Vice President Joe Biden has recently fed into the main stream media’s growing White House side story — his “single handed war” on the past Bush Administration. The latest chapter in the proposed saga came in the form of an interview unrelated to the subject, where Biden, in the process of answering the more or less softball question of “is the US more safe now than before”, made a controversial attack at former President Bush.
“We are more safe. We are more secure. Our interests are more secure — not just at home, but around the world. We are rebuilding America’s ability to lead. I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office — and he was a great guy, enjoyed being with him. He said to me, he said, ‘Well, Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m a leader,’”
“And I said, ‘Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one’s following.’”
Enter former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who later, in an appearance in Fox News’s On the Record, fired back, assuming the political body and essentially answering for the Bush Administration:
“Joe Biden said, for example, that he spent hours with the president. Joe Biden was never alone with the president for more than a few moments. There was staff in the room at all times. He never said these kind of things.”
“I hate to say it, but he’s a serial exaggerator. If I was being unkind, I’d say he’s a liar. … You’ll notice every one of these incidents has the same structure. Joe Biden courageously raises the impudent question. The president befuddledly answers, and Joe Biden drives home the dramatic response. And I mean, it just — it’s his imagination. It’s a made-up, fictional world. He ought to get out of it and get back to reality.”
Although it isn’t hard or illogical to start with jabs towards both sides in this debate — in my view its important to step back and take a look at what isn’t in this equation, and why.
It surprises me in more ways than not that President Obama or any of his immediate staff has not stepped in with Biden, as his argument may not necessarily be gaining as much healthy traction as it was designed to receive. This, if I may go as far, may be yet another sign of the new administration’s naive nature, but it may very well be a seasoned strategy. I’ll explain:
Looking back into the illustrious and brilliant Obama/Biden campaign, one might recall the many Bush attacks that took place, which most of the time ended in long, back to back ad campaigns that I believe played a role in Obama’s overall win in the polls. These attacks were fully backed, and ruthlessly pushed forward by the Obama campaign, whether they started via mistake (i.e. Biden’s Indian Gaffe) or for a political gain. But now, as we see another attack initiated, President Obama has held back, unlike the past candidate Obama. So why?
My view is that Obama doesn’t believe Biden picked the best fight in the best time.
In a time where the Oval Office is already juggling domestic and international congressional problems, as well as the new policies trying to are trying to implemented, most of the official word coming out of the White House has been positive. And because of this, the right wing is more or less starved of talking points to get out into the press — as they would be taken second stage to the President’s news, which is essentially flowing out in a more of less politically healthy way.
So now that something has indeed come out as an attack, I wasn’t exactly surprised to see a response from the unofficial GOP within the day. Karl Rove, whether himself or a PR coordinator, sensed that this was the loophole that was exactly what they needed and politically pounced on it.
And it was in fact a good idea. Vice President Biden does in fact have a reputation of both sides of the aisle of stretching the truth, and I am more than assured that this alleged “conversation” did not exist. And because of this exaggeration and Rove’s seasoned ability to pounce, he has created a handle for the White House in the GOP — Joe Biden’s mouth.
But again, there are many ways to play something like this, so I’ll open this up to the commenters: Where was Obama in this exchange, and why did he stay out of it?
October 2, 2008
In what was anticipated to be a debate of gaffes rather than politics, the first and only vice presidential debate was of more depth and quality than then its preceder – the presidential debate. I say this not in my political view, but of the nation’s vibe preceding the event. And this is essentially because of hype.
There is no disputing from either party that the preparation for tonight was unbalanced. The public, mainstream media, and bloggers alike were seemingly convinced two different ways: the first that Palin would gaffe, and the second that she would be surprisingly intelligent. In a sense, both were right and wrong.
John McCain had Palin prepared, but from any perspective he knew Palin would be Palin. The Governor, policies aside, has a distinct personality that he could not change no matter how much she was prepared. In a non-partisan sense, Palin has a not only unique personality, but a certain way of bringing out her points, and that is what has made her successful on the political stage.
However, the McCain campaign could and did save her from a gaffe. Again staying non-partisan, Palin has and is so closely examined that she (as a completely new national politician), could very well send off a misjudged point or flat out gaffe that would explode onto the MSM stage. My case in point would be Palin’s disastrous CBS interview with Katie Couric.
And because of this, one of the few things that the McCain camp had the ability to do before the debate is give Palin a response to Biden’s likely attacks so that she didn’t gaffe. That was definitely apparent tonight.
Biden came into the debate as an underdog to win. What I mean by this is that the press essentially predicted Palin to decide not the winner or loser, but rather if she would lose well or collapse. Biden, however, was never perceived to walk out of the door with a loss.
And this changed dramatically with the start of the debate. A main point that I would like to get out is the fact that I sensed a feeling of renewal. Despite the fact that the media had called for a one-edged debate with a gaffed ending, both candidates were place on the same level.
This is what gave Palin a boost out of the gates — no one expected anything, and because of this, Palin showed a surprising degree of fluentness in her points, something that took everyone off-guard. And in a sense, Palin used this to run away with the first topic — the economy.
Then came foreign policy.
The main turning point in this debate was exactly what Biden needed — a direct soundbite — coming after Palin’s first talking point on foreign policy in which she essentially backed up her ticket but never gave examples.
