Reader Mail

Biden His Time

Not in Kansas anymore. Recycling RFK. Radical in the Rockies. Reid Collins has character. Plus more.

8.26.08

Send to Kindle

BEAU IDEAL
Re: The Prowler's The Gal That Got Away:

The political hay the Dems expect from Biden's son Beau's deployment to Iraq is totally bogus. He's a judge advocate general in the Delaware National Guard. A lawyer, for heaven's sake! Not some front line soldier.

Pretty risky deployment for Biden's son you say, huh? The only shooting Beau Biden is likely to experience are whiskey shots in the officers mess. Yet, you'll hear moans, groans and sighs from Biden (like why couldn't this son manage a lucrative lobbying and bank deal, like his brother?). Yet sending Beau Biden to Iraq is like sending a Frenchman to fight in an American outfit: more likely to shoot himself than the enemy. Best keep Beau (even his name is French) far from the front lines.

As for Biden as VP pick, this truly is a visionary match: Obama enrobed in his messianic mantra, Biden wearing his crown of hairplugs. Anointed in August...cries of "why have you forsaken me" in November.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn. New Jersey

Two comments:

1. Democrats expect to exploit the upcoming deployment of Biden's son to Iraq? He is a JAG officer, and will be nowhere near being in harm's way. McCain has a son in the Marine Corps in harm's way. I don't think the Democrats would want to go there, but then, I'm not a Democrat...

2. McCain reminds me of an old Al Capp figure in the Lil Abner comic strip of years ago: General Jubilation T. Cornpone, mythical Arkansas Confederate general, known for his uncanny ability to "Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory."

McCain has been lucky beyond all expectations. He doesn't have to run against Hillary. Obama is a deeply flawed, inexperienced candidate, probably the least qualified in at least 50 years. Yet, McCain dabbles in support for issues like global warming, and amnesty for illegals, unnecessarily causing unease among the Republican base. If he selects someone who is pro-choice for veep, he risks even more. For once in his life, he needs to "suck it up," and quit rebelling against common sense and the conservatives. This is his last and best, shot at winning the presidency. Let's hope he can avoid shooting himself in the foot.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

According to What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer, at one point when Biden was considering his political future, he was worried about the press picking into his sister Val's divorce, Jimmy's bankruptcy and brother Frankie's "troubles in California..." Who was brother Frankie? Was he the Biden's Roger Clinton? Apparently Jimmy, who was in bankruptcy, is now James and is solvent.
-- D. Smith

Let's not forget this is the same Joe Biden who plagiarized in law school and then with tears in his eyes promised not to do it again and was spared expulsion -- he lied. Typical Democrat, a man of no imagination or moral integrity and this is the man Barack Obama hailed "as the next President" of the United States. I guess we know who's going to wear the "pants" in that family -- the cheater and not the madrassa dropout.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq

I'm a conservative and unhappy with McCain's presumptive nominee status, but doesn't it make sense that McCain's group would want Giuliani as Keynoter because he dropped out in West Virginia and swung his delegates to McCain? Wasn't this one of the last primaries where Romney still had a chance to best McCain?
-- Lucille McClure
San Jose, California

Unless McCain picks Palin, Fred Thompson, or Romney, I am staying home. Pawlenty: He can't talk, he can't debate. He smiles like a high school team spokesman. He's Minnesota quality, not national. I lived in Minneapolis, loved it, but hell, it ain't New York. And I'm a New Yorker, where there are as many people living in my building as there are in St. Paul. Or so it seems.
-- Wolf T.

NOT MY BOBBY
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Joe, Mo, Bobby, and Me:

Excellent column, Mr. Lord.

It's interesting to discover that you were a Robert Kennedy fan, all those years ago. So was I. In fact, I can truthfully say he was the last Democrat I was prepared to vote for as President, if he had lived to win the nomination. I saw him in those days as a more principled Democrat than all those around him. I was nearly twenty-nine years old when he was shot. His brother was my first and only Democratic vote for president. Shortly thereafter, the Democratic Party left me and most of my kind, as it veered to the left, becoming ever more socialist and in many cases, even communist, in its outlook.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

Jeffrey Lord's interesting and delightful piece on Joe Biden reminds me of the Seinfeld episode in which J. Peterman uses Kramer as his surrogate for his life story. Although, in my opinion, Kramer has a heck of lot more character the Joe.
-- Tom Bullock
West Covina, California

I hadn't heard much of this over the weekend as the veep nomination story rolled...but, ever since those days, when his name came up in conversation, I usually called him Joe "The Plagiarist" Biden. The story made an impression on me, an impression that stayed.

