Biden’s fantasy world

Yesterday I took a look at “Biden’s boners” in the course of his debate with Sarah Palin this past Thursday. Today a Wall Street Journal editorial reviews Biden’s performance in “Biden’s fantasy world.” The Journal asks: “[W]hat are we to make of Mr. Biden’s fantastic debate voyage last week when he made factual claims that would have got Mrs. Palin mocked from New York to Los Angeles?”

That is indeed a good question, particularly when one pauses to remember that Obama selected Biden as his running mate for his supposed foreign policy expertise. The Journal begins with Biden’s bizarre comments on Lebanon, where Biden asserted “When we kicked — along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, ‘Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know — if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.’ Now what’s happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.” The Journal comments:

The U.S. never kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, and no one else has either. Perhaps Mr. Biden meant to say Syria, except that the U.S. also didn’t do that. The Lebanese ousted Syria’s military in 2005. As for NATO, Messrs. Biden and Obama may have proposed sending alliance troops in, but if they did that was also a fantasy. The U.S. has had all it can handle trying to convince NATO countries to deploy to Afghanistan.

Speaking of which, Mr. Biden also averred that “Our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan.” In trying to correct him, Mrs. Palin mispronounced the general’s name — saying “General McClellan” instead of General David McKiernan. But Mr. Biden’s claim was the bigger error, because General McKiernan said that while “Afghanistan is not Iraq,” he also said a “sustained commitment” to counterinsurgency would be required. That is consistent with Mr. McCain’s point that the “surge principles” of Iraq could work in Afghanistan.

Then there’s the Senator’s astonishing claim that Mr. Obama “did not say he’d sit down with Ahmadinejad” without preconditions. Yet Mr. Biden himself criticized Mr. Obama on this point in 2007 at the National Press Club: “Would I make a blanket commitment to meet unconditionally with the leaders of each of those countries within the first year I was elected President? Absolutely, positively no.”

Or how about his rewriting of Bosnia history to assert that John McCain didn’t support President Clinton in the 1990s. “My recommendations on Bosnia, I admit I was the first one to recommend it. They saved tens of thousands of lives. And initially John McCain opposed it along with a lot of other people. But the end result was it worked.” Mr. Biden’s immodesty aside, Mr. McCain supported Mr. Clinton on Bosnia, as did Bob Dole even as he was running against him for President in 1996 — in contrast to the way Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders have tried to undermine President Bush on Iraq.

The editorial concludes with Biden’s reference to Katie’s Restaurant in Wilmington and a comparison of Biden and Palin’s comments on foreign policy:

Closer to home, the Delaware blarney stone also invited Americans to join him at “Katie’s restaurant” in Wilmington to witness middle-class struggles. Just one problem: Katie’s closed in the 1980s. The mistake is more than a memory lapse because it exposes how phony is Mr. Biden’s attempt to pose for this campaign as Lunchbucket Joe.

We think the word “lie” is overused in politics today, having become a favorite of the blogosphere and at the New York Times. So we won’t say Mr. Biden was deliberately making events up when he made these and other false statements. Perhaps he merely misspoke. In any case, Mrs. Palin may not know as much about the world as Mr. Biden does, but at least most of what she knows is true.

The editorial doesn’t even get to Biden’s portrayal of himself hanging out at Home Depot, where Steve Urquhart sighted him:

I just saw Joe Biden at Home Depot. I’m not sure he’s well. He was ranting that it was the most dangerous Home Depot we’ve had probably in American history, because vices were not where he thought they were and because he’d been forced down in electrical. When the manager asked him what he was talking about, he flashed some crazy, bleached out smile, said he had to kick Hezbollah out of hardware, and invited us all to Katie’s Restaurant without pre-conditions.

What accounts for Biden’s bizarre performance Thursday night? What was he talking about? Will anyone ever ask him?

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