Commentary Magazine


Time For Obama To Embarrass His Own VP?

The Wall Street Journal’s editors take a well-deserved whack at Joe Biden:

Joe Biden isn’t backing down from his startling claim last week that raising taxes on the rich is the “patriotic” thing to do. On Thursday he upped the ante, thundering that he also has Jesus in his corner. “Catholic social doctrine as I was taught it is, you take care of people who need the help the most,” Mr. Biden preached to a group of union supporters on Thursday.
Heavens! The political left likes to score Republicans for claiming that God is on their side, but here we have Mr. Biden claiming support from both God and Caesar. If Sarah Palin tried this, she’d send the boys at the Daily Kos into cardiac arrest. We won’t get into a theological debate with Mr. Biden, except to say that Biblical tax rates tended to run around 10%, not the 39.6%-plus that Barack Obama’s tax plan calls for.

And for good measure the Journal’s editors remind us: “Mr. Biden and his wife recently released their tax returns, and they reported an average of $380, or 0.2% of their income, in annual charitable contributions over a 10-year period. The national average was about 2% of income.” Ouch.

What to make of all this? Well, for starters, the double standard on invoking religious faith is fairly apparent. I don’t expect Charlie Gibson to peer down at Biden and ask,  “Senator Biden, are you on a mission from God to raise taxes?” The specter of self-righteous intolerance and relgious bigotry is reserved for one side in this race.

But the broader problem remains: has Biden foolishly locked Obama into adhering to his tax hike position in the middle of what Obama himself terms a “recession“? Either Obama will be made to look economically illiterate (if he sticks to the tax hikes) or Biden will have to be exposed as an uninformed blowhard (if Obama dumps the tax hikes for the “rich”). I bet on the latter.