The Biden exemption

Writing for the Boston Globe on Monday, John Sununu concluded an otherwise sober assessment of Mitt Romney’s search for the best vice-presidential candidate with this paragraph:

So let us embrace the obvious: The winning choice is the dull choice — a running mate the public already knows, warts and all. Mondale, Bush, Gore, Cheney, Biden. These were not picks that lit the world on fire. They were serious, experienced names, vetted by the harsh media glare of a previous run for president or service in the president’s cabinet. They weren’t from key states, and weren’t part of some grand plan to balance ideology. But they all won.

Joe Biden was a “serious, experienced name” subjected to media vetting?  Let us pause to indulge in a Beavis & Butthead laugh. 

Refreshing, wasn’t it?

Anyway, it’s not surprising that people from deep within the Establishment (if I may borrow a few analytical tools from Newt Gingrich) would think Biden was a proper vice presidential choice.  The rest of us out in flyover country see a doddering old man whose every utterance would be ripe for comedy satire, if the satire industry had any interest in making fun of prominent Democrat politicians. 

Even in 2008, the only noteworthy item on Biden’s political resume was plagiarism – and let us remember that during his 1988 presidential run, he didn’t just steal a speech from British politician Neil Kinnock, he swiped elements of the man’s biography.  Also, he didn’t just steal from Kinnock, and his habit of plagiarism extended all the way back to his school days. 

He was also an inveterate liar back then, having famously lied through his teeth about his academic career while blowing his stack at a heckler on the campaign trail, and assuring his tormentor, “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect.”  Oh yes, Joe Biden said that.  The only reason people weren’t doubled over with laughter when Barack Obama chose him as a running mate is that the Establishment chose to tastefully flush Biden’s history down the memory hole, something they never would have done if he were a Republican.

The media observes very stringent protocols when it comes to reporting on Joe Biden, politely averting their gaze during his periodic eruptions of prevarication, fantasy, and incoherence.  He’s not just a harmless goofball, either – he’s a vicious political animal who has stated that opposition to his Administration’s spending binges would lead to more women being raped.  Barack Obama is accountable for putting this man a heartbeat away from the presidency, but the press really doesn’t want Americans dwelling on that.

Republican strategist Karl Rove caught Biden’s most recent appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation, and was duly appalled:

“Face” moderator Bob Schieffer focused on President Obama’s plea to Russian President Medvedev for “space” on missile defense because, as Mr. Obama said, he’d “have more flexibility” after the election. Mr. Schieffer asked Mr. Biden what he made of Republican attacks on the president’s “now famous unguarded moment.”

Mr. Biden replied, “The president just stated the obvious.” In an election year, it is unrealistic to assume Mr. Obama would have “the flexibility to sit down and talk with people in this Congress…and be able to work with this problem, between now and Election Day.”

This was so clearly a misstatement of the US president’s whispered aside to the Russian president that even Mr. Schieffer raised a mild objection to Mr. Biden’s description, saying “I hear this from conservatives all the time. If you don’t like Barack Obama now, wait until he gets reelected because…he’s free to do whatever he wants to do.”

Contrary to Mr. Biden’s claim, Mr. Obama did not tell Mr. Medvedev that Congress would never take up a missile defense agreement before the election. Mr. Obama said, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.” Mr. Medvedev replied, “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…” To which Mr. Obama said, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Mr. Obama was telling the Russians he would do something they’d like but after the election because the American people won’t approve and might make their disapproval heard at the polls.

Even this might be excused as aggressive political spin from a partisan operative – what’s the Administration going to do, admit the truth about the “hot mike” slip and deal honestly with the words we all heard Obama utter? – but the Biden performance didn’t end there.  As Rove recounts, Biden went on to claim that Mitt Romney wants to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” which was meant as a reference to the auto companies.  But Barack Obama did let them go bankrupt, right before he delivered the bailout his Administration incessantly, and incorrectly, asserts they later repaid.  (Not even close, folks.  They’re not within $25 billion of repaying that money, and Rove thinks they never will be.)

Biden claimed General Motors is “the largest corporation in the world” and they’ve hired all sorts of people since their bailout, when in fact they are the 23rd largest corporation in America, and their workforce has declined by over 50,000 jobs since the bailout. 

Biden asserted that “millions” of people are already benefiting from ObamaCare, but the real number is less than fifty thousand.  He blithely asserted that ObamaCare’s critics offer no reform suggestions of their own, a Big Lie of gigantic proportions that is meant to obscure the many market-based alternatives offered by the Republican presidential contenders today, and the utterly vindicated critics who spoke up on Day One of the ObamaCare disaster.  Biden’s indulging in the same sort of willful blindness that left liberals astonished by the thrashing ObamaCare received during oral arguments at the Supreme Court: dealing with the substantive critiques and alternatives of his thoughtful opponents is far too much work, so he merely declares they don’t have any, and hopes the press will let him slide until the lie is thoroughly baked into public discourse.

And they do let him slide.  There’s plenty more in Rove’s detailed account, including the same dusty prevarications the Administration has been offering on energy since gas prices began rising, and their poll numbers began cratering.  None of it was challenged by the moderator, or anyone else, as Rove laments in his conclusion:

All of Mr. Biden’s energy misstatements Sunday went by without any challenge. Perhaps Mr. Schieffer thought their inaccuracy was clear for all to see. Maybe he shares Mr. Biden’s worldview. Or maybe it is just the role of a Sunday moderator to let a guest say what he wants and leave it up to others in the media to question and challenge.

But the media rarely makes much of Vice President Joe Biden’s misstatements. No articles on Monday morning reported on his errors. No breathless network news anchor tagged him for his misstatements. So far, no White House reporter is on record badgering the White House to defend Mr. Biden’s statements.

Of course much of this is due to political sympathy and ideological bias, but it’s also a demonstration of the hidebound mindset of our rotting political establishment, which regards itself as an aristocracy.  Lord Biden comes from an impeccable family, don’t you know!  He’s got all the right credentials!  Of course he’s welcome in the parlors and drawing rooms of the elite, and applauded when he takes the stage with the rest of the royal court.  What he actually says is tastefully ignored. 

Washington is full of equally absurd and unimaginative aristocrats, and we are told we must surrender increasing control over our lives to them, because they have the most excellent political breeding.  We find ourselves under the dominion of an establishment that takes Joe Biden seriously.  The results are dismaying, but not surprising.