Folks, I am not deeply invested in the proposition that Biden is a smart guy. But I do think he is, particularly given the pool of people — Senators — we have to compare him too. Professor Bainbridge agrees with Kathryn (and a passel of emailers) that Biden’s so dumb he’d try to drown a fish.
I think there are two points to be made. One, some readers object whenever I call any liberal smart, as if it is axiomatic that if you hold liberal views you cannot be intelligent. I think this is patent nonsense. History is full of brilliant people who were, simply, wrong.
And there’s the case for Biden himself. He says interesting things, from time to time. I think he makes a fair point here and there. He was correct, for example, that Congress needed to have a real deabte over the war. I think he has some obvious verbal intelligence. But, again, what’s fascinating — and what might be distracting some folks from seeing his underlying-yet-occassional smarts — is that he lets his ego and vanity get in the way. The man loves his voice so much, you’d expect him to be following it around in a grey Buick, in defiance of restraining order, as it walks home from school. He seems to think his teeth are some kind of hypnotic punctuation marks which can momentarily disorient the listener and absolve him from any of Western civilization’s usual imperatives to stop talking. Listening to him speechify is like playing an intellectual game of whack-a-mole where every now and then the fuzzy head of a good point pops up from the tundra but before you can pin it down, he starts talking about how he went to the store and saw a squirrel on the way and it was brown which brings to mind Brown V. Board of Ed which most people don’t understand because [TEETH FLASH] he taught Brown in his law school course and [TEETH FLASH] Mr. Chairman I’m going to get right to it and besides these aren’t the droids you’re looking for….