Why has Biden taken a day off the trail?
posted at 8:55 am on October 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
According to campaign sources, Joe Biden has no events planned for today — despite the election being only two weeks away. What happened? Could Team Obama have pulled Slow Joe off the trail after telling people that Barack Obama’s election would provoke our enemies into a confrontation with us, and maybe more than one?
Bill Kristol interprets Biden’s comments not as perceived weakness, but as Biden predicting a weak response to any provocation:
Biden expects a test of the kind Kennedy faced after his disastrous meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June, 1961, less than five months into Kennedy’s presidency. Biden’s presumably thinking of the Soviet-backed construction of the Berlin Wall a couple of months later. Kennedy did nothing, and was criticized for his weakness back home.
So–leaving aside the merits of what Kennedy did or didn’t do in 1961–Biden is forecasting that Obama will have what seems to be a weak response to a provocation from, say, Iran or Russia, and he’s urging the liberals of Seattle and elsewhere to stand with Obama against the expected domestic criticism.
In other words, Biden is forecasting inaction by Obama in the face of testing by a dictator. I suspect he’s right in this forecast. McCain might want to clarify this point. It’s not just that Obama’s own running mate expects an international crisis early in his presidency. It’s not just that Obama has a weak foreign policy record. It’s that Biden himself expects what will appear to be a weak response from Obama to testing by a dictator.
I’m not sure why this will surprise anyone. I’ve said for months that Obama would serve the second term of the Jimmy Carter administration on both economics and foreign policy. Carter’s inaction on Afghanistan and Iran certainly worked out well for us, didn’t it? Both gave rise to Islamic fundamentalism, and eventually forced us to go to war to fight it at great cost and difficulty.
We could have snuffed out the Iranian mullahcracy in its infancy after the sacking of our embassy, an explicit act of war which Carter left unanswered. That would qualify as a test of a President viewed as weak, and who confirmed it in the face of a provocation that consisted of an open act of war. Had we acted, the Soviets would probably not have risked the invasion of Afghanistan, which would have ironically saved them a lot of money and heartache but would also have avoided the creation of al-Qaeda.
Team Obama need not worry about Biden’s gaffes. The media has all but buried the relevant portions of Biden’s offering. Consider this report from MS-NBC’s Andrea Mitchell yesterday, from John Ziegler:
ANDREA MITCHELL: …Sunday McCain’s long-time friend Colin Powell endorsed Obama and criticized the choice of Sarah Palin.
COLIN POWELL, ON MEET THE PRESS: I don’t believe she’s ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President.MITCHELL: Powell could boost Obama’s foreign policy credentials. But today the McCain camp seized on something Joe Biden said, that Oama would be tested in his first months in office.
AUDIO OF JOE BIDEN: They’re going to want to test him, just like they did young John Kennedy. They’re going to want to test him. And they’re going to find out this guy’s got steel in his spine.
JOHN McCAIN: We don’t want a President who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis.
MITCHELL: Meanwhile, McCain’s running mate, fighting the image war, confronted her double on Saturday Night Live…
That leaves out quite a bit from the clip:
It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking…. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy….
I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate… And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.
In fact, the media used a portion of a different speech rather than repeat the actual Biden gaffe. So, perhaps, Team O can remove the gag from Biden and allow him back out onto the campaign trail. With the help of the Tanning Bed Media, Team O has nothing to fear from its running mate.