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What Does Biden Have to Do to Get Noticed?

No matter what nonsense Joe Biden talks — from our “driving Hezbollah our of Lebanon” to falsely claiming that a drunk driver killed his wife to taking America’s pulse at a restaurant that’s been closed since the Reagan administration — his buffoonery is invisible to the media. Kirsten Powers, revisiting Biden’s Bungles, notes that even after his oddball remark that an Obama presidency would spark an international crisis, the media more or less ignored him, with a few exceptions:

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” co-host Mika Brzezinski flipped incredulously through the papers, expressing shock at the lack of coverage of Biden’s remarks. Guest Dan Rather admitted that if Palin had said it, the media would be going nuts.

So what gives?

The stock answer is: “It’s just Biden being Biden.” We all know how smart he is about foreign policy, so it’s not the same as when Sarah Palin says something that seems off.

Yet, when Biden asserted incorrectly in the vice-presidential debate that the United States “drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon,” nobody in the US media shrieked. (It was, however, covered with derision in the Middle East.) Or when he confused his history by claiming FDR calmed the nation during the Depression by going on TV, the press didn’t take it as evidence that he’s clueless.

Andy McCarthy is wise to note that Biden’s much-admired foreign-policy experience consists largely of getting it wrong on every foreign-policy issue with which he’s been intimately involved. It’s the wrong kind of experience. When McCain was pressing for the surge, Wrongway Biden was dreaming of dividing Iraq into three new imaginary countries:

These developments underscore the folly of Biden’s ballyhooed 2006 proposal for a soft partition of Iraq into a loose federation of three ethno-sectarian enclaves. Now rendered irrelevant by events, the gambit — premised on an ill-conceived understanding of Iraq’s demographics and a disregard for its constitution — promised a chaotic descent into civil war, massive population displacements, and the possibility of luring Turkey and Saudi Arabia into a conflict that already includes Iran and Syria. Biden’s plan did succeed, however, in uniting Iraqis: Revulsion for the proposal cut across the ethno-sectarian divide.

Governor Palin does not have much in the way of foreign-policy experience, to be sure. The alternative is a loose cannon who has blown practically every foreign-policy call he’s been asked to make. But that story is not going to be in your local daily, which will instead publish more carefully selected photos of Governor Palin’s shoes.

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