Joe Biden isn't perfect. He (and/or his writers) did some heavy borrowing when building campaign speeches a few decades ago. He's helped the Delaware-based credit card companies with bankruptcy legislation while pretending that he was sticking up for women and children. His plan to partition Iraq was questionable once upon a time and seems unrealistic today. He rubbed people the wrong way and had is pseudo-macaca moment when discussing Indian dudes running Quickie-Marts.
Joe Biden isn't perfect. He is, however, one of the smarter people to have gone after the Presidency for 2008. Now he's out. He made a few comments as he pulled the ripcord on his candidacy. The LA Times says he's bitter. I think he's honest.
Biden combined a no-nonsense presentation with a considered perspective on issues. He made strong enough arguments that "what Joe just said" seemed to be a common answer for others during the dem debates. He wasn't afraid to call bullshit when he saw it.
Here's an example. You may not agree with Biden, but he addresses an issue on a higher level than what you generally get from a candidate. He seems to actually know something about the issues, which is refreshing. Anyone remember when Geo. Bush II couldn't name the leader of Pakistan back in 2000?
Love him or hate him, he had arguments. Real arguments. Hell, he was probably the best of the D-crew based on their own bullshit criteria. Change? Experience? Sounds like Biden to me.
Yet he got his ass kicked a million and one different ways. The smart guy from the Foreign Relations Committee with decades of Senatorial experience and a more-than-decent overall record in government (hey, all things are relative) got about as much traction as a '74 Ford Country Squire trying to make it up an iced over mountain.
Biden now argues that the media was complicit in his ass-whipping. I don't think he's trying to duck all responsibility for the poor showing in Iowa and crappy polling elsewhere, but he's definitely willing to give a piece of the "you fucked me" pie to the newsies.
He argues that the media ignored him, guaranteeing no more than a shot at hanging around on the second tier. Biden's not sticking around to fight over leftovers with Bill Richardson (whose entire campaign seems like a weird VP bid to me, anyway). Chris Dodd bailed today, too.
According to the LA Times:
“This," said Biden, "is about celebrity. You’ve never given any of us a chance. You know in your heart I’m more qualified than any of these guys up top. I know you can’t say yes or no, but I know you know.”
He's right. Just like he was right about Rudy's strategy being "noun, verb, 9/11". Just like he was right about quite a few other things. Oh, and even when he was wrong (which did happen), he was wrong for a reason. He had an argument and it was based on evidence and reasoning.
Now it seems like the one guy in the entire election across both parties who really was interested and able to talk about serious issues in a very serious way is going back to the Senate. At least he's not just going home, I guess.
I have a growing belief that we deserve crappy leadership because we, as a big ol' nation, don't want to actually go through the whole thinking/listening/researching thing. We'd prefer charm and a good slogan. We prefer dissecting political strategy at the expense of considering issues and how to confront them.
Biden's early exit is symptomatic of our greatest weakness--our collective willingness to piss on the smart and the complicated while embracing the stupid and simple. I'm not saying Joe B. should've won the whole damn thing, but he certainly deserved better than what he got.
The counter-argument, of course, is the same one posed by a newspaper writer when Biden went on his mini-tirade. He did have a chance to take his message directly to the people of Iowa, right? It amazes me how the self-aggrandizing media likes to pretend to be inconsequential when it suits them. Like Joe said, "Don't be a phony, OK?"
The cards are stacked against ideas and the dealers are building great hands for those banking on image. There may be some good reasons for that. You could make an argument that charisma and other intangibles are important in a President. No one's making that argument, though. They're just playing dumb.
Thanks for the effort, Joe. If it's any consolation, I would've wasted a vote on you as a matter of principle.
So, when the completely meaningless Kansas primary rolls around, I'll be forced to choose between Clinton, Obama and Edwards (assuming they all survive that long). That'll be a shitty day, huh?
Joe is/was right. At least sometimes...
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