Spinning Joe Biden

The Senator with the foot-shaped mouth fired off a real whopper this time:

Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.

Barack Obama’s admirers are dumbfounded—that includes people running his campaign. How do you spin a statement like that? Biden’s remarks were so extensive and emphatic that even a retraction would do nothing to mitigate the unease he has created. Besides “the cynical electorate” already knows what retractions mean.

Media response should be interesting. If Obama really is “their candidate,” it may be gut-wrenching for them to report on this story. And let’s remember what “news reporting” means today—it means editorializing in an effort to influence viewers.

This time, Biden’s comments are not mere trifles. They are sober reminders of what everyone knows. The threat of more terror—the likes of which we may not have seen yet—is a real and present danger. That will still be true no matter who becomes President. But would an Obama presidency intensify the risk? That’s what Biden seemed to be saying. And no one can say it isn’t true, because no one knows that it’s false.

It is easy to see why a McCain presidency could have a different effect on our enemies. And now, consideration of that has suddenly become a factor in this election. Maybe this is the “October surprise” that pundits say could change the numbers that pollsters have been producing.

Foreign policy is back on the table, with only two weeks left in this election season. More specifically, the prospect of a new chain of crises has to be considered. Thus we find ourselves asking two questions:

  1. Is Barack Obama as ready as John McCain to lead our nation should new challenges come?
  2. Is it more likely that new challenges would come during an Obama presidency than during a McCain presidency?

Thanks to Joe Biden, the economy is not the only thing we’ll be thinking about when we vote on November 4th.

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About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

4 Responses to Spinning Joe Biden

  1. Doug Geivett says:

    Dig, I see your point. In a truly Freudian slip, a person reveals the real self or an unpleasant truth, without intending to—and does so almost irresistibly.

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  2. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Kwach,

    On the contrary, what Biden clearly intended was that a series of severe tests would be more likely with the young candidate, Barack Obama, and that Obama supporters will have to really buck up and back him when it looks like he’s making poor decisions.

    The Obama-Biden team have been saying all during the campaign that electing McCain is asking for “four more years of George Bush.” If they mean that, then they can’t seriously expect McCain to be tested the way Obama would be. If McCain is such a Bush clone, he’s already been tested; that is, it’s pretty well-known that his response could be painful to the enemy. These are the implications of what Obama himself has made the centerpiece of his campaign.

    And aren’t we kidding ourselves if we think (a) that we know pretty much how Obama would respond in a crisis and can have complete confidence in the guy, and (b) we don’t have any crisper sense of how McCain would deal with crisis?

    A major point of my post is that Biden himself expects a test. He put this issue back into play and has gotten people to think, some for the first time, bless their hearts, about whether Obama has the right stuff. Past polling has indicated that people do have more confidence in McCain on this point—quite a lot more confidence. What has distracted some is the economy, and Obama has tried to capitalize on the shift in attention away from international dangers and levels of experience. His own running-mate, only two weeks out from the election, re-focused the spotlight. And you can tell from Obama’s strained response—which everybody knows was inaccurate—that he was none too happy with Biden.

    This is worse than a typical Biden-gaffe. Sooner or later people have to realize that Biden’s embarrassing edicts cannot be excused on the grounds that he’s just a well-meaning gaffer. In any case, we also should be wondering how qualified he really is to take the reins of the presidency if necessary. Even under wraps he explodes with truly bizarre and impolitic remarks that could cause real trouble for America in powder keg situations like he himself referred to.

    Once again, the media scrutinize every nuance of everything that McCain-Palin say, and then laugh with barely noticeable unease when Biden barks.

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  3. Dig says:

    Thank you Doug for highlighting this most remarkable quote, which I consider one of this campaign’s real schockers. There are certainly Freudian qualities to its content upon careful dissection. Also, this Biden opinion is so dramatic in tone, that it seems that more probing (with Biden face-to-face) should be a top priority (with media, voters, academia, etc.).

    For example, what did Biden mean when he said that this would be a “generated” crisis? Did he mean “generated” by a foreign power; by some domestic political foes in the Republican Party; some conspiratorial force? What is Biden referring to here?

    He also boldly predicts a possible four or five alternative scenarios of how this may take shape. Is he talking about Iran as one of those scenarios? Putin in Russia? Isn’t this statement peculiar enough to prompt further inquiry about Biden’s view of the various scenarios. I know that Palin wouldn’t get off the hook without explanation of what was envisioned by such a catastrophic statement.

    I also wonder if this comment relates to Obama’s possible withdrawal of troops in Iraq which may trigger some major event? And, has Biden just potentially compromised Obama’s position (and our Nation’s security interests) by possibly tipping his hand on something the two men have previously discussed privately.

    I know that Biden is a gaffe machine, but this quote should be regarded as a key development in the campaign. I have heard only limited response by McCain while on the campaign trail, and just hours ago a sort of lame attempt by Obama himself to soften the statement was beginning to hit the airwaves.

    Biden has already probably gone into hiding, which is a shame. The truth about this strange quote needs to be known.

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  4. Kwach says:

    What Senator Biden failed to say is that no matter which candidate is elected, such a “test” would be just as likely.

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