VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 2 CATEGORY: Social Sciences POSTED ON: 5/30/2010
[Joe Biden] voted for the Iraq War, agreeing with the [George Bush] administration that Saddam Hussein in 2002 was "a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security," as well as "an extreme danger to the world." As late as 2007, he was defending the original rationale for the war. On "Meet the Press," Biden said of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, "everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them. ... This was not some, some [Dick Cheney], you know, pipe dream."In 2005, Biden told the Brookings Institution that withdrawing from Iraq would be a "gigantic mistake" and any "deadline for pulling out, which I fear will only encourage our enemies to wait us out" would be "equally a mistake." In the run-up to the 2008 Democratic primaries, however, he criticized [Barack Obama] and Hillary Clinton for voting against Iraq funding bills that did not contain a timetable for withdrawal, arguing that it would result in American forces having to return at a later date. Such rhetoric is little different from John McCain's.Understanding the Democrats' priorities helps explain why Obama went with a safe pick who toes the party line on domestic policy and goes with the flow on foreign affairs. Biden is a smart and capable man, whose talents are well suited for the Senate. He can savagely attack Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas one minute, then deliver a moving eulogy for Strom Thurmond the next-post-Trent Lott. He can support a partial-birth-abortion ban and then denounce the Supreme Court when it upholds the very law he voted for. Biden's wit and bluecollar persona will help balance Obama's aloofness and lack of appeal to white working-class Catholics. On the other hand, his windbaggery may weigh down an already loquacious ticket. The Politico warns, "the Obama team will spend some sleepless nights wondering what he might say at any given moment." Newsweek's Howard Fineman says simply, "He can't keep his mouth shut."
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