Commentary Magazine


Posts For: August 27, 2008

Re: Biden Review

What is certain is that everyone stumbles when it comes to saying what is so great about Barack Obama. The record is so thin even with Biden bombast it was hard to come up with material. And the McCain team seems delighted to go toe-to-toe on the national security judgment issue. They are already out with the ad.

What is certain is that everyone stumbles when it comes to saying what is so great about Barack Obama. The record is so thin even with Biden bombast it was hard to come up with material. And the McCain team seems delighted to go toe-to-toe on the national security judgment issue. They are already out with the ad.

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Re: Biden Review

John, Biden is always intense, that’s his hallmark.  But he was supposed to make the case why the country could be secure with Obama as commander in chief, and he didn’t. He didn’t even really try.  Yes, the blue collar and family values stuff works for him, but we are a country at war.  We are still in the bulls’ eye of international terrorists. And we’re facing a new Russian threat.  Shouldn’t Americans care just a little bit about what the Democrats are going to do about this?

John, Biden is always intense, that’s his hallmark.  But he was supposed to make the case why the country could be secure with Obama as commander in chief, and he didn’t. He didn’t even really try.  Yes, the blue collar and family values stuff works for him, but we are a country at war.  We are still in the bulls’ eye of international terrorists. And we’re facing a new Russian threat.  Shouldn’t Americans care just a little bit about what the Democrats are going to do about this?

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Remarkably Defensive

Barack Obama appeared and tried to justify moving the show to the football stadium. For the little people! Not an ego trip, mind you. He’s doing it for the masses. They must be nervous.

Barack Obama appeared and tried to justify moving the show to the football stadium. For the little people! Not an ego trip, mind you. He’s doing it for the masses. They must be nervous.

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Re Re: Biden Review

Linda, of course you’re correct that Biden didn’t offer specifics about what Obama would do. But he framed the discussion in terms of the way Republicans have mishandled American foreign policy. I think he’s wrong about a lot of that, but it’s not intended for us; it’s intended to sway independents and others who don’t follow these matters very closely and might be swayed by the attack.

Linda, of course you’re correct that Biden didn’t offer specifics about what Obama would do. But he framed the discussion in terms of the way Republicans have mishandled American foreign policy. I think he’s wrong about a lot of that, but it’s not intended for us; it’s intended to sway independents and others who don’t follow these matters very closely and might be swayed by the attack.

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The Biden Review

I can’t agree with you, Linda–it was a pretty effective speech. Not a killer, but it got the job done.

I can’t agree with you, Linda–it was a pretty effective speech. Not a killer, but it got the job done.

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Surprise

Barack Obama just took the stage.  Good. Maybe we won’t have to hear silliness about what a good job Biden did.  They must think he hasn’t been getting enough attention.

Barack Obama just took the stage.  Good. Maybe we won’t have to hear silliness about what a good job Biden did.  They must think he hasn’t been getting enough attention.

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A Lot Of Nerve

For Biden to say John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right on Iraq. We left facts behind us at the mid-point, but you can tell why Biden was chosen. He is the candidate Obama is not — experienced, in tune with blue collar language and sentiment and aggressive. Right ticket, wrong order?

For Biden to say John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right on Iraq. We left facts behind us at the mid-point, but you can tell why Biden was chosen. He is the candidate Obama is not — experienced, in tune with blue collar language and sentiment and aggressive. Right ticket, wrong order?

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Georgia on Their Minds

Joe Biden does a weird “Blame Bush First” thing by essentially saying the Russian war against Georgia is the result of a failure of the United States.

Joe Biden does a weird “Blame Bush First” thing by essentially saying the Russian war against Georgia is the result of a failure of the United States.

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Lame

Who wrote Biden’s speech?  He’d be better off borrowing someone else’s words again.  This is one of the lamest speeches I’ve heard from a major candidate. 

Who wrote Biden’s speech?  He’d be better off borrowing someone else’s words again.  This is one of the lamest speeches I’ve heard from a major candidate. 

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Here It Comes

When Joe Biden tries to list accomplishments of Barack Obama it is painfully thin. But now he’s onto attack dog, going after John McCain and the oil companies. He’s just getting warmed up.

When Joe Biden tries to list accomplishments of Barack Obama it is painfully thin. But now he’s onto attack dog, going after John McCain and the oil companies. He’s just getting warmed up.

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Biden Warms Up

By evoking the plight of the middle class in quiet tones and sweetly channeling his mom Biden is making a superb impression. He is finally on the ground on which Democrats believe the election can be won.

By evoking the plight of the middle class in quiet tones and sweetly channeling his mom Biden is making a superb impression. He is finally on the ground on which Democrats believe the election can be won.

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Still Waiting

Again, we were told that tonight’s theme was national security, but Joe Biden, who was supposedly put on the ticket because of his foreign policy credentials, has yet to say a word on the issue.  This is either the most undisciplined convention in recent history or else they think Americans don’t care about national security.  The more Biden talks, the clearer it is why he didn’t get the nomination. 

Again, we were told that tonight’s theme was national security, but Joe Biden, who was supposedly put on the ticket because of his foreign policy credentials, has yet to say a word on the issue.  This is either the most undisciplined convention in recent history or else they think Americans don’t care about national security.  The more Biden talks, the clearer it is why he didn’t get the nomination. 

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Biden’s Introduction

His son made a lovely speech and you do have a sense of that Joe Biden is a decent man. The argument that he isn’t a creature of Washington because he drove home every day is weak and not likely to be repeated. But the film and the speech transmitted more basic information about Biden than the campaign has done since the selection. A sign that the Obama campaign hasn’t been executing lately.

