The Emir of Delaware

After a hiatus, Mark Steyn returns.

An excerpt:

…Biden was glib and fluent and in command of the facts – if by “in command of the facts” you mean “talks complete blithering balderdash and hogwash.” He flatly declared that Obama never said he would meet Ahmadinejad without preconditions. But, on Debate Night, the official Obama Web site was still boasting that he would meet Ahmadinejad “without preconditions.” He said America spends more in a month in Iraq than it’s spent in seven years in Afghanistan. Er, America has spent over $700 billion in Afghanistan since 2001. It’s spending about $10 billion a month in Iraq. But no matter. To demonstrate his command of the “facts,” Sen. Biden sportingly offered up his own instant replays:

“My friend John McCain voted 422 times against tax cuts for the middle classes. Let me repeat that so the American people are clear on this. My friend John McCain voted 673 times against tax cuts for the middle classes.”

The problem was that it all sounded drearily senatorial. Mention any global crisis – civil war in Bosnia, genocide in Darfur, Russian aggression in Georgia, the lack of five-star restaurants in Wales – and Biden has been there, usually within the past two weeks, and always at public expense. What the American taxpayer gets for the Emir of Delaware’s frequent-flyer miles is harder to discern. Biden was doing his best to turn in a decent karaoke version of Lloyd Bentsen, but, unfortunately, Palin declined to play Dan Quayle. That left Joe sounding like an ancient pol being generically vice-presidential. Sarah, at her best, sounded like the citizen-politician this country’s founders intended. She hasn’t voted 397 times against this or that in the U.S. Senate, because she’s been running a state, and a town, and a commercial fishing operation. She’s a doer, not a talker, which is why so many of my fellow professional talkers disdain her.

When Regular Joe Six-Pack Bluecollar Biden tried to match her on the Main Street cred, it rang slightly wacky. “Look,” he said, “All you have to do is go down Union Street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie’s Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me, where I spend a lot of time.” Why? Is he moonlighting as a checkout clerk on the evening shift? Or is he stalking that nice lady in Lighting Fixtures? As for Katie’s Restaurant, ah, I’m sure it was grand but apparently it closed in 1990. In the Diner of the Mind, the refills are endless, and Sen. Joe is sitting shootin’ the breeze over a cuppa joe with a couple other regular joes on adjoining stools while Betty-Jo, the sassy waitress who’s tough as nails but with a heart of gold, says Ol’ Joe, the short-order cook who’s doing his Sloppy Joes just the way the senator likes ’em, really appreciates the way that, despite 78 years in Washington, Joe Biden is still just the same regular Joe Six-Pack he was when he and Norman Rockwell first came in for a sarsaparilla all those years ago. But, alas, while he was jetting off for one-to-one talks with the Deputy Tourism Minister of Waziristan, the old neighborhood changed.

In a conventional presidential environment, Bidenesque fake authenticity would be enough. Up against Sarah Palin’s authentic authenticity, I’m not so sure. All I know is that the McCain campaign should have her out on the road and doing every interview she can over this final month. Oh, and send her snowmobiling hubby to Maine, which splits its Electoral College votes. He’ll put their Second Congressional District back in the red camp, and the way things are looking that could be the 270th vote that saves McCain’s bacon.

And a New York Post editorial lists some of Joe’s debate whoppers.

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