Start Listening to Joe Biden

While talking points in the media have focused on Sarah Palin’s numerous political gaffes and how Barack Obama is too polite and well spoken to win the presidency, perhaps the most experienced and politically saavy candidate for office has been largely ignored. I am speaking about Senator Joe Biden, who has continually impressed me with each speech that he delivers.  Biden offers not only an extensive grasp on the realities of the challenges facing the United States, but also the rhetorical cadence required to convey intensely complicated issues of foreign policy and economics to ordinary Americans.  If Biden continues to be as brilliant on the ground as he has been in recent weeks, his selection for the vice-presidential slot on the Democratic ticket over Hilary Clinton could provide to be decisive.

Today Biden spoke from the battleground state of Ohio, where he addressed a moderately sized audience in Maumee.  Using the disastrous performance of Wall Street as ammunition, Biden took on the vagueries and double talk of McCain’s financial rhetoric.  He succintly explained that the philosophy of economics that both McCain and the Bush administration rely upon, unbridled free-market capitalism, is untenable and will destroy the middle class.  He outlined specific legislation that would prevent investment banks and hedge funds from engaging in leveraged debt without transparency and oversight.  Biden also, unlike anyone I’ve ever seen give a speech, quickly and clearly explained the implications of the Chinese and Saudis purchasing American debt through treasury notes.  He didn’t stumble like Gore or chastise like Kerry, but confidently espoused policy proposals with good old fashioned oratory.

More than anything, Biden demonstrated once again that humor and ironic disbelief go a long way in holding political discourse to some standard of accountability.  Making frequent jokes and mocking the obvious inconsistancies of McCain’s campaign, Biden made the Republican ticket look foolish.  With respect to McCain’s recent flip-flopping on the question of government regulation on Wall Street, Biden chided, “Ladies and gentlemen, at 9AM yesterday, John McCain had stated again that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Two hours later, literally, at eleven o’clock, I’m not making this up, John had, as we Catholics say, an epiphany.  At eleven o’clock, John McCain said we are in a deep financial crisis!…If you asked anyone between here and Cleveland, you wouldn’t find a single person who said the economy is doing well right now. That is, of course, unless you bumped into John McCain.”  At this moment, Biden reminded me not of an experienced Senator but of John Stewart, Trey Parker, and Steven Colbert.  Finally – a Democratic politician who sees the necessity of informed mockery.  That is precisely what Obama needs in counterbalance to his professionalism and quiet dignity to win this election. I’m so tired of Democratic candidates skulking to the media that the bullies aren’t playing nice on the playground.  Biden knows how to deal with lying, cheating bullies.  And he is.

Biden has shown that he is not afraid of the culture war politics of Karl Rove by rejecting outright the contention that Democratic ideas are incommensurable with small-town values.  He has shown a contempt for the Republican Party that is nothing less than a breath of fresh air.  Drawing frequent applause for Obama and boos for McCain, Biden has succeeded in delivering the kinds of speeches to change and create votes for his ticket. I have been waiting for three elections to see someone who has the candor to take up a popular vernacular and use it convincingly to explain the actual policy stances of the Democratic Party.  Start listening to Joe Biden, he is the voice you’ve been waiting to hear.

You can find a partial tape of the Maumee gathering here:

Biden Speech, 9.17.08

8 thoughts on “Start Listening to Joe Biden”

  1. Yes Joe Biden is smart, articulate and sharp on a number of issues, namely foreign policy (though his tripartite Iraq plan would have replicated recent wars in the former Yugoslavia.)

    It’s too bad he’s not running for president instead of a guy who doesn’t deserve to be in the same room as him.

  2. You’re right, two US senators don’t deserve to be in the same room together. I don’t think that it’s because of Obama’s policies, because Biden’s are clearly the same or very similar and you praise him. What could the reason be? Hmm…I cannot imagine. It’s almost like you want to “segregate” them – you know – two different rooms for two people of the same standing. What is that called again?

  3. Joe Biden has experience. In his long tenure in Washington, he has proven to be a very knowledgeable expert on foreign policy and a good leader for his party.

    That does not mean I agree with any of his policies. Obama and Biden were rated the first and third most liberal Senators in 2007 by the National Journal, respectively. I think both of these men are entirely too liberal to help stop Washington gridlock and actually make change (I felt the same way with Huckabee’s conservatism.)

    You say their policies are “clearly the same.” For many issues this is obviously true. For instance, both Senator’s ran primary campaigns largely based on Iraq withdrawal. While Obama simply said he wanted to leave as soon as possible, Biden had a clear, insightful, detailed plan to end the war that in his opinion, would not only allow us to leave Iraq, but create a secure solution to the country’s future. As I said, I think it is an unrealistic plan. That being said, the fact that he introduced this plan showed knowledge and ingenuity in foreign policy that I am yet to see from Obama (who took two days to consult his 300 advisers before saying he would use the UN Security Council to take action against Russia for invading Georgia-forgetting that they have veto power in the Council.)

