Saturday, August 23, 2008

Biden's Debut Speech: What Beautiful Day?

Joseph Biden, in his speech today after being introduced as Barack Obama's running mate, made it clear that the Democrats plan to campaign against the "failed" policies of eight years of "Bush-McCain."

This, of course, is the "McCain = Bush's Third Term" meme. It's been pushed for months, with little positive effect for the Democrats. Polls continue to show
a statistical dead heat in the presidential horse race (and tapping Biden is not expected to improve the numbers). Obama's weeks-long slide in public opinion will likely pause this week, only to continue its stall after a brief polling-bounce turnaround.

What struck me about Biden's debut, however, was the tremendous incongruity between his attack-dog message and his congressional-insider, pro-war record.

Biden, for example, slammed the administration's "disastrous" economic legacy and the war in Iraq, yet as
Jonah Goldberg asks:

How can Joe Biden run against a broken Washington when he's such an integral figure in it?
Yeah, how can he?

Biden began his Springfield speech praising our nation for allowing anyone to pull themselves up if they work hard, then in the next breath he announced that "the American dream is slipping away."

Biden continued, saying Americans are up late worring about paying the bills, while housing values have dropped "off a cliff." He then jabs John McCain for not knowing "which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at." Class warfare? I thought everyone in America could get ahead with hard work? No wonder Biden's plagiarizes speeches ... his aren't really coherent.

Meanwhile, speaking of economic classes, Barack Obama's
reported income for 2007 was $4.2 million, placing him in the top 1 percent of households for 2007. Yep, hard work will do that for you, with a little help from the Chicago machine, of course.

Biden goes off on foreign policy, saying we "can't afford four more years of a foreign policy that has shredded our alliances and sacrificed our moral standing around the world."

But as
Betsy Newmark points out, Biden said in 2002 that we needed to topple Saddam Hussein:

Biden on Meet the Press in 2002, discussing Saddam Hussein: “He’s a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security...

“We have no choice but to eliminate the threat. This is a guy who is an extreme danger to the world.”Biden on Meet the Press in 2002: “Saddam must be dislodged from his weapons or dislodged from power.”
Biden concluded his Springfield address saying "God bless America, and may he protect our troops." Well, folks aren't looking for divine leadership in protecting American forces in the field. Public opinion, by a decisive margin, sees McCain with the requisite experience to lead the troops in national security and crisis management, not Barack Obama (and not the man upstairs, with all due respect).

Biden's incongruity was topped off, at the conclusion of his speech, by the pumping sound of U2's "
Beautiful Day," with the volume rising as the Delaware Senator joined hands triumphantly with Obama at the center of the stage.

So, let's think about this, "It's a beautiful day ... don't let it get away..."

It's Bono, of course, singing of hope and uplift, but the Irish singer-activist has
consistently praised the Bush administration for pledging $15 billion for AIDS relief in Africa. First announced in this year's State of the Union, the administration has increased the appropriation to $39 billion, but it's been the the Democratic Congress that has balked in funding the initiative.

It's a beautiful day? "See the world wasting away, while U.S. Congress dawdles and plays."

Hope and change? Joe Biden's part of that Congress, serving his sixth term. "Don't let him get away..."

What beautiful day?

Related: For the text of Biden's Springfield debut, see Real Clear Politics, "Elect Obama to Reclaim America."