Monday, August 25, 2008

How to beat Joe Biden

Well, Barack Obama has made his VP selection, taking Washington's most vicious attack dog, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. So, the question has now become how to combat the fast-talking Biden and his decades of foreign policy experience. Unfortunately, most of the Republican punditry is running scared from Biden and, in my opinion, suggesting that McCain adopt a disastrous strategy with his own pick. So, here are my thoughts on how to beat Biden, and they are probably different from what you've been hearing on the news:

Biden is a fast-talker who pulls no punches. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of foreign policy, and will try to bludgeon any debate opponent with all of the minutia of different situations. He is also a hothead who is overly fond of personal attacks. The best way to beat him is to make him look like a mean-spirited jerk (which is not hard), but unfortunately the punditry seems to think that McCain should now be forced to pick an aggressive VP who can crawl into Biden's gutter and beat him at his own game. I think that that's a horrible idea, and I'm not just saying that because I'm promoting Palin.

Biden is without doubt the best attack dog in the country, period. We aren't going to find someone who can beat him on that front. Furthermore, sinking to Biden's level would make the ticket look sleazy. Instead, we should note that Biden totally undermines Obama's "change" mantra, which McCain can now seize for himself by taking a reform minded VP from outside Washington. We can also show up Biden in the debates by selecting a calm, collected candidate who will show Biden for the hothead he is. Sarah Palin fits both bills.

For one, Palin has actually produced the sort of change that Obama and Biden can only talk about. Secondly, she will refuse to play in Biden's mudpit, which makes him look even worse. Third, she knows how to debate hotheaded opponents. Biden compares very well to John Binkley, another fast-talking attack dog who ran against Palin in the 2006 primary. Palin filleted Binkley (and incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski) by sitting back while they ranted and then delivering crushing one liners that made them look like bratty kids ("Alaskans deserve better than this."). Finally, Biden will do everything he can to attack his opponent on personal terms, which is very dangerous when you are running against a woman or a military parent. Biden WILL say something stupid in the debates, probably belittling Sarah for having been a housewife or mentioning that Track Palin is in the Army, and Gov. Palin will be ready with with a "you're no Jack Kennedy"-style response.

Biden must not be allowed to interrupt the McCain game plan, which likely calls for a young, reformist VP. And when it comes to the debates, the secret will be to allow a cooler head to prevail over the fire-breathing Joe Biden. Gov. Palin is that cool head, and a reformer to boot. If she plays the debate right, she could reduce Biden from "distinguished senator" to "schoolyard bully" and nullify any gravitas that he brings to the Obama ticket.


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