Biden answered in what I would call the best way possible — reading:
“With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan”
In this quote, Biden both found his grip on the debate and swept Palin off her feet for the first time. The quote itself was simple, but orchestrated what is essentially the biggest difference with both tickets as far as foreign policy — ending the war and winning it. He took advantage of a bad talking point from Palin, and then turned it into a much needed soundbite.
From then on, Biden rode the wave of confidence, further taking chances with the crowd and the public, in example — quoting that Dick Cheney has been the “worst vice president” the US has had, and later in the debate jumping on a softball question about what would happen if he would replace Obama in president if something were to happen.
In short, the debate showed its ups and downs, but in the end Palin lost not because of a gaffe, but rather through a single quote.
September 9, 2008
Well, here’s my biased view of the day, so be warned.
Joe Biden made a comment at a campaign spot in Columbia, Missouri, supposively geared towards Sarah Palin and her five-year old daughter, reading: ”I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy … and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect…Well, guess what, folks? If you care about it, why don’t you support stem cell research?”
This was followed harshly in a McCain statement: ”Barack Obama’s running mate sunk to a new low today, launching an offensive debate over who cares more about special needs children. Playing politics with this issue is disturbing and indicative of a desperate campaign.”
To me, this is completely ridiculous on McCain’s part, mostly in releasing this kind of statement, but also in reacting in this kind of harsh way towards anything (supposedly) thrown at Palin. Calling Biden’s comments “disturbing” is very incorrect, whether his comments were about Palin or not. And although I am not an expert on stem cell research, nevertheless this kind of response to what seems like a very light attack on Palin — if an attack at all –is totally uncalled for.
Plus, the last time I checked, candidates can question each-other’s policies.
This also raises a greater point — it seems that the Republicans are sending running mate Sarah Palin into the press and at the Democrats in the form of an attack “Pitt Bull” who can throw out harsh attacks and lies, in such a relentless fashion. And now that she may have been attacked back, in a fraction of what Palin has thrown at the Democrats, the McCain campaign reacts in the form of: “What are you doing? This isn’t allowed!”
It doesn’t work like that. First off, Palin has made many skeptical remarks, changed her stance on many things including the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” remark, and most of all, attacked the Democrats’ policies as well as character in a very harsh way, and she must realize that just like she would do, the Democrats will make their case on why she is wrong. And because of this, she can’t react like she just found proof that Obama is a Muslim every time the left tries to tell the world that she may be wrong.
Secondly, you can’t just jump off the grid, already starting a press wildfire inside itself, and fire back this harshly whenever any form of point or questioning is geared towards you. It’s as simple as that.
In a race unlike any other, politics have mixed with mainstream media, PR stunts and campaign tactics cannot be deciphered, and candidates are currently in a full-fledged ad war. First ladies have turned into public enemies, and lines have been drawn inside of political parties.
But the single, most plain asset in this political chaos that we call the 2008 presidential race is most certainly the element of surprise.
Partisan or non-partisan, liberal or conservative, we can all agree on one thing – Sarah Palin was a surprise. The little-known one term Alaskan governor has set political media to a standstill, hitting nerves on everyone, liberal, conservative, or independent. She has changed politics as we know it, stirring so many feelings that can’t all be represented by just one writing.
So how can we take all of this in? The truth is, we can’t. Which ever party you support, which every race and creed you are, you simply can’t take in Palin without emotion.
And this is exactly what John McCain wanted.
He wanted this news frenzy. He wanted the blogging world, liberal and conservative to explode into opinion. He wanted chaos to erupt in the media world, (i.e. the OK! Magazine bias). He wanted people like me and you to think long and hard about this media bonanza — he wanted a diversion.
Understanding the importance of his vice presidential pick, McCain couldn’t simply choose anyone. He needed to go out of the ordinary, not into the realm of his contenders, middle-aged white males who would be perceived just like they have for two-hundred years.
And no matter how unreliable, local or politically ripe Sarah Palin was, he knew she would create the second big bang. He knew that she would occupy every political blog, think tank, magazine, and newspaper. And finally, he knew that she would provide a wall between both parties, blacking out media solely focused on the Democrats.
Palin’s experience is an issue, but McCain knew he could exploit this to the fullest, initiating a media strategy that could literately absorb any attack from the left.
And in a sense, this has succeeded, with help from Sarah Palin herself.
Her choosing for running mate has acted as a literal smoke bomb, creating only a small explosion, but then spreading over the entire mainstream media, sparking a spreading cloud of mist. Palin, acting as bait, has done all she has needed to do, unleashing attack speeches when needed and sparking controversy with her “troopergate” scandal as well as he pregnant daughter. The media then proceeded to take the bait, igniting a fire within itself and not running a story without the world “Palin” in it.
Meanwhile, Palin actually has stayed away from the media, ignoring any invitations for interviews on sit-down shows and political debate television as well.
Why? She doesn’t need too.
Palin’s one weakness is the one trait that you would assume a running mate would use to his/her advantage – politics. McCain knows that if Palin explodes back into the media, accepting interviews and arguing head-on with the liberal press, she will be beaten to her knees, and a coupe-de-grace will be imminent during her mandatory debate with opposing running mate Joe Biden.
And because of this, the future is more of an enemy to the conservatives than Barack Obama, and if the Democrats plan to exploit this, they must understand that for now, they have lost the battle of the present.