What is it with the American mainstream media when we have to turn to Britain to get a more accurate analysis of our political scene than we can get here? First we had my previous post in which the UK Times provided a much better analysis of how Nancy Pelosi's partisan rant caused the bailout bill to fail in Congress while the New York Times basically provided cover for the House Speaker. And now we have this column by Dominic Lawson in the UK Independent that gives us a clear picture of how utterly unqualified Joe Biden is to become vice-president. Yes, while the Amercan MSM remains obsessed with pointing out how Sarah Palin might not be familiar with every last detail of political policy (including the "Bush Doctrine" which almost nobody knew about until Charlie Gibson sprung it as a gotcha question) they continue to overlook not just gaffes but astounding gaps in Biden's basic wisdom. So let us allow Lawson to now go where the American MSM fears to tread (emphasis mine):
Joseph Robinette Biden – known to all as "Joe" – was once the most talked about American politician in Britain. Unfortunately for the senior Delaware Senator, all the talk was accompanied by incredulous laughter. As part of his Presidential campaign 20 years ago, he lifted verbatim and without attribution Neil Kinnock's celebrated remarks: "Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to a University ... was it because all our predecessors were thick, those people who could work eight hours underground and then come up to play football?"
Biden told an audience at an Iowa fairground: "I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden's the first in his family ever to go to University ... is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright... who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football?"
Note the overt claim to spontaneity at the outset of the plagiarism; but it wasn't just that which left his run for the Presidency buried under an avalanche of ridicule. It rapidly emerged that Biden was not the first member of his family to go to university, and that the closest any ancestral Bidens came to working underground was a grandfather who was a mining engineer – and during the campaign Biden also told a number of gratuitous untruths about his own academic record.
Oh yeah? "I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do!!!" And now we come to the money quote of this column:
For all the longevity of his tenure, Biden does not deserve the description lavished on him last month by the Los Angeles Times (among others) as "an acknowledged foreign policy sage". He voted against using American military force to remove Saddam Hussein's army from occupied Kuwait, but voted for the American invasion of sovereign Iraq in 2003. Later, he voted against the "surge" which has brought a degree of stability to that benighted country, proposing instead that it be allowed to break up along ethnic lines – the now discredited "Biden Plan". Experience is a wonderful thing, of course – but only if you learn the right lessons from it.
Print out that money quote, laminate it, and carry it around in your wallet because that is the best critique of Joe Biden that I have yet seen. And it comes to us from the other side of the pond. Lawson then makes a comparison between Biden and Sarah Palin that you won't often see here:
The Republican vice-presidential candidate had been unable to elaborate on the way in which John McCain had attempted to enforce greater regulation on the finance industry, beyond his demand for more supervision of the biggest mortgage lenders; and she struggled to justify her claim that being Governor of Alaska gave her a special insight into the threats from Russia.
Neither of her responses was articulate. But they weren't factually incorrect. She didn't make anything up. That's Biden territory. When he faced the deceptively easy-going Ms Couric, he told the CBS anchorwoman, a propos deals to rescue Wall Street: "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened'." As others, but not Ms Couric, have since observed, the US President at the time of the 1929 stock market crash was not Roosevelt, but Herbert Hoover; and Roosevelt didn't go on television, probably because no-one in America owned one at the time.
Such dedicated and inarticulate imprecision with the facts of history should not disqualify Joe Biden from being taken seriously as the next-in-line for the Presidency; he got away with his goof, as easy-going and genial men tend to do. But imagine what hysteria would have ensued if it was Mrs Palin who had constructed a fictitious account of the circumstances surrounding the great Wall Street Crash.
Correct, and I don't know if Dominic Lawson is aware of it but Biden also stated that he was willing to prosecute members of the Bush Administration for supposed crimes if Barack Obama were elected president. A statement that he later denied he had ever made.
Lawson provides us with suffient warnings about Joe Biden but, on the upside, there is always his entertainment value:
Nothing in Joe Biden's record, long as it is, suggests that he has the attributes one would wish for in a head of state. There would be plenty of laughs, though.
Although most of the American media continues to provide cover for Joe Biden, there are occasional slip-ups such as this quote, which he probably now wishes he never made, from The New Republic senior editor Jonathan Chait back in early 2007 when it looked like Biden had no chance for the presidential nomination:
Biden looks as if he’s the product of a laboratory experiment designed to create the world’s worst presidential candidate.
And now that he is the vice-presidential candidate, Chait has gone MIA on the topic of Joe Biden. Meanwhile your humble correspondent continues to rely on British periodicals with increasingly frequency to find out what is going on over here since the American media in general seem to be MIA on certain inconvenient political topics.