MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The nation continues to pay the price for not listening to Joe Biden.
Just ask Joe Biden.
"On September the 10th, the day before the attack on the World Trade towers, I gave a speech at the National Press Club," Biden told the two hundred high school and college students gathered at College Convention '08, striking his best Nostradamus pose, head tilted slightly forward, focusing an intense seconds-long stare on any student who happened to make eye contact.
"In that speech I predicted there would be a massive attack on the United States of America from terrorists and it would come in the belly of a plane."
The Fifth Nag of the Apocalypse foresaw tragedy, but no one heeded his call. And so they suffered.
There is hardly a domestic or international problem Biden wouldn't have already solved, were it not for the intransigence of...well, basically everyone save Joe Biden. "The first global warming bill produced in the history of the United States of America was the Biden bill 22 years ago," the six-term senator angrily snarled, fairly shouting the addendum, "Twenty-two years ago!"
What, again, was the shorthand for the first-ever debt forgiveness bill, which if properly implemented would have put global poverty and environmental degradation on the path to extinction? Oh, yes, it was the...Biden bill. And lest we forget: "The first public financing bill ever produced in the United States Congress was a bill introduced by Joe Biden," Joe Biden boasted.
And if only his Congressional colleagues, the current president and the rest of the United States governmental apparatus would hand over the reins, the man who rivals Steve Forbes and Bob Dole in third-person self-references, could withdraw all troops from Iraq within one year "leaving no chaos behind."
"I'm the only person...if my daughter were here, she'd say, 'Dad, don't say that,' because it sounds so self-serving," Biden said, pausing as if to earnestly weigh this imagined advice from his daughter. "But I'm the only person who has put forward a plan that will end the war."
Sorry, honey, Papa's got to share his visionary transcendence with The People. And if by now we hadn't figured out what a Man of Great Consequence Joe Biden was, the longtime Delaware Senator dropped -- along with all pretense of subtly -- a name.
"The reason I'm late, and I apologize, is when I got off the plane, as I'm waiting for my bag in your relatively small airport, my cell phone rang," Biden explained, apropos of nothing, really. "The Prime Minister of Israel is calling. Calling me because he wants to discuss with me and get my opinion on what happened at Annapolis."
HAVING ESTABLISHED HIMSELF in his own eyes at least, Biden set out to unmask the false prophets in our midst.
"I've been a friend of Hillary Clinton for nineteen, twenty years," he intoned with a strange mixture of sarcasm and gravitas. "Chris Dodd is my closest personal friend in public life. Bill Richardson and I are buddies. I know Barack. He's on my committee, but he hasn't been involved very much, he's new, so I don't know him very well."
Gasps and giggles arose from the crowd at this apparent dig at the moonlighting Mayor of Purple America, the man Biden not so long ago praised as "the first mainstream African-American [candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," even if Obama made it clear during the Howard University debate their relationship would remain platonic.
"No, I mean that sincerely," Biden protested, nudging the knife in a little deeper under the cover of faux collegiality. "I'm the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He's a member. He's only been there...this is halfway through his first term and he's been running most of the time."
Some grumbles continued, but Biden shrugged it off. He had bigger fish to fry.
"If you watch the debates you'll find that all of my colleagues are always saying, 'Well, Joe's right,'" Biden said. He shook his head a bit at the gall of it. "They're willing to grant to me that I know more about foreign policy than they do. And they kid me. They all say, 'You know, Joe'd make a great Secretary of State.' Which is another way of saying I shouldn't be president."
Typically the first clue someone doesn't think you should be president is when they, you know, run against you.
AT A DEMOCRATIC SPIN breakfast in Las Vegas after the November CNN debate, one liberal pundit dreamily posited, "Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama must wake up every morning thanking their lucky stars Joe Biden doesn't have the money to run against them."
This line seems to have become Conventional Wisdom, although it's tough to understand watching Biden strut and preen his way through his stump speech with his quirky, not-altogether-unappealing mixture of wit, intelligence and hyper-self-regard.
Biden, for example, speaks at length with a touching passion about his experiences visiting with troops on the front lines in Iraq. Yet these moments always segue into tangents suggesting the worst unintended consequence of the war for Biden is how it's derailed his Nanny State legislative agenda.
"Everything I care about, everything I've devoted my life to -- everything -- is impeded by the continuation of this war," Biden lamented. "Iraq is like a big boulder sitting in the middle of the road."
More like in the middle of Joe Biden's political driveway. Once he ends the war, Biden promises the revenues saved will make universal healthcare and college with no debt possible, eviscerate the national debt and summon forth the renewable energy technology to end dependence on "oligarchs of oil."
Of course, Joe Biden was in Congress for 30 years before the Iraq invasion. Presumably he knows the nation wasn't stoking the Treasury Department furnaces with $500 bills just to make sure ol' Delaware Joe couldn't get credit for single-handedly saving the downtrodden masses. Once upon a time there was no Iraq war and we still didn't have the cash for Biden's platform.
Throughout his speech Biden decried "the moralizing of my Republican colleagues running for president," and then followed it up with rank simplistic moralizing of his own, preaching on about Republicans' "Orwellian prostitution of basic human rights" -- true, as part of a bipartisan consensus -- and typical liberal non-sequiturs such as, "I think the vast majority of the American people believe taking care of children is more important than a tax cut."
What? How did Biden get a peek at the Republican National Committee's Screw the Children 2008 strategy memo? Or is this simply one more of his unearthly insights?
DURING ONE OF BIDEN'S more esoteric interludes, the Senator asked the audience to imagine he'd been president on September 11, 2001 and then gave the speech he would have delivered to Congress in the aftermath of the attacks chock full of catchphrases about multilateralism and sacrifice. "What did the president say, as my mother would say, God love him?" Biden roared at the crowd. "He said fly and go to the mall."
Considering the epidemic of convenient political amnesia Biden and his Democratic colleagues have come down with during this election cycle, it's worth revisiting what Bush actually said before Congress on September 20, 2001, when he described the new war as "the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom," one in which America would "ask every nation to join us."
Bush asked citizens to "uphold the values of America," because "in a fight for our principles...our first responsibility is to live by them." And, yes, he urged "continued participation and confidence" in an American economy that had just taken a trillion dollar-plus hit.
This is not to absolve Bush of any errors of judgment in ensuing years, obviously, but the president did something quite a bit more substantial when he showed up at the Capitol than hand out maps to the nearest mall and spin some Toby Keith records.
Never mind all of this, though. The basic message, as divined by the Prophet Biden -- God love him, his mother might say -- was "fly and go to the mall." And that's nothing like the straight talk Biden would have given the American people.
If straw men were professional athletes in this country, Biden would be the trainer notorious for walking around with vials of steroids and a pocketful of hyperemic needles. He is never content to simply exaggerate. In his own mind, no moment in Joe Biden's life has been anything but larger than life.
"If I'm wrong I will be dead wrong and I won't be president," Biden declared as his speech came to a close. Oozing a confidence as slick and thick as hair gel as he dove into the crowd to press the flesh, it was clear Biden is not at all convinced he is dead wrong.
Watching the scene, however, I was suddenly overcome with my own premonition: I saw the defeat of Joe Biden ahead, coming in the belly of a New Hampshire voting booth!
American Spectator Contributing Editor Shawn Macomber is writing a book on the Global Class War.
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