In the Arena

Oh Dear

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There’s been a lot of comment on the web about Joe Biden’s ritual self-immolation in the New York Observer regarding Barack Obama:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Clean? To which I say: Yikes and adios.
But then there was also this, same source, about John Edwards:

“I don’t think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about,” Mr. Biden said, when asked about Mr. Edwards’ advocacy of the immediate withdrawal of about 40,000 American troops from Iraq. “John Edwards wants you and all the Democrats to think, ‘I want us out of there,’ but when you come back and you say, ‘O.K., John'”–here, the word “John” became an accusatory, mocking refrain–“‘what about the chaos that will ensue? Do we have any interest, John, left in the region?’ Well, John will have to answer yes or no. If he says yes, what are they? What are those interests, John? How do you protect those interests, John, if you are completely withdrawn? Are you withdrawn from the region, John? Are you withdrawn from Iraq, John? In what period? So all this stuff is like so much Fluffernutter out there. So for me, what I think you have to do is have a strategic notion. And they may have it–they are just smart enough not to enunciate it.”

The tone is atrocious, obviously, but Biden is asking important questions here–and a lack of detailed knowledge about foreign and national security policy is clearly a problem for Edwards. Then again, Biden’s “answer” has been the partition of Iraq which, most every expert agrees, is impossible without a minimally reliable government in Baghdad to do things like distribute the oil revenues fairly–and I haven’t heard Biden, or anyone else, describe how we get from the Maliki disgrace to a minimally reliable government.

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