Biden: Send In the Clowns

*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.

Around the Horn: Joe Biden for Vice-President

If elected president, Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden to assume the office of President should something happen to Obama.
Media outlets are buzzing with stories on Obama, Biden, and Obama-Biden. Here is a quick trip around the horn:
The Trumpet Resounds:
Alexander Burns and John F. Harris provide a sketch of Biden for those unfamiliar with him or his record.
Trumpeting from the Right:
Hugh Hewitt agree’s with the assessment of Biden that he is the “stupid person’s idea of a smart person’s candidate.” Hewitt argues that picking Biden means that, “Obama has added to his unsteady candidacy an epic amount Beltway cluelessness and arrogance unsupported by anything except frequent flier miles and Delaware’s love for a chuckle-headed fellow with a big smile.” Cliff the Mail Man for Vice-President.
Proving that he understands the language of Obama’s core support demographic, Washington Post On Faith columnist and Scriptorium Daily contributor John Mark Reynolds says “LOL” to Obama’s seemingly unwise choice. Noting the unique role that a Vice-President can play, Reynold’s says, “You look all over America able to choose the person (other than yourself) most fit to be President of the United States. It is a primary with one voter and you can choose your own Socrates, since he need not win over the masses.” Instead of choosing Socrates, Obama chose Empedocles.
The editors at National Review Online question whether Obama’s choice of Biden for VP leaves any hope for change in Washington.
Trumpeting from the Left:
Mike Allen quotes Obama spokesperson Linda Douglass who attempts to refute the notion that Biden eliminates any hope for change in Washington. According to Douglass, “”He’s stared down dictators all around the world. He has decades of experience in Washington and, yet, uniquely, he is not of Washington…He is the perfect person you could try to find to get away from the failed policies of the Bush administration. He is an independent thinker. Joe Biden, as you well know, has never been at a loss for words.”
At the Daily Kos they see Biden as a strong choice for Obama. Noting that Obama did not merely want a “yes man” Kos references this Obama quote, “I want somebody who is independent. Somebody who is able to say to me, ‘you know what, Mr. President, I think you’re wrong on this and here’s why’ and will give me (applause) who will help me think through major issues and consult with me, would be a key advisor.” Joe Biden certainly does not seem to be one who would merely say “yes.”
Finally, James P. Rubin argues that Joe Biden is the right man at the right time. According to Rubin, Biden’s “foreign policy experience and wisdom are unmatched in American politics. There is no one in Congress who has been around as long, who understands the international realities better, or whose judgment has proven sounder than Joe Biden’s.”
Blowing My Own Horn
Barack Obama’s VP pick confirms my suspicion that Barack Obama is the biggest thing in his universe. Biden has useful political experience and foreign policy gravitas, but his gaffe prone long-windedness and his inability to excite more than 1% of Democrat voters in this last primary means that he will not overshadow Obama. While it is commendable of Barack Obama to pursue someone who would not be a “yes man,” especially in the area of foreign policy, there seem to be other individuals who fit this bill. Why did Obama not choose Bill Richardson whose has as much political gravitas as Biden with a much more diverse resume and who would have put the battle ground state of New Mexico in play?
McCain supporters have reason to be of good cheer.
Dustin Steeve is a graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. Dustin worked as an Assistant Producer for the Hugh Hewitt Show and was also the Administrative Editor for the

