Everyone was buzzing last week about Joe Biden’s confrontation with a voter in Iowa who had the temerity to ask about son Hunter’s extremely lucrative job on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma—a job Hunter Biden received one month after his father was named the Obama administration’s “point person” on Ukraine.
Biden, obviously, did not take well to the suggestion he had enabled corruption by his son. As a general rule, I’d like to see more bare-knuckles between politicians and voters in campaign settings, but the real revelation here is that Joe Biden is totally, utterly unprepared to answer obvious difficult questions he’s going to have to answer in a presidential campaign.
Biden’s latest excuse is blaming his aides for not warning him that his son’s Burisma job was a problem, even though at least one aide says he raised the issue with him directly. Plus, calling an ordinary voter a “damn liar” and other ad hominem insults for raising the very real issue of his son’s corruption is… something.
Yet much of the political Twitterati responded with praise because Biden was “feisty.” In fact, here’s how CNN National Political Reporter Maeve Reston covered the exchange:
In a human moment defending his son, Biden showed the authenticity, emotion and readiness for a fight that appeals to so many Democrats as they look for someone who can take on Trump … Thursday afternoon’s exchange could benefit Biden at a time when Democrats say toughness is one of their most coveted assets in their battle against Trump …. It could help Biden allay the doubts of Democratic voters who have continually complained in interviews that the former vice president is too soft-spoken … Though most political consultants would counsel their candidates not to personally attack voters as Biden did Thursday, he at least looked like he wouldn’t shy away from the fight.
That seems to be a charitable take on what happened, to put it mildly. On Friday, the day after the confrontation, even the 77 year-old Biden said he shouldn’t have challenged the out-of-shape voter to a push-up contest. Online, people were having a field day about one part of the heated conversation where the former vice-president appears to call the man “fat.”
Tellingly, one of Biden’s more brazen insults produced almost no reaction: Biden said, “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect,” and challenged the voter to an IQ test.
Perhaps this wouldn’t have largely have escaped notice if Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Mayor Pete Buttigieg decided to employ a similar insult. She’s a Harvard prof and he’s a Rhodes scholar, so maybe people would consider it unforgivably patronizing if they lorded their credentials over a normal voter.
But I think it’s fair to say Biden’s intellectual reputation is such that most people would think publicly offering to take an IQ test would be inadvisable. Yet he seems to skate whenever he says outrageous things that question his competence, such as when he plays into racial stereotypes or encourages people to brandish shotguns. It gets laughed off as Uncle Joe’s monkeyshines or whatever.
Biden obviously has exceptional retail political skills, and it’s true that not everyone who is bright and capable comes off in a wonky fashion that everybody recognizes as smart. But setting aside his talent for campaigning, Biden’s entire career as a politician is marked by a series of ethical lapses and terrible judgments.
Years ago, I did a survey of his political career and the results were underwhelming. Biden supported for the SALT II treaty, which in retrospect looks like a misplaced sop to the Soviets. Thanks to his egregious and unfair grandstanding on the judiciary committee in the 1980s, it’s arguable that no single figure did as much to turn the Supreme Court nominations process into the goat rodeo it is today, and he unintentionally galvanized support to turn the conservative legal movement into the formidable force it is today.
In his six-terms in the Senate, Biden drafted and passed one bill, the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which is now singled out by criminal justice reform activists as the poster child for what not to do legislatively. (Another major part of Biden’s law, the Violence Against Women Act, was partially struck down by SCOTUS.)
While Biden was vice president, one of his aides wrote a scathing memoir for the administration’s failures hold Wall Street accountable after 2008, called The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins. It directly fingers Biden as part of the problem.
Then there was the time Biden publicly bet his vice presidency on negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement for U.S. troops to remain in Iraq. Suffice to say, Biden failed to do this, and most people agree this failure immediately paved the way for the Islamic State’s rise to power in the Middle East, where at one point the barbarous death cult controlled a de facto nation the size of Joe’s native state of Pennsylvania.
Yet in 2012 The Atlantic actually ran the article “Joe Biden: The Most Influential Vice President in History?” that specifically singled out Biden for his dominant role in the Obama administration’s role in reining in Wall Street and crafting foreign policy.
On the flip side, what are his actual accomplishments? Try and name them. Here’s CNN’s attempt to do a timeline of key events in his life, for what it’s worth. He was in the Senate and White House for 44 years straight. (Note that we haven’t discussed his repeated and inexcusable plagiarism in law school, as well as during his first presidential campaign.)
What It Means to be ‘Smart’
That brings us back to the IQ test. At what point would you say Biden’s actual discernment, the kind of thing you would attribute to intelligence, is bad? Again, none of this is to say Biden is necessarily dumb. As Biden is fond of reminding people, he went to law school on an academic scholarship, and plenty of demonstrably smart people, especially those inhabiting D.C., can be and are often very wrong about political judgments.
But we should also ask ourselves what it means to be “smart” in a political context. A couple of months ago, I was at a party where Pascal Emmanuel Gobry started discoursing, as French intellectuals are wont to do, about how D.C. was essentially held hostage by a cartel of 140 IQs who run This Town.
In the first place, the guy had his facts a little askew. While it is true that Biden extorted Ukraine to enable his son to keep his job with Burisma (and probably benefit himself), he didn’t GET the job for Hunter… well, not directly, but had Hunter not been the son of the Vice President of the United States, he wouldn’t have been a Burisma employee.
But, the guy is a Warren supporter, so his ignorance is understandable.
But, like most liberals, Biden doesn’t have to worry about media backlash for anything he ever does. Thus, his boorish behavior, stupidity and, basically, his very existence as the front runner.
Remember when Kavanaugh had a “human moment” of outrage about being lied about? He was deemed lacking “temperament” to fulfill his obligations.
What this Warren supporting writer doesn’t understand is that Biden is being propped up by skewed polling, cropping photos of “supporters,” an adoring and enabling media so the Dems have a talking point: that Trump went after BIDEN when he asked “do us a favor” of the Ukrainians.
President Trump, even as CANDIDATE Trump always filled every arena and stadium to beyond capacity.
Trump at Hershey, Penn.
Biden has a hard time filling a schoolroom where the PTA meeting takes place!
He’s not a real viable candidate.
Biden No Malarkey Tour.
Neither is Warren who can’t even fill a bowling alley!?ve=1&tl=1
Biden poll-believers are like Czarina Katherine the “Great” being lied to by Potemkin when he created village after village filled with adoring, cheering supporters by racing the same group of actors from one place on the Volga River after another as the Czarina floated downriver.
“While it is true that Biden extorted Ukraine to enable his son to keep his job with Burisma …”
This is a lie – and you know it is.
What is the deal with you? Why did you make this up and present it here as fact?
And no, there’s no need to present a dozen links to The Gateway Pundit that have nothing to do with this nonsense.
Why did you make that up? What is your problem?
Well, no it isn’t. It is a fact. THE fact, because understanding that fact makes impeachment the farce that it is.
Biden BRAGGED about it, on video. Ukrainians have confirmed it.
What’s up with YOU? Why do you deny the facts or anyone providing you the facts?
Hiring Hunter was an attempt by Burisma to shield them from investigation… I guess it worked
Obama administration was warned about Hunter’s conflict of interest, but they blew it off… then Biden told Ukraine to kill the investigation of Burisma
Onyshchenko states Burisma made off-the-books payments to the Biden’s and the FBI knew about it
Ukraine prosecutor told to back off Bursima investigation because of Biden’s threats
Make yourself smarter.
@Linda Baum: invidio.us/watch?v=a0RfIAFCXgU
we really dont care if you believe it or not.
Paste that into your address window
Biden just like with just about all liberal democrats has his loyal lap dog media to cover up for him
While a Burisma officer, Hunter Biden was throwing large tips at strippers and lap dancers, even impregnating one of them!
Also while on the Burisma payroll, Hunter Biden rented a car in CA and drove off the road OVER the center divider! When the rental company took possession of his car at the scene they found his Drivers License, his CRACK PIPE, some white powder, and a badge from the Secret Service!
Again, while being paid by Burisma, Hunter Biden hung out at a homeless encampment in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. He was constantly buying CRACK cocaine from the dealer in one of the tents there.
By the time the mother of his bastard child proved he was the father, Hunter Biden was making the claim he was penniless.
He was no longer in Burism’s employ.
@Linda Baum: @Deplorable Me:
Respectfully to Linda, these “debates” are what the Left has engendered with their rampant relativism. Everything is open to interpretation, and you have a huge network of media and entertainment “interpreters” to tell you what the think.
The divide between what the right and left earnestly believe about Biden and Trump is staggering.