This piece from the NY Sun details Joe Biden’s latest gaffe, which is more than a gaffe really. It is further evidence of poor temperament, something that no amount of study can solve. Putting aside the merits of his dispute with AIPAC, the tone and the fact that he is in a public spat with a key representative group from a key constituency says something about his fitness for high office. His mouth and penchant for verbosity are only part of the Biden problem. He is incapable of behaving with restraint, modesty and discretion — the very qualities you expect in a leader in high office.
Coincidentally, the Washington Post reports that Sarah Palin had an entirely polite and well-received meeting with AIPAC. Granted they likely didn’t discuss details of current negotiations but she did manage to leave a nice impression. She knows enough not to pick a public fight with a respected organization.
Josh Block, AIPAC spokesman, had this to say in answer to my inquiry about the Palin meeting: “We had a good productive discussion on the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and we were pleased that Gov. Palin expressed her deep, personal commitment to the safety and well-being of Israel. She also expressed her support for the special friendship between the two democracies and said she would work to strengthen the ties between the United States and Israel.” After the Biden flap, AIPAC and Biden also rushed to mend fences, with Biden putting out a written statement praising AIPAC and Block telling me: “Joe Biden is a strong supporter of the US-Israel relationship. He’s been a staunch supporter of US aid to Israel, a leader in the fight against Palestinian terrorism, and is a vocal advocate of the special relationship between the two democracies. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the senate or in the White House.”
But the Biden incident and the need for damage control by Biden (or the Obama team) should be a warning. It gets to the nub of the experience issue. Part of experience is the ability to turn to the public and present evidence that you can successfully operate in delicate situations. Does Biden have such a record? Or does he have an unblemished record of bluster, obnoxious behavior (forget his exchange with Prime Minister Begin–consider his conduct in the Judge Bork hearings) and verbal insults? Is this really the man who should be a heart beat away from the Presidency?
And come to think of it, was all of this discovered in the vetting process? Perhaps he was a last minute substitution when Governor Tim Kaine’s selection became untenable in light of the Russian invasion of Georgia. This we won’t know because the MSM is uninterested and unconcerned.
So when the MSM is done embarassing themselves about the ludicrous treatment of Palin and wants to assure the voters they are “just doing their job” maybe they should turn to the gaffe machine, a contretemps waiting to happen, on the other ticket.