So it's still out there...and, I suppose, we'll be hearing more of it.
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Thank you, Mr. Lord, for sharing with readers your part in calling to our attention the character flaws of Joe Biden. We will be hearing a lot about this being "old news." In 1988 when it was new news, many casting their votes in November 2008 had not been born. So, it all bears repeating.

Joe is a born dissembler. He stretches the truth, embroiders the facts and plagiarizes when he likes the sound of other's words. The truth cannot really be diluted. A half truth is a whole lie.

You were not alone in tipping Dowd. John Sasso, Dukakis's guy was furious that Biden had copped Neil Kinnock's biography word for word -- "Why am I the only Kinnock in a thousand generations...." "Why am I the only Biden in a thousand generations..." He was furious that the press had not picked up on it. (It was ever thus.) Sasso sent Dowd the tape of Biden without the knowledge of straight-arrow Dukakis and ultimately had to resign Dukakis;' campaign over it. Recall... first Dukakis "spanked" him with a two-week leave of absence. And when that wouldn't do, asked for his resignation. Think of it, Sasso has to resign because he called to the nation's attention that Biden was a speech thief.

According to a book published in 1992, What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer (lest I plagiarize -- certainly nothing is original with an old lady sitting in South San Francisco!) Dick Gephardt's campaign tanked because the "dirty trick" blame had shifted to them (before Sasso 'fessed up) because Pat Caddell (Biden's guy) suspected it was Doak and Shrum of Gephardt's bunch that had supplied the tape. Although, why it was considered a dirty trick to tell the truth about a candidate eludes me.

In politics, you gotta know the players and their loyalty to play the game. And as it changes daily, you still can't play it with any certainty. Still, I try.

Joe is a facile liar, just like Bill, just like Hillary. On C-Span he shot off at someone that his IQ was higher than theirs. (Lord save us for the IQ braggarts). At one point he claimed he had three degrees. Why were two not enough? Why was it necessary yesterday to state his wife was gorgeous AND had her doctorate? Some insecurity never goes away.

At Syracuse when a brief was due and he was back-to-the-wall for time, he lifted from Fordham Law Review enough to "cut and paste" and turn in a slipshod brief. For that he was flunked and had to repeat the course. He claims it was laziness, not dishonesty.

When Biden visited Archmere, his old high school, for his son's football game, he sought out the old, retired dean/headmaster(?) to apologize for having claimed he was "the Speaker" at his High School Graduation when in fact, his only part was in introducing participants.... It is truly stunning how lying weasels wish to be well thought of. I have never observed this neediness in ordinary honest folks.

If you need to lie about your high school graduation and how important you were, if you need to cheat in college, if you need to lie about the number of degrees you have, if you need to plagiarize the work of others, when do those kinds of needs stop? What kind of lies lie in store for us?

But, he is Obama's choice. For the next two months we will endure the "Chicklet" teeth framed by the killer grin, contradicted by hard, unsmiling eyes. Anyone who reads it differently has never watched a high stakes poker game.

I laughed today when a clip of Obama was run with him saying he would like to get past the kind of slash and burn campaigning that has characterized other campaigns. I guess the rest of that sentence is, "And so I have selected Joe Biden to do the slash and burn part so I can keep my word."
-- Diane Smith

This needs to be submitted to the editorial desk of the WaPo.

Extraordinary.

Thank you for publishing it.
-- Penny Chick
Lake Elsinore, California

The great irony surrounding the modern Democrat party is that if both JFK and RFK were alive today -- and still espousing the same ideas -- they would be as "popular" as Joe Lieberman is.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

REPUBLICANS NEED CONSERVATIVES
Re: Philip Klein's Democrats Take Denver:

You said, "If the Democrats can't win in this favorable electoral environment, it's hard to see under what circumstances they ever could."

It's not hard to see at all. Consider the Bill Clinton elections. All that's necessary is for the Republicans to nominate candidates who have contempt for conservatives, like GHW Bush ("no new taxes") and Bob Dole (tax collector for the welfare state). And then look at what the Republicans will nominate this time.
-- Michael G. Novak
Ellicott City, Maryland

For all of those Democrats who take issue with Republicans' claims that their leaders tend to make poor decisions because they seem to have no recollections of the examples set by past experiences, and thus fail to recognize that paying attention to the continuum of history is in fact intrinsic to one's ability to intelligently and effectively steward America's future, I wish to highlight the following:

Because he lied about having an affair with a campaign contractor, John Edwards has been barred from speaking at the Democratic National Convention this week; Bill Clinton, however, will address the party during the big event.

