during his first Presidential, when that voter questioned his law school grades: "I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do." As to that last point, I guess he and Obama are a good match, because both that ordinary Americans are stupid.

Wait! Wait! I've got another obvious point: Obama hit the political scene as someone who had consistently opposed the Iraq War. That's how he was able to spirit the most diehard Democrats away from the Hillary camp. But Biden was pro-War. He voted for it, and made such memorable statements as "One thing is clear: These weapons must be must be dislodged from Saddam, or Saddam must be dislodged from power." Having a running mate who was a hawk is not going to placate the MoveOn crowd.

Lastly, there's the fact that Biden has the whiff of failure about him. He's a two-time loser in the Presidential sweeptakes, never having made it through the primaries.

Let me wrap up here with Jim Geraghty's take on Biden, some of which echoes my own thoughts:
It's hard for Obama supporters to play the age card any longer, as their potential veep is all of six years younger than McCain.

The candidate of hope and change selected a running mate who was first elected to public office when Obama was 9 years old. He was elected to the Senate when Obama was 11.

The bottom of the ticket running on change has been in Washington forever.

He voted for the Iraq War — which Obama touted as the most important decision since the end of the Cold War.

Biden supports a ban on partial-birth abortion. He supports deploying U.S. troops to Darfur in Sudan.

His mouth will be an absolute time bomb. Will he refer to Delaware as a "slave state" again? Will he discuss who's behind the counter at 7-11s?

I'm reminded of a Rudy Giuliani response when Biden took a shot at him — "Joe's a good guy, we all criticize each other during this time... But for Joe Biden to talk about qualifications — he's never run a city, he's never run a state, he's never run a business."

That statement is true for both men on the Democratic ticket.

Other than Biden's mouth, it's a relatively safe pick. But since he'll be spending just about every waking moment between now and Election Day in front of television cameras... look out.
Bottom line: When the press isn't covering for Obama, and he's working off his own arrogance and inexperience, he's the gift that just keeps giving, something the McCain campaign instantly figured out.


Smart-Cookie said...

bookworm -

I love the way you write! And I thoroughly enjoyed this installment!

Well, when Cameron pointed out a couple days ago that Biden was looking like the winner from the media buzz ... I realized he was probably right. It's funny, I caught myself giving Obama too much credit for having good judgement and/or good advisors! I mean, where's this supposedly savvy politician we've all heard about?

Obama is really a disappointment in so many ways ... sorry my comments are always so long ... well, brevity is a challenge for me sometimes ;-) I'm not really sure how I'll end up writing about it on my site, but I guess I'll have to try to be nice.

Ok, I'll just say this ... Biden was my favorite in the Dem primaries - entertainment factor! He says the WACKIEST things! He has this strange everyman kind of appeal, but he's way out there, man!

As for people considering him to be a foreign policy expert ... well, right you are to point out how diametrically opposed he is with Obama's supposed stance on the Iraq war.

It's like I'm living in some bizarr-o world with Obama! What a joke! Except jokes are funny - this isn't. Obama could actually win. Thanks for all the hard work you guys are putting in on this site ... and for everything else you're doing!

Keep up the good work!

Bookworm said...

Thanks for the kind words, smart-cookie. I appreciate them.

Biden's wackiness should certainly make for a fun election season.

Ferny for McCain at Stanford said...


great work, as always!

Smart-cookie, keep coming back giving us your thoughts. They are very much appreciated. And please, make sure you advertise us :D.

Epicurus said...


I completely agree with you. Joe Biden's Obama's new bodyguard. He's designed for the campaign to take heat off Obama - the teflon kid. I don't think it's going to work. Great post. This is a great team of bloggers!

Smart-Cookie said...

ferny and gang -

Actually, I'd like to do better than that, if you all agree. I'd like to feature your site on ours.

We appreciate your intellectual, yet entertaining and thoughtful articles.

I'm a lifelong Republican and my husband is a firm independent - we both support McCain in the election. (, for your review.) I think you'll find we have common views. Like you guys, I also contribute to another website featuring a group of different perspectives. I enjoy both forums.

And bookworm, I very much enjoyed your Heavenly Dialog. We share an appreciation for art and the struggle between emotion and observation. (Although all of you are waaaaaay more educated than I am - including my husband!) (Yikes!) ;-)

We also very much understand your collective desire to increase your readership. (Trust me, your articles are already circulated among my email distributions!) Here's the thing - we feel your emotions and observations are worth sharing! That's why we're all doing this, right?

And no pressure either way ... we'd love to feature you in a special way, and it's totally up to you. Just let us know what you all decide. Lol, I'm already a fan ... no worries.

Ferny for McCain at Stanford said...

Smart Cokie,

I, and surely the others too, are flattered; yes, please, do feature us at your web. I'll add yours to our list of recommended blogs :D.

Smart-Cookie said...

ferny and all,

Thank you for adding us to your recommended blogs. (Wow, what a quick response!) We hope you all will become regular readers at SETruths and that we'll continue to share ideas about this election and what it means to us to be American. We also hope you'll help us spread the word and include your favorite SETruths articles in your email distributions as well.

I continue to be a fan of your work here and will work very hard to help get your message out. Please visit later today to see what we've done to feature your site ... we hope you like it! :-D Please visit often and tell your friends.

Again, thank you for such an unexpectedly quick response! :-)

McCain 08!