Super Tuesday Too:
Reflections on the OH and TX Primaries

The Longest Two Months— While it seems like an eternity has passed, the Iowa Caucus was only 60 days ago. Fortunately this is the last of the significant primaries and the race has been decided on one side and all but determined on the other.
Congrats to McCain — If winning makes you look smarter, then campaign manager Rick Davis appears to be a genius. He laid out McCain’s Path to Victory in December and found a way to make it a reality.
Thanks, Governor Huckabee — I have many reasons to be thankful for Governor Huckabee’s inspiring Presidential run. But there are three other groups who should also be grateful for Mike Huckabee: social conservatives who lacked a voice in the primaries, supporters of John McCain, and Republicans.
If the Republican’s hold the White House next year, Huckabee will deserve partial credit. By winning in Iowa, Huckabee derailed Romney’s campaign and prevented the Massachusetts Governor’s long march toward an inevitable electoral debacle. Huckabee also managed to keep many conservative evangelicals and other members of the traditionalist wing of the party engaged in the race. Their support for McCain may be listless, but Huckabee gave them hope that it may be too soon to give up on the GOP.
An Inevitable Obamination? Maybe Not. — After the Florida primary I wrote, “An Obama/Anyone ticket would be a disaster for McCain.” I still pessimistic enough to believe that it’s likely, though I’m hopeful that the abomination of an Obama presidency is not yet inevitable. I’m even starting to see signs that such a disaster may be averted. The reason: people are starting to listen to what Obama says.
Take, for instance, his NAFTA-bashing which has caused our neighbors to the north to worried about the “rhetoric of protectionism.” Even Andrew Sullivan, who swoons at the mention of Obama, said the NAFTA pander was “Not his finest hour.” (Yes it’s a tepid response and yes we all know that if Obama wins that Sullivan will spend the next four years regretting his support (as he did with Bush), but still, any relenting from his incessant Obamafawning is a huge concession.)
Obama has an uncanny ability to inspire in people an audacious hope for the impossible (Example: “The philosophy guy said that he almost always votes for Republican, but he’s for Obama this time, although he can’t quite explain why. His hope is that Obama will govern like a Republican.”) But I’m hopeful that such people will set aside such nonsense and eventually realize that while Obama sounds like a cross between Cicero and The Rock, what he’s saying is nothing more than rehashed discredited liberalism.
Rush to Idiocy — So Rush Limbaugh is urging people to vote for Hillary. Hugh Hewitt is aghast (“If Hillary ekes out close wins, stays alive, gains the nomination and the White House, will Rush hold the Bible at her Inauguration?”) but I can’t say that I’m really surprised. Rush is an entertainer and for all the hype about his ratings, his audience isn’t that large by show business standards (he has half the audience of Fox’s reality show Moment of Truth). He needs a Clinton presidency to remain relevant and give people a reason to tune in to his daily gasbaggery.
Still, I refuse to believe it worked. I refuse to believe that Republicans in Ohio and Texas are voting for Hillary in the primary because some radio clown told them it was the optimal strategy. I refuse to believe it because (a) the fact that McCain is the nominee shows that Rush is not that influential and (b) Republicans can’t be that stupid. (While I’m certain about (a) could I be wrong about (b)?)
I agree with Lars Walker: “It seems to me that if you love this country you’ve got to hold the electoral process in a kind of reverence. The fact that there are cynical people out there who game the system doesn’t justify us, the people who say we believe in moral absolutes, in pretending to belong to a different party so we can sabotage its nomination process. If they did it to us, I’d be angry about it.”
Say it ain’t so, Republicans; say you didn’t stoop that low.
The Most Significant Number — In 2004, Ohio proved to be the key state for President Bush’s reelection victory. In a tight race, Bush beat John Kerry in the Buckeye State by 118,457 votes. So how does it look four years later? With 81% of the precincts in Ohio reporting, the Democratic candidates received 1,745,199 votes while the Republicans received less than half that amount — 867,000.
If the GOP is relying on a victory in Ohio to shift the Red-Blue divide toward McCain then we’re in serious trouble.

The Obama Effect

What is it about Barack Obama that causes women to faint?

As the WSJ’s James Taranto says, “What exactly are we to make of this? A cynic might wonder if the whole thing isn’t staged, given how often it happens and how well-honed and self-serving Obama’s standard response seems to be. But if it’s spontaneous, that’s in a way even more unsettling.”
It is rather weird. Though, I have to say that the thought of Obama becoming President makes me a bit woozy too.