On Biden’s Campaign

5 01 2008

On his New Yorker blog “Interesting Times,” George Packer paid homage to Senator Joe Biden’s campaign by saying the following:

He showed that a long career in Washington can be a source of indispensable knowledge, not a millstone of indefensible votes and habitual corruption. Because he spoke naturally, he was often funny and serious in the same sentence. On Iraq, Iran, Darfur, and Pakistan, he sounded like a grownup and treated the rest of us as if we were the same. He earned the title of most favored candidate whom no one planned to vote for. Biden once said to me that his candor would be his biggest enemy on the campaign trail, and that if he could keep it in check he had a good chance of winning. This turned out to be a poor assessment of both Democratic Presidential politics and the public’s ability to tolerate the truth. Biden failed to launch for many reasons, but his willingness to confront Americans with unpleasant facts was not one of them.

In my mind, not only did Biden serve as a truth teller on all things the Iraq, particularly with regard to troop withdraw, and other murky thinking on foreign affairs, but he also managed to be the sole Democrat that even the top contenders felt comfortable deferring to during the debates, as evidenced by the clip below.

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