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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Mon. 10/20/08 10:12:08 PM
New War Next Year, if Obama Wins
So implies Sen. Doofus from Delaware.
That's what I think, anyway.
Doing his best imitation of some Delphic oracle, Joseph Robinette
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ABC News' Matthew Jaffe Reports: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions.
"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "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."
"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's 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."
Not only will the next administration have to deal with foreign affairs issues, Biden warned, but also with the current economic crisis.
"Gird your loins," Biden told the crowd. "We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than Ė think about it, literally, think about it Ė this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy."
The Delaware lawmaker managed to rake in an estimated $1 million total from his two money hauls at the downtown Sheraton, the same hotel where four years ago Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., clinched the Democratic nomination. Despite warning about the difficulties the next administration will face, Biden said the Democratic ticket is equipped to meet the challenges head on.
"I've forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know, so I'm not being falsely humble with you. I think I can be value added, but this guy has it," the Senate Foreign Relations chairman said of Obama. "This guy has it. But he's gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna 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 gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, 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."
"There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don't know about that decision'," Biden continued. "Because if you think the decision is sound when they're made, which I believe you will when they're made, they're not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they're popular, they're probably not sound."
Biden emphasized that the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border is of particular concern, with Osama bin Laden "alive and well" and Pakistan "bristling with nuclear weapons."
"You literally can see what these kids are up against, our kids in that region," Biden said in recalling when his helicopter was forced down due to a snowstorm there. "The place is crawling with al Qaeda. And it's real."
"We do not have the military capacity, nor have we ever, quite frankly, in the last 20 years, to dictate outcomes," he cautioned. "It's so much more important than that. It's so much more complicated than that. And Barack gets it."
After speaking for just over a quarter of an hour, Biden noticed the media presence in the back of the small ballroom.
"I probably shouldn't have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here," he joked.
"All kidding aside, these guys have left us in a God-awful place," he then said of the Bush regime, promptly wrapping up his remarks. "We have the ability to straighten it out. It's gonna take a little bit of time, so I ask you to stay with us. Stay with us."
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P.S. Apparently, Biden didn't realize media people were present, at first. Assuming that to be the case how much and how often does he talk like that when media people are actually not present?
P.P.S. Bill Kristol has the opposite take (emphasis in original):
.... So Biden expects a test of the kind Kennedy faced after his disastrous meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June, 1961, less than five months into Kennedyís presidency. Bidenís presumably thinking of the Soviet-backed construction of the Berlin Wall a couple of months later. Kennedy did nothing, and was criticized for his weakness back home.
So leaving aside the merits of what Kennedy did or didnít do in 1961 Biden is forecasting that Obama will have what seems to be a weak response to a provocation from, say, Iran or Russia, and heís urging the liberals of Seattle and elsewhere to stand with Obama against the expected domestic criticism.
In other words, Biden is forecasting inaction by Obama in the face of testing by a dictator. I suspect heís right in this forecast. McCain might want to clarify this point. Itís not just that Obamaís own running mate expects an international crisis early in his presidency. Itís not just that Obama has a weak foreign policy record. Itís that Biden himself expects what will appear to be a weak response from Obama to testing by a dictator.
Now Biden presumaby thinks such an apparently weak response would be in our long-term interest. But McCain needs to force that debate: ďSen. Obama, will you in fact do nothing in response to a Putin provocation against Ukraine or a final push by Ahmadinejad toward nuclear weapons? Isnít that what your running mate has forecast? Isnít it awfully dangerous to forecast weakness on the part of an American president?Ē
For my part, I'll ask again: why would Biden warn Seattle leftists about presidential inaction from Obama during "an international crisis, a generated crisis": isn't that what they want and expect?
P.P.P.S. James Taranto tends to agree with me:
.... Today, at least, there is little public appetite for another war, and this is especially true among Obama's supporters. Maybe he is preparing them for the necessity of a military strike against Iran, or some other muscular response to a crisis that would make Obama unpopular among the MoveOnCodePink crowd (and that might not immediately overcome the skepticism of hawkish Republicans about whether Obama is strong enough)....
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