Christine O’Donnell’s nowhere-to-everywhere run for the Senate in Delaware has drawn comparisons to Sarah Palin’s meteoric rise. But if you believe even half of the charges leveled at O’Donnell from Delaware Democrats and their votaries in the national media, a more obvious, and embarrassing, comparison jumps to the forefront—namely, between O’Donnell and the man who until two years ago occupied the Senate seat that she now seeks.
Christine O’Donnell and Joe Biden have a penchant for speaking before thinking. Both make interesting copy from a boring state.
Biden imploring a wheelchair-bound Missouri politician to “stand up,” imparting the historic lesson that in the aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash President Roosevelt addressed the crisis on television, and issuing an overwrought warning against air-travel in the wake of 2009’s swine-flu scare are among the Vice President’s legendary gaffes. O’Donnell’s naïve candor in crusading against masturbation and confessing that she had been taken out on a high-school date to a Satanist altar have similarly come back to haunt her.
The Wilmington-to-Washington, Amtrak-commuting Biden often boasted of being the poorest member of the United States Senate. O’Donnell’s financial disclosure form, showing earnings shy of $6,000 last year, indicates that she would have the most meager fortune in the upper house.
The 29-year-old Biden’s Senate run came just three years after he had passed the bar. O’Donnell’s similarly light resume, bouncing from the Republican National Committee to Concerned Women for America to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute to numerous other outfits, paints the picture of a woman never laying down roots.
But the most interesting common denominator concerns the controversies surrounding their academic records.
O’Donnell conferred upon herself a college degree from Fairleigh Dickinson that the school hadn’t yet awarded her. Having paid tuition debts and fulfilled a final course requirement, Delaware’s Republican Senate candidate received her diploma about a month ago. Her lawsuit against the Intercollegiate Studies Institute implied that O’Donnell had been pursuing a master’s degree at Princeton. She hadn’t.
It is possible O’Donnell’s lawyer made a mistake about the Princeton master’s program and that O’Donnell, having walked on graduation day, believed that her financial debts made the physical absence of her degree a mere technicality. Another possibility is that she just lied.
If O’Donnell lied about her academic career, this should prove no impediment to winning over Delaware Democrats. For four decades, First State Democrats have voted for a politician who admittedly lied numerous times about his student days. Alas, what is permissible for Joe Biden is damnable in Christine O’Donnell.
On the campaign trail in Claremont, New Hampshire in April of 1987, presidential candidate Joe Biden responded to a pointed question about his credentials with the taunt: “I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.” On a roll, he boasted that he won “the outstanding student in the political science department” at the University of Delaware, from which he “graduated with three degrees,” and then “went to law school on a full academic scholarship,” where he “ended up in the top half” of his Syracuse class.
It wasn’t merely that Biden was immodest; he was dishonest. He didn’t win an “outstanding student” award at Delaware, where he had been a poor student. He didn’t earn three undergraduate degrees; he graduated from the University of Delaware as a double major. He received a half scholarship to Syracuse Law based on financial need and graduated 76th out of 85 students. Biden subsequently owned up to the lies: “I exaggerate when I’m angry.”
He must have been furious when he repeatedly presented the life of Neil Kinnock as if it were his own. In 1987, during Biden’s first run for the presidency, he plagiarized a speech delivered by the British Labour Party leader. Unlike his plagiarism in law school, and of such Democratic luminaries as Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, this instance contained a pathological dimension of pretending as though events that had happened to another man had happened to him. For example, Kinnock talked about being the first member of his family to graduate from college and his relatives’ 12-hour days slaving in coal mines. Biden did, too, despite these events being completely foreign to him.
The Vice President of the United States is a serial fabricator. He plagiarized in law school and on the campaign trail. He claimed numerous academic honors that he didn’t rate. He assumed another politician’s life as his own. Even Joe Biden’s hair tells a lie.
The woman running for his former seat in the United States Senate, on the other hand, made several claims that appear to be false.
Conservatives shouldn’t automatically assume that because a candidate shares their politics the candidate shares their ethics. They also shouldn’t grant ethical standing to people who don’t have any, e.g., ax-grinding journalists who ignored Biden’s lies but have embarked on a feeding frenzy of O’Donnell.
If you haven’t heard any of the myriad charges made against O’Donnell by the national media, perhaps you live under a rock. If you haven’t heard any of the charges made against Biden, it is because the national media lives under a rock when it comes to the ethical failings of their favored politicians. Biden’s deceit neither killed his 2008 run for the presidency nor disqualified him from a spot on the national ticket that same year.
Democrats are absolutely scandalized by deception—when it’s a Republican. When it’s a Democrat … yawn … listen to the crickets … blank stares.
National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and even GOP Rep. Mike Castle raised legitimate questions about Christine O’Donnell during the Republican primary. Delaware Democrats, who seven times voted Joe Biden for the United States Senate, can’t with a straight face cry foul. Neither can national Democrats, who installed a compulsive liar a heartbeat away from the presidency.