Friday, January 4, 2008

Biden quit.

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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9 comments:

  1. Completely agree, dude. It's sad to see Joe exit so early. Regardless, I think it was a good thing for the Democratic party and the country that his voice was a part of this mix.

    Hillary Clinton was fucking Joe, in particular, every day she trotted out that bullshit argument about experience for which she damned well knew that Joe had her beat by miles. When Bill Richardson makes that argument, these days, at least he has some real mileage under that argument, and his reference to it right after Joe's departure seems appropriate, actually, even if I think Obama would be a better choice for reasons that are bigger than experience.

    Joe and the Senate would benefit if he got a dash of humility. But it was nice to hear him say the obvious after he pulled out, something to the effect of "Everyone knows I'm more qualified than the rest of these bozos."

    Politics would benefit from more honesty like that, I think, even if Joe isn't my first pick. There's this really fucked up dynamic in politics in America and the world, I think, where we expect our leaders to both be superhuman and better in every conceivable way than their constituents and simultaneously one of us regular folks. It's an impossible standard and it fucks candidates all the time.

    And Joe has enough of a lot of the qualities that really matter - namely, exactly what you cite, John, which is that he thinks seriously and makes serious and thoughtful arguments based on empirical observations of the world that most candidates do not or will not because they often don't know how to and because it doesn't always play well to the chorus of dumbasses who vote and watch network news and otherwise make up the bulk of our brothers and sisters who, as George Bailey would say, "do most of the living and dying" in this country.

    It's good that Joe will still be around to make those arguments and to lift Congressional debates up, in that regard, and not down.

    Having said that, I do think Obama is an important correction, in some ways, perhaps, that is a function not just of Joe, personally, but the whole political process. I do think Joe's Achilles heel is that he's arrogant and I do think this would be a serious problem for an American president, right now, since it is the legitimate criticism that much of the world community has about American politics, right now.

    But I really don't think that this is Joe's problem, alone, in the least. It's a problem of both American politics and politics in Western democracies and everywhere, really, generally. It's a problem for politicians, journalists, scholars, activists, everyone.

    Because politics involves the highest stakes, everyone just gets so goddamn invested in their perspective or ideology or party or even their own often exemplary intelligence - Noam Chomsky is a great example of this one, I think. He's brilliant, but he's way to caught up in his brilliance like it means more than it does and like he has more answers or a more righteous understanding of the political system than he does, especially when I think he happens to be seriously wrong on so many issues; brilliance, as it turns out, doesn't mean being right all the time, it just means that you regularly have insight that is worth some thought and someone needs to tell Noam and a million other intellects in the international democratic circles that - that they start to lose track of both their limitations, all of our limitations, and the bit of humility that might make for a more constructive, decent discussion/debate and maybe get us a little closer to solutions for problems rather than some kind of perverse confirmation of our omniscience.

    I've decided, John, that Hollywood, comedians in particular, are maybe a good corrective to this. We all need the corrections from a million different conceivable directions, is the truth, I think, if we had more discussion that made that more likely rather than the far too intense, far too aggressive, far too threatening and punitive conversation that we today that makes it so hard for anyone to hear the things they need to hear. We just suck at it in a serious way, is the truth, but it's better the bullshit that passes for governance in more repressive parts of the world.

    Just the fact that in most serious political conversations you can't talk like you would to your friend at the bar or your wife or children for fear of looking stupid or like a puss or not formal enough or whatever million artificial limitations we have on serious political and otherwise serious discussion we have in America.

    I think we'd be better off letting politicians talk this way more often and talking with politicians like this, more often and maybe having separate kid-friendly discussions. Like when Bill Bradley admitted extensive drug use while he played NBA ball - as we could all completely imagine - during the campaign, it was so refresingly honest and then to watch his journalistic brethren all skirt the issue for fear of tainting their own reputations is just kind of a ridiculous exercise that we engage in when trying to have honest conversations about serious issues that need more space for people to just be themselves and to let politicians be real people just like the rest of us and not always trying to cover their asses and simultaneously never feeling like they can just be an average joe or jane, just like the rest of us.

