Monday, August 25, 2008

What Does This Picture Have to Do With Joe Biden's Iraq War vote...


Yes, Joe Biden voted for the Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq. But was he the same breed of sheep as everyone else who did? Was it solely political calculus like is suspected of Hillary? Or, total capitulation and trust in the President?...

You might recall a certain Rose Garden ceremony with a certain flesh-haired loser Democrat who sold out the Party (and as it turns out, the country) by going behind closed doors and crafting deal with Bush and the Republicans.

But who did Dick Fucking Gephardt really screw over? David Corn reminds us...
One of Biden's better moments came in the run-up to the war with Iraq. In the fall of 2002, the Bush administration, claiming Saddam Hussein had amassed loads of WMDs that he could hand to al Qaeda for attacks against the United States, was demanding that the House and Senate grant Bush the authority to invade Iraq whenever he wanted. Rather than cave to Bush, Biden, the chairman of the foreign relations committee, worked with Republican Senators Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel to craft an alternative: a resolution that would allow Bush to attack Iraq only for the purposes of destroying Iraq's WMDs and only after seeking UN approval. If the UN withheld permission, Bush would have to come back to Congress and prove that the threat was so "grave" that only military action could eliminate it. This was a wily legislative maneuver that could have averted a war. (And Biden told me and Michael Isikoff during an interview for our book, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, that he had received backdoor encouragement from Secretary of State Colin Powell.) But Biden's bipartisan measure was ultimately derailed by a fellow Democrat: House minority leader Richard Gephardt, who essentially accepted the White House's blank-check approach. After Gephardt did that, Republican senators told Biden, How can we be to the left of Dick Gephardt? "I was so angry," Biden later said. "I was frustrated. But I never second-guess another man's political judgment."

Biden went on to vote for the Iraq war resolution. Which demonstrated his Washington-ness. He had tried for something better. When that failed, he, too, accepted the prevailing notion. But his pre-vote effort to create a much more limited resolution will afford the Obama-Biden ticket a small measure of cover when its foes point out that Obama's main charge against John McCain (he supported the Iraq invasion) can also be applied to his running-mate.

As Corn points out, Biden still voted for the War, but what he wanted was NOT the bullshit he ended up putting his name on.

It was a mistake, but not as glaring as would appear at first glance, and much more excusable and reconcilable.

6 comments:

steves said...

As Corn points out, Biden still voted for the War, but what he wanted was NOT the bullshit he ended up putting his name on.

Why didn't he vote no if it wasn't what he wanted? Would the fallout have been bad? Frankly, I would have preferred someone outside of the Washington group that has not done much to oppose Bush.

Mr Furious said...

I think the best take on the biden thing was what Ezra Klein wrote the other day (see previous post).

I think Obama looked at the landscape, and correctly realized that "CHANGE" is only going to go so far. It got him the nomination, but the general populace is going to take more convincing.

I also think, unfair or not, Obama HAD to bolster his foreign policy creds, and no out-of-Washington governor (except Richardson) was going to be able to do that.

And, frankly, Richardson is just as gaffe prone as Biden, not as good on the attack, and seemingly has more issues with skeletons/history.

Wes Clark is a guy I love, but the blowback from the innocuous yet accurate statement he made about McCain showed Obama that the media wasn't going to let Clark get away with observing, much less attacking, anything about McCain.

Biden was the best choice available to him.

And just look at the press lapping up Biden's seven kitchen table's line on Saturday. They love it.

Smitty said...

To add to that, the Washington "Outsiders" are not very appealing. Mr. F. points out Richardson's problems (plus he really kinda looks like shit with the big eyeball bags and such), Sebelius is a less-than-enthusiastic speaker and would have fired-up the "Clinton Only" crowd even more and Bayh is just straight-up boring milquetoast Indiana conservative Dem duldrum.

Plus, you're hard-pressed to find any anti-war votes from anyone else, and Obama had to increase his foreign policy cred. No Governor is gonna do that for you.

DED said...

As for that picture, those four most prominent are gone or will be gone come January.

Gephardt: Decided not to run again after his failed presidential nomination bid in '04.

Hastert: Announced this is his last term.

Lott: Announced this is his last term.

W: Should be going, unless he, Rove, and Cheney can figure out a way to usurp the term limits amendment.

And yet their legacy will live on. :(

DED said...

Whoops! Lott and Hastert are already gone. I've been sleeping!

steves said...

I also think, unfair or not, Obama HAD to bolster his foreign policy creds, and no out-of-Washington governor (except Richardson) was going to be able to do that.

Very true, though it seems that the economy is a much bigger factor to most voters. I will say that Biden is a great speaker and can sure let out a few zingers. It should be interesting to see how it all plays out.