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Biden: Send In the Clowns
Posted By Dustin R. Steeve On August 23, 2008 @ 11:17 pm In Democrats,Politics | 31 Comments
*Note: This post is being republished courtesy of John Mark Reynolds and the Scriptorium Daily *
Beltway reaction to the pick of Slow Joe Biden proves that commentators who spend too much time near the center of power lose their grip on what the rest of the country is thinking. (Is there any senator who does not think picking another senator is a sign of wisdom?)
Most of the rest of us in both parties are gob smacked, “Is that the best he could do?”
Those of us who have a fond spot for Senator Obama (and I do) know Senator Obama is very bright and full of ideas. It is disheartening that his only real chance at a presidential level decision was to elevate a serial plagiarist whose self-regard is matched only by his lack of discipline.
For most Republicans I know (who are outside the Beltway) the reaction to the Biden pick was glee . . . and laughter. Joe Biden is, how shall we say it charitably, one of the more clownish men to ever run for the presidency. One is thankful for clowns, some children seem to love them, and they brighten up multiple candidate debates, but Slow Joe got about fifteen actual votes in this years primaries for a reason.
Voters laughed with him, but also at him and so did not want him too near the levers of power.
However, Senator Biden has survived for a long time with power in Washington. This means he is officially Redeemed and Wise in the eyes of those who live only for political power. Wise in Washington-speak means old and powerful. After one wins a few cycles or survives a few scandals (see Biden), then one is automatically elevated to the pantheon of the All Knowing.
If Dan Quayle had stayed in the Senate, he too would now have been Redeemed and Strangely Smarter. Quayle’s “mistake” was giving up political power thus freezing the last judgment made of him. Washington hates a loser and quickly forgets anyone who goes home.
Any long serving dim wit eventually gets New Respect. The worst case of this in my own party had to be the relic of segregation Strom Thurmond . . . a Democrat turned Republican turned monument to longevity that earned Strange Respect by simply living long enough that the evil he did started seeming quaint.
The transformation seems to operate on one simple assumption:
Nobody could be that bad who manages to stay in the Senate forever!
If your thinking is all power centered, then there is truth to it. Senator Biden is good at staying in office, hires a good staff that writes good briefing papers for him, and is a good talker. He is an enjoyable lad about town and says unpredictable things on the record, which makes him popular with the press.
The press often confuses verbal incontinence with intelligence in a politician.
Like many lads about town he gets forgiven by cultivating a perfect NARAL score, which means he gets a Free Pass for all the horrifically politically incorrect things he says which would sink someone who had not sold their vote to the inquisitors of the left.
If you doubt this analysis, see how often Biden is allowed to speak without briefing papers, handlers, or a teleprompter near for help. Let’s see how well he, not his staff but the Senator, knows his business. He will give a great convention speech, because someone will write a great speech for him. He will read it well and his wisdom confirmed until he speaks once again without a script.
Biden is proof that Washington often confuses gravitas with endurance.
The effect of gravity on Biden is not gravitas. The press will love him, because at any moment he may insult some new ethnic group. Obama has entertainment covered at the convention.
John Mark Reynolds is the founder and Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. John Mark is also a contributor to the Washington Post and Newsweek column On Faith.
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