    As long as the folks who are responsible for politics and scholarship and journalism and even the courts, law enforcement, and the military, within reason, feel like they can't just be regular people, the process will always be kind of fucked up, because it means serious gaps in experience between people who are responsible for governance and the people they govern. And people, with all their foibles, will eventually will out in that conflict every time.

    It's all so fucked up, John, that many days I don't even really want to do that kind of work, anymore, except that I think I have some stuff to offer that would be a shame to just drop completely, at this point. The high stakes and intensity of the work means that people get more invested in their ideas than those ideas deserve and make it hard to just have a more reasonable, humble, rigorous and thoughtful and average-person conversation about the challenges we face that would be better for everyone if we did that have that kind of conversation.

    Somehow, we have to refocus our democratic conversations in that direction. I think Obama offers more opportunity in that direction, right now, but the truth is none of the candidates in this election will do the real leg work on this one. The problems with politics in America and in the the democratic world are bigger than our politicians. They have to do with the quality of our discussions. Your blog, as always, John, is a good start for that. And all the places where better and more honest conversation can take place.

    Somehow, I think Adam Sandler movies fit in there somewhere. Ever since Reign Over Me, my respect for Sandler, which was already high, has just gone into overdrive. If you haven't seen it, yet, dude, you should.

    I should get to bed, here. Talk with you soon, dude.

    Ben

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    1. Post 41 Bush New World OrderJuly 21, 2015 at 9:15 PM

      China number one. The States? Number two.

      Delete
  2. ^ ^ * a little like KC Royals/ DRPart--right?July 22, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    Please reach out to us if you are reading any of this. We certainly hope you are confident enough to do so, DRP. We are not stalking you; we are fans ^

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  3. 345439094371818358042-65392135932532July 22, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Do u still have bits n pieces of your sister's old Yugo (the one she cracked up back in '87)? Still have the Yugo key chain stuffed inside a cassingle jewel box? Y don't u ever answer me Dave ! This is horseshit! Its been ye^rs n I would really like 4 u to contact me. The 80's maybe gone-but I'm not! 345439094371818358042-65392135932532. I really need to at least hear from u. Stop ignoring-

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  4. you always let me down, DaveJuly 23, 2015 at 10:17 PM

    What if i send you some Paula Deeeen cookware. What about a case of Bush's baked beans or a case of Columbo vanilla yogurt? You would send the Bush/Columbo products back. No reminders of Pan Am flight 103, huh. But the Paula D stuff you would keep. No secret, there. Send you a coupon for some Oprah "nigger" chai tea- you would drink it because white bread Ed the horse enjoys chai. Am i making any sense at all, Davita? U surround yourself in a strange world. Cannot break through the glass ceiling. A sexual minority who does not identify with the LGBT movement.
    Want to thank u for at least giving us all a peak back in '08. Consider you one of Madonna/Lu-weeze's "discoveries". A strange new kind of talent. Leave it to ML to have an eye for what's beyond next. Nothing else quite like DRP/ it. ML is a first-rate artist-of sound, vision, taste & smell. Entertainment, politix, sports. How can words even come close to describing any of this. That is why its got such pull. Impossible to forget. There has to be others to carry the torch- in the world of cuisine/good living for the masses (Marthesque), in politix, sports & the arts. Although I can see it evolve that way. Everything seems to be headed in the direction of psychological warfare. Regardless of good or bad or industry. Even fashion, furniture, accessories and collectibles. When you stop and think about it. Sure, you probably get a headache. Reach for some Advil. But your exhibit on high quality paper from the 1980's was as shocking as the mind-art exhibit back in Vaughan. I appreciate the invite. Even though u were a no-show.

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    1. Kind of like nigger feoutuses used for pizza toppings. Or some delicious cajun/creole specialties served up at the Lion Grille Inn.

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    2. Heavy Metal music & Soylent Green mealsSeptember 26, 2015 at 2:23 AM

      Lions love eating choco-feoutuses.

      Delete
  5. I like the movie "Tammy". Its like a 1980's movie.

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  6. I'd like to name my next granddaughter "Tammy".

    ReplyDelete