Are Democrats attempting to re-write history, or are they just ignoring it?
-- Michael S. Smith II
Charleston, South Carolina

RAGTAG
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Conventional Nostalgia:

If he weren't forced to use the requisite number of words necessary to fill up a column, Robert Stacy McCain could have stopped writing after his first phrase: "The ragtag coalition of semi-pro agitators..."

As Ella Fitzgerald once sang, "nice work if you can get it."
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

READ MORE
Re: Justin's letter (under "Get It?") in Reader Mail's Here's to Youth:

It's painfully obvious that "Justin" doesn't read TAS regularly. Likely, he's the keyboard equivalent of Rush Limbaugh's "seminar callers." And, in all probability, he's a liberal -- since he takes everything literally and is incapable of appreciating (or, apparently, even recognizing) irony, wit, satire, or sarcasm -- even when expertly served up by the redoubtable RET.
-- David Gonzalez
Wheeling, Illinois

DON'T STRIP YOUTH OF CHARACTER
Re: Letters under "Three Longest Years" in Reader Mail's Here's to Youth and Reid Collins' Teacher's Pets:

I wish to defend my man, Reid Collins, against the sharp rebuts by those wimps who maligned him in the letters section on Monday.

Clearly there is an aspect on this issue that old men like Mr. Collins and myself have that our younger whippersnappers are completely ignorant to their embarrassment: Character building.

When I was a young man in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we could buy beer and wine once we were 18. We couldn't buy whiskey because our state representatives couldn't see their way past that one. We had it easy. It was practically given to us on a silver platter. It was so easy we missed out on one of life's significant rites of passage. Oh, sure, we still had to be funnin' with those blue laws that wouldn't let us buy our alcohol on Sundays. But all we had to do then was just buy ahead. Besides, everyone except the geeks knew which houses were "open for business" on Sunday to provide that valuable service. In the town where I went to school, the sheriff was very happy to invite us college boys into his "barn" which serviced as the local tavern while the normal bars were taking the day off. We were spoiled sissies.

But after the wise men in Washington blackmailed that states telling them they couldn't have their highway money unless they raised the drinking age, the whole landscape changed. The generations since had to toughen up and use their wiles and determination to get their hooch. The knowledge that with each brew they become notorious desperados put us old men to shame. Oh, sure, we had that Vietnam thingy; but how could that be a growth experience when most of us didn't know where Vietnam was and couldn't find it on a map?

To this day, when I get in a room with these real grownups who had to fight for their beer, I bury my inadequacy and keep my eyes looking down at the floor.

Please, don't make the mistake our parents made and let your children legally buy their beer and wine at eighteen. You have no idea how much I look upon my younger betters and wish I were like them. It really hurts inside.
-- Mike Dooley

Don't forget the concept of an on-campus rathskeller. "University Presidents are there to raise money... " Connect the dots.
-- Eric Liederbach

INNOCENCE REDEFINED
Re: Charles Campbell's letter (under "Kent Hate") in Reader Mail's Here's to Youth:

As one of the, er, more experienced voters who was at university trying to get educated while a small minority of rat [censored] did everything they could to prevent the same, I would like to take exception to one paragraph of Mr. Campbell's otherwise trenchant letter.

Mr. Campbell states: "But to have United States soldiers fire into a group of unarmed children was an absolute disgrace, a total abuse of government power, and absolutely made those kids martyrs to this wonderful country. To suggest anything else is to make this country less than what it is."

Now, I know that Generation Whine considers that, except for the purpose of obtaining beer and abortions, university students are at the same developmental stage as toddlers (now called pre-schoolers) were back in the 1960s. However, we who were the first generation of our families even to graduate from high school, much less attend university, and who had been working since we were old enough for working papers in order to afford the same, considered ourselves to be adults and most of us were very clear on what we were doing and why we were doing it. To characterize the Kent State mob as a crowd of three-year-olds who were assassinated by the Army is simply specious.

Incidentally, at the age of 5 my oldest boy saw Palestinians hurling rocks at Israeli soldiers, some of them sitting in tanks, and said in a shocked voice, "NEVER throw rocks at people who have guns!"

