The media are slamming Vice President Joe Biden for accusing Turkey and the United Arab Emirates of aiding Al Qaeda. The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake, for instance, writes: “…[A]s Biden’s many gaffes go, few are as damaging as this one. And in case anyone thought Biden has a real shot at becoming president in 2016–something we’ve argued for a long time is folly–this should remind us why that almost definitely won’t happen.”
Biden’s incompetence was clear to conservative critics when he was chosen as Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008. While he had ample foreign policy “experience” as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that experience consisted of being wrong on almost every major foreign policy issue of importance in three decades. His rival, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, trounced him in their debate, as Biden made a series of embarrassing errors.
Nevertheless, the media celebrated the Biden pick, ostensibly because it filled Obama’s “experience gap” (which they had barely bothered to acknowledge before), and also because they suspected white voters would not back a black candidate unless he had the approval of a grey-haired good ol’ boy.
Here is but a small sampling of what seasoned political observers were saying in praise of Obama’s choice of Biden as Vice President in August 2008:
“Biden brings the Democratic ticket immediate gravitas on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Georgia….Biden, a serious politician with a far deeper resume than Obama, will complicate–if not entirely blunt–Republican attacks on the Illinois senator’s readiness for office.” – Chris Cillizza, Washington Post, Aug. 23, 2008
“In the realm of foreign policy, Joseph Biden brings to Barack Obama’s presidential bid something it lacks at the top–long experience with a range of countries, problems, and foreign leaders….Biden, a loquacious commentator on world affairs, may also serve as a useful source of foreign policy critiques of his Senate colleague and friend, Republican presidential candidate John McCain.” – Thomas Omestad, U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 25, 2008
“Reich also points to the respect that world leaders have for Biden, who has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for three decades and is currently its chairman….Biden’s foreign-policy experience, says Reich, will not only ‘help restore America’s leadership in the world’ but will ‘burnish Obama’s foreign-policy credentials.’ – Robert Reich, quoted by Barry Bergman, UC Berkeley News, Aug. 27, 2008
‘America has made tremendous progress in racial and gender attitudes and rights,’ he observes. ‘But racial and gender bias are still very real and prevalent, with nontrivial proportions of Americans indicating explicitly in surveys that they are not prepared to vote for a black or woman candidate. Having a doubly unconventional ticket may be too much to ask of the current American electorate.’ Going with ‘a senior, white male,’ concludes Glaser, was a ‘wise strategic choice.’ – Jack Glaser, quoted by Bergman, above.
“In the end, Joe Biden may be more valuable to Barack Obama as a senior adviser in the White House, if the ticket wins in November, than on the campaign trail this fall.” – Kenneth T. Walsh, U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 25, 2008
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak