23 August, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I've just spent two hours looking for political news that isn't Biden. Not much joy, I'm afraid. I did just have the rather amusing experience of breaking the news to my Obamaniac roommate and her boyfriend - apparently, their texts didn't get to them. For once, I am vindicated! Being a stay-at-home, intertoobz-addicted, email-reliant, cell phone-spurning Luddite has served me well today.

The more I read, the more Biden seems like a solid choice. Here is a man who, in all his years of politics, seems to have suffered one major controversy: he lifted bits of a speech from another bloke. You'll hear a lot of talk of plagarism. Like all Republicon talking points, this one's full of smoke and sizzle, but they rather forget to include the steak:
But those articles did not note that while Biden did not attribute portions of a Kinnock speech he paraphrased during an August 23, 1987, Democratic presidential primary debate, and during an August 26, 1987, interview for the National Education Association, Biden reportedly had credited Kinnock. According to a September 13, 1987, Washington Post article, "Biden and reporters covering his campaign said that in speeches before and after that debate the senator has given Kinnock credit for the same passionate rhetoric, which he has used repeatedly in recent weeks." Specifically, the Post reported that "John Quinlan, a reporter for the Sioux City Journal, said his notes showed Biden said he was quoting Kinnock when he used the same passage in a speech Aug. 14. Stories in The [New York] Times, The Boston Globe and other newspapers also said Biden had used the rhetoric and credited Kinnock for it."
Plagarism, as far as I remember (and keep in mind the issue occupies a fair amount of my attention, me being a writer and all), is defined as filching someone's words and using them without proper citation, passing them off as your own. When you don't pass them off as your own and you do credit the source, it's not fucking plagarism. End of controversy.

And to those who might moan that he forgot to credit his source every damned time, fuck you. If you've credited the same fucking words five thousand fucking times, it's easy to assume the people listening to you are adults who can figure it out. It's too bad that assumption is the wrong one when it comes to our nation's media.

Biden's certainly not going to slack on the counter-attack. A Kos diarist has a string of video clips highlighting some of his greatest moments. And he's already gone straight for the jugular as Obama's running mate:
In a speech accepting his role as Barack Obama’s running mate this afternoon in Springfield, IL, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) argued the American Dream has slipped away under eight years of Bush administration policies. He added that while Americans sit at their kitchen tables worrying about bills, McCain has to “figure out which of the 7 kitchen tables to sit at...”
Very ouch. And then, the KO:

Biden also referenced this quote from McCain in 2005: “On the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.” “You can’t change America when you supported Bush’s policies 95 percent of the time,” Biden said.

Mmmm, spicy.

Biden's not just an attack dog, though. He's what the Republicons aren't: a genuine family man:

...Obama told a story about Biden's background that a lot of people may not have known.

"[Biden] he picked himself up, worked harder than the other guy, and got elected to the Senate -- a young man with a family and a seemingly limitless future.

"Then tragedy struck. Joe's wife Neilia and their little girl Naomi were killed in a car accident, and their two boys were badly hurt. When Joe was sworn in as a Senator, there was no ceremony in the Capitol -- instead, he was standing by his sons in the hospital room where they were recovering. He was 30 years old.

"Tragedy tests us -- it tests our fortitude and it tests our faith. Here's how Joe Biden responded. He never moved to Washington. Instead, night after night, week after week, year after year, he returned home to Wilmington on a lonely Amtrak train when his Senate business was done. He raised his boys -- first as a single dad, then alongside his wonderful wife Jill, who works as a teacher. He had a beautiful daughter. Now his children are grown and Joe is blessed with five grandchildren. He instilled in them such a sense of public service that his son, Beau, who is now Delaware's Attorney General, is getting ready to deploy to Iraq. And he still takes that train back to Wilmington every night.

This is the man the McLame camp is attempting to call Paris Hilton. Good fucking luck with that.

But campaigns are one thing. What will he bring to the table as a Vice President? Plenty (h/t Obsidian Wings):

"But what has impressed me most, for years, is his staff. He knows how to pick ‘em, and that’s no small thing. Brilliant people come and go in DC, but rarely do they also have the ability to pick quality staff the way Biden does. His folks always are among the brightest from a policy standpoint, but also possess a sophisticated political acumen. It’s a rare but valuable combination....


As a result of having a staff that is so good, Biden is almost never behind the curve of policy developments. He’s proactive, not reactive.That’s a huge strategic advantage, and as a result, becoming a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a badge of validation among foreign policy folks. Further than that, you’ll hear from many foreign policy experts how closely they work with Biden. They’re not making it up. Biden counts on a broad range of people to get the job done right. Many, many people feel they have influence on his approach and as a result when the final product is announced, they feel invested, but the view is all Biden, and usually better. Biden collects the best. Simple as that.

This translates in a big way to an executive branch position. If Obama-Biden is the winning ticket, lots of people will be brought in to reverse the reckless policies of the past 7 years and put America on the right track. With such a small window of time and so much to do, picking the right people is critical. Biden recognizes talent, and has learned how to pick people with sound policy judgment but who can also navigate the interagency, and the multiple political roadblocks thrown in the path of even the purest of intentions. This could be his greatest contribution to an Obama administration.

Sounds like exactly what this country needs, doesn't it? So yes. I'm not ecstatic, but I'm very pleased indeed.

Now, moving away from all things Biden, let's have a look at some of the delicious political fuckery buried beneath all the excitement.

Yglesias informs us that the timeline for withdrawl for Iraq isn't a result of the success of the surge. We could have gotten the fuck out of Dodge over a year ago, with the same saving of face and a hell of a lot less casualties:

When you look at the information coming out about the new Iraq SOFA and its timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, it’s worth putting it in the context of this pre-war argument between Bush and Nouri al-Maliki. Here’s a January 2007 account:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had a surprise for President Bush when they sat down with their aides in the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman, Jordan. Firing up a PowerPoint presentation, Maliki and his national security adviser proposed that U.S. troops withdraw to the outskirts of Baghdad and let Iraqis take over security in the strife-torn capital. Maliki said he did not want any more U.S. troops at all, just more authority.


Details, of course, differ and there were some problems with Maliki’s proposal from the point of view of operational specifics. But basically back in November 2006, Iraqi political leaders and progressives in the United States alike wanted to see some kind of phased redeployment of American troops out of Iraqi cities and then out of Iraq. Bush, instead, opted for the “surge” strategy and now eighteen months later we’re . . . doing roughly what Maliki wants which is roughly what he wanted 18 months ago which is roughly what progressives have been saying we should do for a log [sic] time.
Translation: we were right all along. Again. The only reason we stayed in Iraq, the only reason for the surge and "stay the course" and all of that destructive bullshit was so that Monkey Boy George could play megawarrior just a little while longer.

That would've been fine if those hadn't been living, breathing soldiers he's been playing Army with.

What else can you expect, though, from a bunch of mouth-breathing losers who for some incredibly fucked-up reason believe Iraq invited us to invade?

On Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes tonight, conservative pundit Dick Morris tried to attack Barack Obama for being inexperienced on foreign policy, but in doing so, only managed to demonstrate his own idiocy. Morris argued that Joseph Biden would be a good vice presidential selection for Obama because Obama “does not know anything” about foreign policy.

To back up this claim, Morris asserted that Obama made a major mistake this week when he referenced the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq in the context of discussing Russia’s incursion into Georgia. Obama said, “We’ve got to send a clear message to Russia and unify our allies. They can’t charge into other countries. Of course it helps if we are leading by example on that point.” Asked by Alan Colmes what is wrong with Obama’s statement, Morris explained:

Where he’s wrong is that we went into Iraq at the invitation of the government, not as an invasion.

Well, Dick, I'd like to see that invitation. Was it a cheap, mass-produced Hallmark version, or did Saddam dip it in gold leaf for us? Did we RSVP or did just show up unannounced?

Someone here doesn't know jack fucking shit about foreign policy. I'll give you a hint: Obama's not the nimrod...

And, finally, it's a day ending in Y, so it's time for news of Yet More Unbelievable Corruption as the Republicons politicize absolutely everything they can lay their hands upon. This time, it's the Mississippi Supreme Court, where conservative judges want a left-leaning judge to just shut the fuck up:

A jaw dropping report out today in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal:

Something unusual happened Thursday at the Mississippi Supreme Court.

It may be the first time a majority of the justices voted to prohibit a colleague from publishing a dissent in a case.

In other words, Presiding Justice Oliver Diaz of Ocean Springs disagreed with a court decision and wanted to write about it. His fellow judges said, no, he couldn’t and they apparently stopped the court clerk from filing Diaz’s statement into the record.

Diaz's document also wasn’t made available to the public, as every other order and dissent are.

"My job as a Supreme Court justice is to write opinions and dissents, when necessary," Diaz said later Thursday. "I was prevented from doing so by a majority of the court."
Banning a justice from publishing his dissent is highly unusual, said a former state judge, who asked not to be identified.

Diaz speculates it "may be unprecedented in the history of American jurisprudence."

They've taken silencing dissent to a whole new level. No justice that I have ever heard of has ever been told he can't publish a dissent. No matter how much the majority disagrees with him or her, it's always been an important part of our legal process. The fact that they're willing to shut down even that tells me what kind of dictatorship we'd end up with if these fucking crooks stayed in power.

It's time to clean house. Somebody buy Biden a broom...

1 comment:

Efrique said...

As a result of having a staff that is so good, Biden is almost never behind the curve of policy developments. [...] Biden counts on a broad range of people to get the job done right.

Listening to expert opinions in order to formulate good policy? What an elitist bastard!

Banning a justice from publishing his dissent is highly unusual, said a former state judge, who asked not to be identified. Diaz speculates it "may be unprecedented in the history of American jurisprudence."

Even in this day of constant insult to the principles of free speech and, well the enlightenment in general, I've never heard of such a thing. No dissent allowed even among judges?

Next on 60 minutes: "Land of the free" -- a breach of advertising guidelines?