His son made a lovely speech and you do have a sense of that Joe Biden is a decent man. The argument that he isn’t a creature of Washington because he drove home every day is weak and not likely to be repeated. But the film and the speech transmitted more basic information about Biden than the campaign has done since the selection. A sign that the Obama campaign hasn’t been executing lately.

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Beau Biden

What an emotional stemwinder introducing Dad! Beau Biden is Delaware’s Attorney General.  I think he just won the next Senate race.

What an emotional stemwinder introducing Dad! Beau Biden is Delaware’s Attorney General.  I think he just won the next Senate race.

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Joe Biden

Joe Biden’s son just made a very good speech introducing his dad.  It makes you sort of wonder why maybe Joe Biden isn’t at the top of the ticket and Obama his vice presidential pick.

Joe Biden’s son just made a very good speech introducing his dad.  It makes you sort of wonder why maybe Joe Biden isn’t at the top of the ticket and Obama his vice presidential pick.

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Those First Two Years

Bill Kristol observes that it may have been an error for Bill Clinton to raise his own election as evidence that it is okay to select someone without national security experience. There was Somalia, Haiti, etc. And we fiddled while Al Qaeda roamed the globe.

And, as Morton Kondracke observes, of course Bill Clinton didn’t mean it when he said that he believes Barack Obama is ready to be President. ( The McCain camp supplies the evidence.)

Still, a great speech.

Bill Kristol observes that it may have been an error for Bill Clinton to raise his own election as evidence that it is okay to select someone without national security experience. There was Somalia, Haiti, etc. And we fiddled while Al Qaeda roamed the globe.

And, as Morton Kondracke observes, of course Bill Clinton didn’t mean it when he said that he believes Barack Obama is ready to be President. ( The McCain camp supplies the evidence.)

Still, a great speech.

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National Security Issues DNC-Style

Tonight was supposed to be the Democrats’ chance to tell Americans where they stand on national security issues. Steven Spielberg’s film has just started–and it is supposed to be a tribute to American men and women in uniform.  But so far, it looks like a Spielberg version of “Generation Kill,” the HBO series that has so far been a big bust with audiences.  But what I am waiting to hear is what the Democrats have to say about the emerging threat from Russia; what will Obama do to counteract Iran’s nuclear ambitions; what do they think about the North Koreans’ decision this week to stop dismantling their nuclear reactor?  Maybe Joe Biden will answer these questions, but I won’t hold my breath.

Tonight was supposed to be the Democrats’ chance to tell Americans where they stand on national security issues. Steven Spielberg’s film has just started–and it is supposed to be a tribute to American men and women in uniform.  But so far, it looks like a Spielberg version of “Generation Kill,” the HBO series that has so far been a big bust with audiences.  But what I am waiting to hear is what the Democrats have to say about the emerging threat from Russia; what will Obama do to counteract Iran’s nuclear ambitions; what do they think about the North Koreans’ decision this week to stop dismantling their nuclear reactor?  Maybe Joe Biden will answer these questions, but I won’t hold my breath.

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Re: John Kerry

The only saving grace was that most of the network talking heads were talking about Bill’s speech and didn’t show Kerry. The bit about being for McCain before he was against him (or was it the other way around?) was a painful reminder of what a horrid candidate he was. Maybe that was the purpose: to reassure Democrats that they don’t have someone as bad as Kerry this time.

The only saving grace was that most of the network talking heads were talking about Bill’s speech and didn’t show Kerry. The bit about being for McCain before he was against him (or was it the other way around?) was a painful reminder of what a horrid candidate he was. Maybe that was the purpose: to reassure Democrats that they don’t have someone as bad as Kerry this time.

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John Kerry

John Kerry is whining. He isn’t helping Obama. He just used “swift-boating” as a verb. Now he’s droning on about having been criticized as an anti-war protestor.  They should have kept him as far away from a podium as possible.

John Kerry is whining. He isn’t helping Obama. He just used “swift-boating” as a verb. Now he’s droning on about having been criticized as an anti-war protestor.  They should have kept him as far away from a podium as possible.

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The Best

Bill Clinton gave the strongest, most compelling, and persuasive political speech of this entire season.  He has upstaged Biden, but that doesn’t matter.  This convention, which was floundering an hour ago, is a different .  It was a reminder that oppo research and good stats can do more than be a “gotcha” technique, which is the only way journalists use them.  In Clinton’s words, the accumulating data he compiled was a devastating indictment of the Bush’s eight years, and reminder of what Democratic policies aspire to achieve.  Can the McCain team learn from this and build a similar case against Obama?

Here is a sign that things don’t look promising:  as soon as the speech was over, Sean Hannity of Fox News started whining about why Clinton was not staying for Obama’s Thursday night speech. This is a speech that needs to be refuted, not complained about.

Bill Clinton gave the strongest, most compelling, and persuasive political speech of this entire season.  He has upstaged Biden, but that doesn’t matter.  This convention, which was floundering an hour ago, is a different .  It was a reminder that oppo research and good stats can do more than be a “gotcha” technique, which is the only way journalists use them.  In Clinton’s words, the accumulating data he compiled was a devastating indictment of the Bush’s eight years, and reminder of what Democratic policies aspire to achieve.  Can the McCain team learn from this and build a similar case against Obama?

Here is a sign that things don’t look promising:  as soon as the speech was over, Sean Hannity of Fox News started whining about why Clinton was not staying for Obama’s Thursday night speech. This is a speech that needs to be refuted, not complained about.

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