Friday, September 19, 2008

Who's Bumblin' Now?

HamCo Republican Party Chair Alex Triantafilou has decided to blog about Joe Biden's purported tendency towards gaffes. The former judge is upset that Biden told a Delaware crowd that the Delaware Blue Hens (a div I-AA team) would beat the Buckeyes. Of course, the two don't even play against each other.

I had a lot of respect for Triantafilou when he was a judge. He's a really intelligent man, and he was a really good judge, in my opinion. But you'd think the local GOP chairman wouldn't be too interested in calling attention to a candidate's less-than-perfect oratory this week.

You see, John McCain announced earlier this week that he wouldn't meet with the president of long-time NATO ally Spain if he's elected. The most reasonable explanation for this is that McCain was confused about the nation to which that president, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, belongs: the question came after a discussion of a series of Latin American leaders who an American president probably wouldn't be willing to meet. But rather than admit this, McCain's campaign is insisting the septuagenerian senator meant what he said, even though this past April, McCain said he'd welcome such a meeting.

So who would I rather have leading the country: someone who pandered (admittedly) to his home state by asserting that its university's second-rate football team could take on one of the best in the nation, or a senator who's "bumblin'" may hurt American foreign policy and alienate our Western allies? You be the judge.

Finally, since Triantafilou raises it, let's deal with the Biden plagiarism myths. In 1987, when Biden was running for president, during a debate he borrowed extensively from a speech initially given by British politician Neil Kinnock. Sounds damning, right? On its own, sure. But not so much when you consider that Biden had repeatedly paraphrased Kinnock as he did during that debate, and on each previous occasion, he attributed it. During the more abbreviated format, he forgot to. There was no intent to mislead anyone into thinking the idea was his own: he'd told people on numerous occasions that it had originated elsewhere. And as for the allegations about what occurred during law school: he was fully investigated by his law school at the time, and a determination was made that he was guilty only of sloppy citation (lawyers are a stickler for citation), not intentional plagiarism. He'd pointed out the work (a law journal article) his ideas had come from, but had not sufficiently footnoted his assignment.

Joe Biden certainly is not a perfect candidate for national office. If I were a GOP leader trying to throw red meat to the base, I'd be talking about Biden's ties to the banking industry, given that this week all hell has broken loose on Wall Street (of course, then the Dems might start talking about McCain's role in the Keating Five . . .). The petty attack on the Blue Hens remark is, quite frankly, beneath our local GOP chair, and not what the voters of this or any other county will be focusing on in November.

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