Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Help Obama!

25 October 2008

Help Obama!


I wasn't very happy when Obama picked Joe "The Gaffe Factory" Biden as his running mate. During the primaries, I began my Biden Death Watch on day one, and began waiting for Biden's mouth to sink his candidacy. His mouth did not disappoint. And now it appears that Biden's mouth has done it again:

"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."
Ben Smith says that he assumes Biden was talking about Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy, and not Bay of Pigs Kennedy.

A lot of Democratic partisans have suggested that what Biden said wasn't that bad. Well, it wasn't Palin bad. He didn't say that people who bomb abortion clinics
aren't terrorists. But it was plenty bad, as Russ Douthat explains:

Biden didn't say: "Every President gets tested in his first six months in office, and Barack Obama won't be any different." He specifically highlighted Obama's youth as a reason to expect a "generated crisis to test the mettle of this guy," and specifically compared him to John F. Kennedy - whose perceived inexperience (and poor initial impression on the world stage) was supposedly one of the contributing factors in the Russian decision to send missiles to Cuba.

It's true that all Presidents should expect to get their mettle tested in their first year in office, and it's true that John McCain's years working on foreign-policy issues in Washington won't exempt him from that rule. And maybe that's what Biden meant to say. But the words he actually uttered seemed intended to cite his running mate's youth and relative inexperience as a reason why Obama, in particular, would be likely to face an international crisis in his first six months. And in an election where John McCain has been trying (and trying, and trying) to emphasize the risks associated with Obama's inexperience, that seems like a remarkably foolish thing for a vice-presidential candidate to say about his running mate and foreign policy.

If Biden's remarks are "wholly unremarkable," then, it's only because we've reached a point in the race where Joe Biden could be photographed doing the foxtrot with Jeremiah Wright at a "Free Mumia" rally and it wouldn't affect the outcome of the election.

Well, I'd say that the only reason that Biden has been getting a pass for his gaffes is the fact that his Republican counterpart has been saying things that are much more harmful to the ticket. That's saying a lot. Palin is up against Joe Biden, after all, and she's only been interviewed by reasonably objective journalists on three occasions.

But the fact is that Obama will almost certainly be the next president, and I think that any loyal American and any person who's concerned about what happens to the United States has an obligation to help out Barack Obama. The poor man is about to be blindsided by an international rival who's determined to test him. Let's help Obama anticipate the crisis that's coming during his first six months in office by thinking of possible scenarios.

Remember the criteria: it must be an international crisis that's been manufactured as a way of testing Obama's will. And Obama's reaction must seem wrong at first, but be proved right in the end. I can think of a couple of scenarios, but this is the one I think is most likely:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces that he will restart his nuclear program. Barack Obama responds by saying, "they wouldn't even know what to do with a nuclear weapon if they had one." The two leaders meet without preconditions in a hastily prepared summit.

At the summit, Ahmadinejad challenges Obama to back up his words by giving Iran a nuclear weapon. Diplomatically cornered, Obama has no choice but to give him one. Saying that he has no fear of becoming an international pariah, Ahmadinejad immediately arms a Shahab-4 missile with the nuclear warhead and fires it at Tel Aviv.

When the missile impacts, the warhead splits open. Inside is confetti and a flag that says "BANG!" Instead of becoming an international pariah, Iran becomes an international laughingstock. An angry mob storms the presidential residence and tears Ahmadinejad limb from limb. Iranian people set up a democracy that serves as a model for good government and economic growth in the Islamic world.

Obama reveals that the fake nuke was Biden's idea, and Biden is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Creates major scandal when it's found that his acceptance speech was
plagiarized from Neil Kinnock.


That's only one of the several possibilities that Biden alluded to. I know that we can think of the remaining possibilities in time to warn Obama. Please help by giving your scenario in the comments.

(cross posted at appletree)



Anonymous Rex said...

Here's how Obama sees it.

Responding to attacks over Mr Biden's comment on the likelihood that he would be "tested" by an international crisis, Mr Obama said his running-mate "sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes".

"His core point was, the next administration is going to be tested regardless of who it is," he told reporters.

"The question is: Will the next president meet that test by moving America in a new direction, by sending a clear signal to the rest of the world that we are no longer about bluster and unilateralism and ideology?"

2:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've a slinking suspicion that America and Pakistan are going to have some kind of face off pretty soon.

And I think that Israel is more likely to hit Iran than the other way round. I'm talking tactical nukes.

2:13 pm  
Anonymous gordo said...


Yeah, Obama put the best possible spin on the comment, but if that was really a the idea that Biden wanted to express, then he picked the most bizarre and counter-productive way possible to express it.

And that's always been a big problem with Biden. When he's thinking, he can be brilliant. But as often as not, he just opens his mouth and starts babbling without bothering to think about how his words might be received.

Fortunately, this year the competent politician is at the top of the ticket, and the gaffe machine is the running mate. Kerry and Edwards probably would have been elected in 2004 if Edwards had been at the top of the ticket.


Honestly, I think the ultimate objective of the Israeli warhawks is to keep tensions high and maintain a perpetual state of conflict, so that they always have a pretext to occupy and expand settlements in the West Bank. So I think that they'll be very careful not to trigger a large-scale conflict, because such a conflict has the potential to end with a definitive resolution.

Also, I think that it would be a mistake at this point for Israel to assume unconditional American support for an act that would be that damaging to American interests. In the long run, a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran would be extremely damaging to US-Israeli relations.

7:43 am  

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