It's a shame the Kent State mob didn't have parents who gave him the common sense that first grader had, isn't it?
-- Kate Shaw
Toronto, Canada

In yesterday's reader mail there appeared a missive from Mr. Charles Campbell, of Austin, Texas, who took three TAS reader/contributors to task for various offenses, myself among them. In my case, he was distressed by a subordinate clause in a letter I submitted last week, which said the four students killed at Kent State University in 1970 are now held to be, "martyrs to any cause any leftish wingnut deems important."

For reasons not yet apparent, Mr. Campbell read in that clause an intention to slander those same four students. "I hope ... you are not maligning the students themselves," he said. He went on to say that, "to have United States soldiers fire into a group of unarmed children was an absolute disgrace, a total abuse of government power, and absolutely made those kids martyrs to this wonderful country. To suggest anything else is to make this country less than what it is."

Where to begin? Start with the simple fact that I used not one word, in that sentence or any other, to "malign" those four people, and I defy anyone to present evidence that I came anywhere close to doing so. Then move on to the simple fact that no troops fired into a group of children on that day. The mobs were made up of young adults. To name them children is a disservice to them, as well as an effort to change the chemistry involved in the events that lead to the shooting.

One young man, a ROTC cadet by no means given to left-wing conviction or behavior, was at the scene of the shooting as an observer. One young woman was no more than an aspiring school teacher on her way to an afternoon class. The other two kids were there to demonstrate their objection to the incumbent president and to the war he refused to end in a timely manner. None of them deserved to die at that time, in that place or in that manner.

But die they did, and the memorial service convened on the Kent State campus every May is usually loaded with crackpots and halfwits that use their deaths as an endorsement of whatever bag of horse feathers they happen to be flogging. Shrill women and their endless demands, diversity nerds, people who conduct seminars in urban guerilla warfare, persons seeking aid and comfort for whatever convicted murderer is popular this year, you name it and some unsavory character will claim those four dead died to make the world safe for it. I've been there, more than once, and that's how it was.

What I find most amusing, and most discouraging, about Mr. Campbell's remarks is the way he so easily dismisses anyone who doesn't agree with his awkward, overstated rhetoric. That's the way it is, he said, and "[t]o suggest anything else is to make this country less than what it is." How, exactly, disagreement with Mr. Campbell makes this country "less than it is," or how, exactly, one makes any country "less than it is," is a matter I leave to those who came of age after all Freshman English became remedial Freshman English.

The mainspring of my letter dealt with an Ohio Guardsman who was snubbed when his duty was done, in 1920. I described the Kent State event to draw a parallel example of other Ohio Guardsman who were left out of the swim of things; it happened when the academics and other pests who expected the world to be impressed with the way they were reconciling with one other, made no attempt to understand or reconcile with the kids who spent that awful May day in uniform. That suggests their reconciliation feast was no more than the usual perfumed histrionics, lined out in general-purpose left wing rant.

There is some reason to believe that, among various college officials and senior Guard officers, there was an inclination to raise the response to civil disorder to something appropriate for a totalitarian army of occupation. But among those who were marching in rank and file there were kids â€"and many were no older than the students they faced- who were simply doing what they had to do. They deserve a lifetime of vilification far less than the vandals who set about creation of a four day sequence of disruptive and violent behavior, which culminated with the shooting and death. It was a tragedy of historic proportion, but I doubt it was a "disgrace." And if it was, there is disgrace enough to tar both sides.

Mr. Campbell presents himself as a 28 year old youngster who is not a slave of fashionable political conviction; but he readily deploys some of the rhetoric that serves that conviction. I say to him: loosen your shoes, sir; breathe into a paper bag; lie quiet and contemplate the enormity of all you do not know.
-- Edmund Dantes

LITERACY TEST
Re: Edmund Dantes's letter (under "Hair Splits") in Reader Mail's Here's to Youth:

Dear Mr. Dantes, I just wanted to let you know I re-read your letter and found your phrase "the 69th in its final form" is nowhere to be found in the story of the reunion. It was therefore, because of a lack of an included timeframe, not a case of my "splitting hairs," it was only a case of my "getting it right." The 69th was not yet a part of the 42nd.

It is my hope that is literate enough for you.
-- Michael Skaggs
Murray, Kentucky

LAUGH TEST
Re: Justin's letter (under "Get It?") in Reader Mail's Here's to Youth:

Sigh. As if we need further proof that certain people have absolutely no sense of humor (or the absurd)...
-- Lee Hoffman
Honolulu, Hawaii

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article