    Though I am a Republican, I don’t hesitate to praise the work and ingenuity of Democrats even if I don’t agree with them. Maybe your arguments would be better if you actually took time to highlight McCain policies and respect his 26 years as a very successful Senator (as I do for Biden’s tenure), instead of being duped into believing that a clearly doctored picture of his running mate in a bikini makes you prefer Robert Downey Jr. as a VP.

    Oh, and your attempts to label me as a racist are retarded. Keep practicing the so-called Karl Rove politics.

  4. Surprised as you may be, “first and third most liberal” is not a pejorative statement. This also came from the National Journal, which is a strongly conservative publication and not a partisan evaluator. As for “liberalism” being the reason they are “unable to help stop Washington gridlock”, that is literally nonsense. Compare it to what would happen if McCain/Palin was elected. McCain, who has pissed off a lot of people in Congress in the last month of his election and continues to look precisely like George Bush, will never get anything done with the congressional Democrats. After this election, they will have a strong hold in both the House and Senate, and they will hold everything that McCain does up to a magnifying glass. Historically, it is true that a split in control of the presidency and the Congress between the parties results in the most legislation. This moment, this election, is historically unique in many ways and it should not surprise you that if Obama/Biden won this election, it would mark the shift to a truly progressive era of American history.

    This is because, despite organizational and professionally determined specifications like Iraqi withdrawal timetables, Obama and Biden have the same vision for the White House. This vision, is light-years from McCain and Palin, who are nothing but warhawks without any regard for the world. Did you ever think that maybe Obama didn’t detail his plans further because it was the primaries? Maybe complex messages that early on don’t get you the nomination? You know, like how Biden didn’t get it?

    As for the indict on Obama’s response to the Georgia conflict, he wasn’t arguing that the UNSC should pass a resolution, he was arguing that the forum of the Security Council was an appropriate place for reprimand. Two very different things that are highly nuanced from one another.

    As for McCain, I would love to highlight his policies. He wants to have hostile relations with at least two countries with nuclear weapons. Maybe four. Not to mention Spain. As for the “drill, baby, drill” energy policy, is my response even necessary? Yes, we should drill for offshore oil in the short term to keep foreign dependency down. But only as long as it takes to build a renewable energy infrastructure that makes us both economically, environmentally, and physically safe.

    Oh and as for my attempts to label you a racist, you didn’t answer the question. Why shouldn’t they be allowed in the same room together?

    You’re probably huffing and puffing, but the reality is that you have just lost yourself in political doublespeak and you have no idea what greater systems-level events are in play with this election. McCain is losing his mind – it’s obvious. You heard what he said to the Spanish. You read the quote above from Biden. He said that Palin deployed troops to Iraq; she spoke at a send-off ceremony. These aren’t little mistakes for someone who is supposed to be the commander-in-chief. There’s a reason that the airlines kick pilots out after 65 – they can’t make life and death decision under pressure. We need a very specific leader right now, and it is not John McCain.

  5. 1.) The source notwithstanding, are you saying it is a good thing for America is the President and VP are in fact that far to the left that they vote against a solid chunk of the population on nearly every issue?

    2.) Yes for the past few months, McCain has naturally upset a lot of people on both sides of the aisle in Capitol Hill.
    That being said, McCain has a proven record of bipartisanship in the Senate and has been able to put personal and political differences aside when dealing with members of other parties. He has written landmark legislation with Senators such as Ted Kennedy, long thought of as the face of the New England far left establishment. And take a look at this story.
    And please don’t tell me this isn’t credible because the Washington Times is too conservative..these are real numbers that the New York Times is too scared to share.
    If McCain does win, I can guarantee that he will continue to be that same guy that for 26 years has continually crossed the line.

    3.) Comparing him to Bush over and over again is just stupid. McCain has a huge track record of proving his differences with Bush and as referenced in many posts on this site, those were incredibly clear in the 2000 election.

    4.) Obama didn’t detail his plan because he didn’t have a plan. He still doesn’t have a plan other than getting out in 16 months. He has said very little on how he will make sure that when we leave Iraq we never have to come back.

    McCain and Biden, on the other hand, ran campaigns from the very beginning about how to safely get out of Iraq. McCain’s was the surge (which Obama finally admits was a success beyond his “wildest dreams,”) Biden’s the tripartite plan. Obama’s was to just get out, disregarding any collateral damage.

    5.) Obama said “the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.” What would that resolution be?

    6.) In your utopian idealistic vision of an Obama administration is it possible to have a less than hostile relationship with an Ahmadinejad Iran?

    7.) It looks like you and I are on a similar page when it comes to energy. Sadly, Washington Democrats are not. They reluctantly have said we can drill 50 miles offshore, where oil reserves are highly limited compared to the area closer to the shore. They refuse to allow for environmentally friendly drilling in ANWR and of shale in the Rockies.

