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Sat Apr 28, 2012, 08:58 AM

With Joe Biden’s Speech, The Democrats Finally Man Up

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/28/michael-tomasky-with-joe-biden-s-speech-the-democrats-finally-man-up.html


Michael Tomasky: With Joe Biden’s Speech, The Democrats Finally Man Up
by Michael Tomasky Apr 28, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
Democrats are finally sounding confident on foreign policy—thanks to Joe Biden’s muscular speech.

snip//

Substantively, Biden refuted all the right-wing criticisms (except one, which I’ll get to) of the administration on Iran, the Middle East, Russia, Poland, Libya. He took them on directly and pointedly and said: They are either lying or . . . well, there is no “or”; they’re lying. He gave evidence—of mutual security arrangements with Israel, for example, and the quiet strides that have been made in the Russian “reset.” The kinds of things that never make the papers or the shout-fests but that are real and meaningful. On each point, he quoted Mitt Romney, who said for example that getting bin Laden wasn’t that important, and who (shocker here) has flip-flopped on other matters, like Afghanistan.

But what will drive the right really crazy is that Biden spent so much time describing the accomplishments as a function of Obama’s will—probably a stretch in reality, but rhetorically powerful: “Just a few months into office, sitting in the Oval Office . . . and he turns to Leon {Panetta, then the Director of Central Intelligence}, and he made it clear what his priority was. And on June 2, 2009, he ordered Leon Panetta, gave the following written order, and I quote, ‘in order to ensure that we have expended every effort, I direct you to provide me within 30 days a detailed operational plan for locating and bringing to justice Osama bin Laden.’ It was the president’s highest priority for the CIA. Then, he made one of the most courageous decisions I’ve seen a president make and I would argue in a long time.” That, of course, was the raid itself. Biden again: “And I might add parenthetically, does anybody doubt had the mission failed, it would have written the beginning of the end of the president’s term in office? This guy has got a backbone like a ramrod.”

And then there was the now-famous line about Obama’s “big stick”. My God. How did that survive the vetting at this often timid and antiseptic White House
? Permitting the nation to imagine the president’s penis—because let’s face it, that’s what that line came down to. And the racial undertones—again, in a White House that works overtime to avoid anything that might remind the voting public that its occupants are African American. Amazing. I hope Biden’s “big stick” comment doesn’t establish the new benchmark for future tests of vice-presidential loyalty. But it certainly proves this one’s.

Biden’s more serious sound-bite—that the bumper sticker for this administration is “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive”—is also about as good a campaign slogan I’ve heard from any Democrat in a long time, too. It avoids that treacly, touchy-feely ground on which Democrats so love to walk. It’s just simple and true. It may or may not be enough, and Obama will surely walk that familiar Democratic ground before this campaign is all over. But it’s refreshing to hear a slogan that doesn’t resort to the usual emotional blackmail in which both sides, in their very different ways, engage.

The speech deserves better than to be remembered for its zingers, though. I think back over a long and wearying history: of conservatives losing Vietnam (by insisting that we fight it in the first place when the real experts knew it would be a quagmire) and then pinning the blame for the loss on the liberals; of liberals (or at least Democratic candidates for high office) all but accepting that blame; of ahistorical claims that Ronald Reagan “won” the Cold War, and won it by being the tough guy; and of course of the Dubya era, when Republicans disgustingly smeared a Democratic senator who left three limbs in Vietnam and most Democrats (bless you, Bobby Byrd!) responded by quavering in fear of similar attacks. Bill Clinton pushed back on the general narrative pretty well for a time, in his second term especially, for example in Kosovo. But then came 9/11 and the default pattern reestablished itself with a vengeance.

Well, that’s all finally changing. It will be a great day indeed in this country when strident but infantile rhetoric, and the self-defeating and America-weakening policy positions that accompany them, are tossed in history’s dustbin. The administration’s successes (so far) may hasten the arrival of the day when Republicans can no longer invoke foreign policy when all else fails. And Joe Biden, it seems, is just the man to, uh, stick it to them.

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply With Joe Biden’s Speech, The Democrats Finally Man Up (Original post)
babylonsister Apr 2012 OP
marshall gaines Apr 2012 #1
SemperEadem Apr 2012 #2
nevergiveup Apr 2012 #3
TahitiNut Apr 2012 #4
BlancheSplanchnik Apr 2012 #5
jonthebru Apr 2012 #8
gateley Apr 2012 #6
jonthebru Apr 2012 #7
PatSeg Apr 2012 #9

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:43 AM

1. finally

 

FINALLY!!!!Some Democratic Party push back.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:53 AM

2. name one example in which

Democrats engage in "emotional blackmail in their different way".

Name one. I'm waiting...

Yeah, just like I thought.

The false equivalence claim exposes the motives of this writer, I mean hack.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:58 AM

3. “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive”

Best campaign slogan ever.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:46 AM

4. Joe Biden is a model of a good Public Servant ... honorable, incisive, and liberal.

I cringe every time folks on the left kow-tow to the hypocrites and apologize for something that's totally trivial (a "Joe gaffe") and inconsequential, deserving of NO APOLOGY whatsoever. Yes, it is a BIG FUCKING DEAL, so shove it up your ass if you can't deal with it!!!

It's folks like Joe whose hard work and diligence lend whatever prestige there is to the institutions in which he's served, where others feed upon that prestige to elevate themselves and line their pockets. We need more Joe's ... people who comprehend what SERVICE really means.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:53 AM

5. This quote just about made me cry...

a long and wearying history: of conservatives losing Vietnam (by insisting that we fight it in the first place when the real experts knew it would be a quagmire) and then pinning the blame for the loss on the liberals; of liberals (or at least Democratic candidates for high office) all but accepting that blame


Makes me think of my ex, a Vietnam Vet. Crazy brave, but a perfect example of a real human being, with good intentions, poisoned by that lie. And permanently damaged by his experience. I am sad that the emotional devastation he's left with--and the lies he's made a part of his mind-set-- had a large part in killing the relationship.

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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 05:06 PM

8. I have known several men like that.

It made me hate war.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 02:52 PM

6. WooHoo! Keep 'em coming! nt

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 05:05 PM

7. I did not listen to the speech,

but in reading coverage I must say I did not go to a penis analogy with the big stick statement. I immediately thought of the T. Roosevelt quote and visualized a calm intelligent man holding a strong power in his words and deeds. My Man in the White House.
I have an innate feeling that the Republican Party as we know it may collapse upon its empty rhetoric and wealth. But if they succeed in disenfranchising even a small number of Democratic voters they will succeed in their campaign to create a theocratic corporatist government. All they have to do is prevent a percentage of people from voting, drive a percentage of people away with negativity in the process and lessen the turnout by 5 to 15 % in the general election. Terrible consequence for our always fragile democracy.
That scenario MUST be prevented.
They play a long game, we must not fall into our respective sleep or the worst could happen as it did in the 2010 midterm elections.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 02:25 PM

9. The Dems need more speeches like this

They definitely need to put Biden out there more. He really gets the message out there in language that everyone understands.

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