Supposedly Joe the senator has been making lots of gaffes. Jon Stewart on the Daily show did a bit on the election gaffes and they had Biden's last "gaffe" (as of this writing) which is supposedly this:
"Mark my words," Biden said. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he's going to need help ... to stand with him. Because it's not going to be apparent initially; it's not going to be apparent that we're right."
And yet, in spite of all the gaffes Joe the senator supposedly makes, Obama's poll numbers keep going up and John the candidates keep going down. Maybe Joe the senator is even smarter than he often looks and sounds and his gaffes aren't all that gaffy.
Now what exactly makes that statement a gaffe? Biden isn't wrong for it's quite probable Al Qaida, Iran or North Korea might test the next president to see what kind of response they'd get. If they don't, well, it might be because what Biden said was a self-negating prophesy that warned them that we were expecting it. And why wouldn't they be just as likely to test McCain to gauge his response?
Joe the senator was indeed talking only about Obama and not about both candidates. However, there's no good reason to assume that McCain wouldn't also be tested. The difference is that it's Obama who is most probably going to be elected, not McCain. If Biden made any mistake there it was in singling out Obama as the one to be tested and not including McCain. That was the slip that invited the right-wing pundits, as well as John the candidate and Caribou Barbie, to pounce on Joe's statement to make a claim that Obama wasn't ready to be commander-in-chief.
They even made this ad:
When you're as far behind as McCain is, you've got nothing left but Biden's crumbs and the attempt to make this mole hill into a mountain. Alas, these crumbs might have a bit of rat poison in them.
McCain said we don't want a "president who invites testing" and then went on to claim that he had already been tested because he was on board the USS Enterprise off of Cuba when America came close to nuclear war. Then he said a noun, a verb, and "Joe the plumber." I fail to see how McCain was tested by sitting on an aircraft carrier off of Cuba. The test of being ready to drop bombs when ordered has zero to do with what Al Qaida or Iran might have in mind for a president. And just bringing up images of Kennedy and the cold war also brings up the images young people think about the cold war with, one of the big ones being Kubrick's movie, Dr. Strangelove and then I'm seeing that scene where Slim Pickens, as Major Kong, is riding a nuclear bomb down onto oblivion:
Only in my mind I'm seeing John the candidate waving his cowboy hat, singing "bomb bomb bomb... bomb bomb bomb Iran-hahan..." while riding that bomb down on top of Tehran. John the candidate should be careful of talking about carriers, Kennedy and the cold war when he himself sounds like a character from Dr. Strangelove:
McCain's example of being tested is nothing but meaningless bluster. Is it going to make Iran think twice before threatening us if McCain is president? Is it going to make our enemies too scared to mess with America? "I have been tested, my friends," McCain keeps telling us in stump speeches and interviews. Please, explain exactly how you were tested, John, because if that was it you're failing the intelligence test. You're being tested now by how you run your campaign and you're failing that test badly.
Some right-wing pundits, like Ed Whelan, jumped in with "Re: Biden: Obama's Inexperience Will Prompt International Crisis":
The Biden quote ... is really remarkable.
No, it's not remarkable. It's part of one of the few things right-wing pundits have been saying for awhile that is partly on target: If Obama is elected, “we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
Biden even doubts that Obama will respond to the crisis in a way that inspires confidence. He tells Obama’s supporters that Obama is “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.”
Oh no! It sounds like one of our foes is going to push Obama to the brink of war to see if he backs down! Hey, wait... Bush already went over that brink, in one case with good reason, in another case with bad reasons, so how much worse could anyone do? Our foes these days are pissant little countries compared to the old Soviet empire and they are no match for us. The problem isn't that we're not able to bomb them back to the stone age without taking too bad a hit, the problem is we can't make them feel good about America after we've bombed them back to the stone age.
Does anyone really need any additional reasons not to vote for Obama? (If so, there are lots of them.)
It wasn't reason enough the first time it was brought up, why would it be a reason now? Biden was just repeating a criticism already made by right-wing pundits.