    8.) And finally, as for the whole racism thing, give me a break. Clearly I don’t think that Obama and Biden can’t be in the same room together. Give me a break that was just a figure of speech. Bottom line is when it comes to policy (not politics) Biden is a much more qualified candidate than Obama. I would just as easily say that same room thing about these two than I would about McCain and Palin. But I guess that makes me sexist, doesn’t it?

    It’s a good thing I’m voting for president and not for VP.

  6. I’ll address each one of your points, but it is the lack of a comprehensive evaluation strategy that has left you supporting the Republican ticket. You simply are not weighing the entirety of the issues at hand, but instead focusing on fairly irrelevant talking points that would apply to any President of the United States. There are serious challenges that the next President AND Vice-President must face, and, if evaluated in a totalizing fashion, it becomes markedly clear that McCain is not acceptable. Stop waving the Republican flag for two minutes and actually consider where you stand intellectually.

    1. Yes, I most certainly am. Like I said above, “liberal” is not a pejorative term. In fact, when liberalism entails a cosmopolitan understanding of energy and foreign policy, it is a mark of a governmental paradigm shift. John McCain is neither of those things. He supports a strongly nationalist conception of the United States that is propelled forwards through profits and power. That is the way of the past, the way of the Old Imperialists. Evaluate policy, not party.

    2. It doesn’t matter that “McCain has a proven record of bipartisanship in the Senate”, look at the forces he has allied himself with in order to try and win this election. Obama has no ties to lobbyists for his campaign fundraising – McCain is entirely indebted to Merrill Lynch and their ilk. The only thing bipartisan about the New John McCain, is that he is willing to cooperate with other people who see it his way. His way is often narrow-minded and completely out of touch. Moreover, bipartisanship is just another Washington bullshit word. Who cares if McCain is bipartisan if he destroys the country regardless? The most legislation is not the best legislation.

    3. Bush and McCain have a 90% similar voting record. Fact. There is no arguing your way out of that. This is also forgetting that the Old John McCain is not running in this election. The New John McCain loves social conservatives and “energizing the base”. That’s code for getting the people you think are manipulable on your side by lying to them. I’m not wrong about this, I’m not making this up. Read something other than the Weekly Standard and watch something else than Fox News and you might realize that.

    4. Obama wants the troops out as quickly as possible in the safest manner possible. The “surge” strategy, may have worked in the short term to make security gains, but the fact is that terrorism and anger against the US is made almost entirely through US troop appearance around the world. Nothing pisses people off more and nothing gives a face to imperialism more than US soldiers in your territory. You want to talk about national security? Get the troops home and see how the attitudes of people improve abroad. Bin Laden cited US troop presence in Saudi Arabia as his number one reason for attacking the US – think about it.

    5. The resolution is a peaceful one that doesn’t involve giving $1bn to the Georgians to re-arm themselves. Republicans think that they can dupe people into thinking they are Ronald Reagan (who did NOT win the Cold War for the love of God – there is no winning in politics, only stability) by saying that we should “contain” Russia. Why? Sure, Russia doesn’t like us or reporters that tell on their dirty little secrets, but putting SAM missile batteries in Poland and arming former-USSR democracies is the very last thing we should do. McCain’s idea for a “League of Democracies” literally puts a face on imperialism. If we want to remain relevant for long in world politics, we need off-shore balancing i.e. fall back to the US and let people cool off. Russia won’t attack Europe in the mean time, it can’t. What is the ideal endgame for Russia in the Republican mindset? Crying for Western aid and hugging us? That won’t happen, get a grip. We need to become better trading partners with them and encourage positive relations. I’m not saying cave to ridiculous demands or let them take over countries, I’m saying this neo-con pre-emptive strike plan is a complete strategical disaster and morally reprehensible.

    6. Yes it is. Ahmadinejad is angry for a lot of reasons, some of them justified, some of them not. The more time we spend on getting rid of real reasons that we are the cause of for him threatening to nuke Israel, the better. Nuclear technology is a pandora’s box – it’s out and you can’t put it back in. The only way to ensure regional stability is to keep people from getting violently angry. I assure you, Iran is angry because of PRAGMATIC POLITICAL REASONS, they are not crazy people who are suicidal and murderous for no reason at all. That is the first myth of both terrorism and hostile regimes. They are also people who want things, not animals covetous of death.

    7. I do not support drilling within 50 miles either, as it would decimate local marine life, which is critical to a healthy ecosystem. I know that liberal words like “ecosystem” sounds like the parents in Charlie Brown to you, but a recent report showed that Chicago would be like East Texas by the end of the century unless global warming is curbed immediately. Marine life, particularly coastal marine life, is an essential component to healthy oceans that regulate CO2 levels. Shooting ourselves in the foot to get medicine for a gunshot wound to the foot does not make sense.

    8. It wouldn’t make you sexist, because Palin actually is unqualified. Oh, and you are voting for VP – do the actuarial tables, McCain has a 1 in 3 shot of dying during his first term. This weather report calls for a 33% chance of Palin, with heavy to apocalyptic weather, foreign affairs, and energy policy in the next decade.


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