I hope the Democrats will finally stop the therapeutic style, where almost everyone is introduced as a victim of some sort, and only with Herculean labors overcame singular adversity, as if they were all born in log cabins and wood-chopped their way to the Senate (–and riches and their own big houses) .
It was hard to determine to what degree hyper-active Biden was simply enthused, or on the verge of perpetual tears. I was confused about his examples-why bring up timetables when Obama’s plan would have gotten everyone out by March 2008, ensured defeat, and was at odds with most of Biden’s own numerous and constantly changing positions on Iraq?
Why evoke Iran when Biden himself wanted to write it an unsolicited multi-million-dollar good-will check following September 11?
Likewise, why evoke Georgia and talk tough when Obama first embraced moral equivalence in suggesting that both a tiny democracy and a huge autocracy were at equal fault, then called for a U.N. solution (ask Bill Clinton about U.N. efficacy during the Balkans crisis), and then cited the U.S. removal of a genocidal dictator as analogous to Russia’s invasion of an elected democracy?
I think his personal attack on his former friend McCain’s judgment and character was a terrible mistake-it only invites comparison of Biden’s ethical meltdowns with made-up bios, plagiarism, and unethical interrogations of Supreme Court nominees with McCain’s past service; and, more importantly, will take the gloves off in the race, and earn candid like appraisals of Barack Obama and Biden.
A final note: Clinton’s speech was well-delivered, comprehensive, and the best of the convention, but also terribly ironic, and in the end deeply disturbing: When Clinton laughed that critics said he was too young too, and inexperienced in foreign policy, one wished to nod yes, and indeed suggest that might be why his administration was characterized by serial terrorist attacks against American soldiers and diplomats that went unanswered, and, by bin Laden’s own admission, logically led to September 11.
His reference to why he won in 1992 was not due to his convincing liberal agenda as he claimed, but because of Ross Perot, without whom he would have lost. Constantly evoking his tenure is problematic: Do we wish another impeached President with Oval Office dalliances? Pardons of felons and miscreants? Knee-deep on the recent primary campaign trail, mano to mano with reporters in racial charges and counter-charges.
Final irony: Mike Dukakis, who ran the most inept campaign in recent memory, was on, and ad nauseam pontificating how his presidency might have saved us from the Bushes, but in his ensuing pedantic and confused exegesis reminded us 20 years later why he was never elected.
Clinton is not just a partisan, but a former President, and one would expect a modicum of dignitas in the manner that LBJ kept mostly quiet about Nixon, Ford did the same with Carter, and Bush I was hands-off about Clinton. Instead, we get Clinton in full campaign mode, once again trying to refurbish his image at the expense of his predecessor and successor.
Enough already — let history decide.