In Ed Morrissey's "Biden: Obama’s inexperience will prompt nations to test us" we have this:
In a stunning statement, Biden acknowledged that Obama’s lack of foreign-policy experience will provoke America’s enemies into creating an international crisis. Biden apparently thinks this is just terrific.
A stunning statement? What is stunning about it? Does he assume that voters should only be lied too and pandered too? He asks:
Isn’t this an argument for electing someone with more experience?
No, it's not. Though it would depend on the experience, of course. The word "experience" is too general. The word "experience" is at best shorthand for "appropriate experience." I have experience with blogging and sitting around watching television. Does that qualify me for anything besides blogging and TV watching? Now, what experience does John the candidate have that would make it easier for him to deal with such a test?
Then there's a pathetic and transparently phony attempt at mind reading:
Biden seems convinced that electing John McCain will make our enemies abroad much less sanguine about provoking us — which is one of the best arguments yet heard for electing McCain.
No, Joe the senator never said anything about John the candidate not being tested if he won. And right now it doesn't look like McCain will win, so it will be Obama and not McCain who is tested.
Even worse, Biden admits that an Obama administration will likely fumble the ball. “It’s not going to be apparent that we’re right.” Really? Why not?
No, that doesn't mean that Biden thinks he'll fumble, it just means Obama and Biden will do something that people will question, like they questioned Kennedy when he told Nikita Khrushchev to take his missiles home "or else" because Kennedy wasn't going to let the Russians set 'em up in Cuba. We went to the brink of war and that scared people.
When Biden says "It’s not going to be apparent that we’re right." It assumes they will be right but that people won't see why until later. Kennedy certainly made mistakes in getting us to the point where he had to do that, but it turned out that he was right to go to the brink at that one point because the Russians did back down.
I’d rather avoid the problem altogether and elect a man who puts enough fear into the minds of our enemies to keep them from testing us at all.
A man who puts fear into our enemies? That's not really a good idea. Fear is what makes our enemies dangerous, it's what makes us dangerous. Saying that electing McCain would avoid the problem because McCain is such a blood-thrirsty hawk that he'll just nuke whoever gets in his way is rather crazy, and that's what scares me more.
It's strange, all these gaffes that Joe the senator is supposedly making only make me respect and admire the man more than I did before. Every time the right-wing pundits call attention to one my first thought is usually "that's it, that's all you've got against this guy?" And then I think of all the gaffes I'd probably be making if I were in his shoes, for example, when I wrote "Our foes these days are pissant little countries compared to the old Soviet empire and they are no match for us. The problem isn't that we're not able to bomb them back to the stone age without taking too bad a hit, the problem is we can't make them feel good about America after we've bombed them back to the stone age" that would have been a potentially career ending gaffe if I were running for high office.
Joe the senator sometimes gets his facts wrong, but he doesn't get important and relevant facts wrong, like when McCain mixed up Sunni and Shiite. I don't think he gets policy too wrong, not like McCain advocating deregulation days before the Wallstreet meltdown and about a month before Greenspan admits that the philosophy behind deregulation is flawed. And political gaffes, that's when you offend some interest group perceived to be important to your success, well nothing Biden has said was as bad as Obama's "they're bitter and clinging to their guns and religion" line.
None of these guys are gaffe free, but Biden's gaffe's have been the mildest of all of them. The worst they do is make him sound too honest for his own good. I like that kind of mental transparency in government.
Well, it seems that my comment: "When you're as far behind as McCain is, you've got nothing left but Biden's crumbs and the attempt to make this mole hill into a mountain. Alas, these crumbs might have a bit of rat poison in them," is looking more and more on target. Watch this:
Then check out how the right-wing blogs are dealing with it. Or, just read Anonymous Liberal's post:
They seem to think Biden somehow embarrassed himself or got rattled during the interview. The fact that they think that is further evidence of the rapidly widening gulf between the reality most of us inhabit and the alternate universe where most right wing bloggers now reside.