Monday, October 20, 2008

"We're Going to Have an International Crisis..."

I'm sure these speeches of politicians are vetted, sound bite test, test grouped, and purposeful, but after reading the substance of Joe Biden's most recent remarks, all I could think of was...WTF??

I'm operating on some basic assumptions here:
1) The game ain't over 'til it's over.
2) The purpose of a campaign speech is to encourage people to vote for you.

Biden said that within six months of an Obama administration there would be a "generated crisis" to "test the mettle" of Obama.

What the heck is a "generated" crisis? This appears to mean either manufactured in some sense, like an October surprise, hinting that political opponents might try to generate a know, some scenario out of Thirteen Days or some such. Either that or he's suggesting that the world community will think America is weak and be more likely to attack or press some political advantage because it believe Obama doesn't have the "mettle" to stand up to the world.

Both sound like something that would be coming out of John McCain's mouth--did Biden read the wrong teleprompter?

More strange still, Biden didn't exactly use this gloomy scenario to say that such a notion would be foolish. Instead he seemed to suggest cynically that Obama's popularity would take a hit in office because the American people wouldn't be able to distinguish between what is right and what is popular:

"I promise you, you all are going to be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls, why is the polling so down, why is this thing so tough?' We're going have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years," said Biden. "I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us."
I like Biden, and it's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I intend to vote for Senator Obama on the first day of early voting in my precinct, but...well, this sure read like a colossal gaffe to me. One it borders on arrogance, assuming the election is already won, after his own running mate cautioned against getty cocky. Two, it bizzarely seems to concede that an international crisis is more likely under an Obama presidency than a McCain one. This plays right into the "too risky" strategy of the Republicans. If I were on the McCain campaign--well, first I would kill myself by drowning in a sea of self-loating, but after that--I would make sure that Biden's clip was in just about every ad I ran between now and the election.

I honestly have no idea what the heck Biden is getting at. I assume that he is trying to lay the groundwork for a public relations war should Senator Obama be elected, but it seems like a strange, strange, strange campaign strategy, telling other people that if your running mate is elected an international crisis will happen within six months.

Said Biden, "I promise you it will occur" and "I promise you, you all are going to be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls, why is the polling so down, why is this thing so tough?"

The timing is atrocious, too, as it takes the news cycle voluntarily away from the Colin Powell endorsement and effectively negates the argument of, "See, even their guy [Republican] thinks he is better for foreign affairs." Now the Republicans can counter with, "See even their guy [VP] thinks an Obama presidency will spur an international crisis."

Expect to hear the latter from now until election day. "Why is this thing so tough"??? Senator McCain couldn't have asked for a better gift.


Doug said...

That is really does sound closer to Republican scare tactics than Obama's message of hope and broad coalition. I can't say Biden has impressed me very much (and I'm certainly critical of his aggressive foreign policy record). But Obama clearly chose him to compliment his traits (of which public speaking is obviously one) unlike McCain's dangerous and reckless choice of Palin just to get elected. I like Biden as a person--his family story is pretty powerful and not mentioned enough as far as I'm concerned, but he's definitely the elder, more conservative, seasoned Washington insider to everything we love about Obama.

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

Oddly there hasn't been much buzz about that quote/speech. I'm surprised, but then again, we haven't heard as much from Biden on the campaign trail, so maybe its not widely covered.

I've read some reports that Obama and Biden are planning to campaign almost exclusively in states carried by Bush in hopes of getting a broad victory and coalition. I hope they know what they are doing, as that strategy, like Biden's comments seems to indicate that they are pretty confident rather than just cautiously optimistic.