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Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
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Jewish World Review
Oct. 6, 2008
/ 7 Tishrei 5769
How would you describe somebody who says things which are not true with passionate conviction?
"All you have to do is go down Union street with me in Wilmington or go to Katie's
Restaurant or walk into Home Depot with me where I spend a lot of time and you ask
anybody whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has
made them better off in the last eight years," said Sen. Joe Biden in the vice
presidential debate to bolster his assertion he's in touch with the concerns of the
That answer suggested otherwise.
"It came as a surprise to us in Delaware that Joe Biden recently had a meal and
talked with patrons at Katie's Restaurant on Union Street in Wilmington," said an
email to National Review Online. "Katie's Restaurant closed years ago. It was on
Scott Street in Little Italy."
The people who fill up at his neighborhood gas station can't pay for a full tank of
gas, Sen. Biden said. Sen. Biden lives in a 7,000 square foot estate on a four acre
lakefront lot in Greenville, which is described as "northern Delaware's priciest
Sen. Biden says things which are not true with passionate conviction.
"Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United
States," that's the Executive Branch," Sen. Biden said, dismissing Sarah Palin's
expressed intention to play a role in legislative affairs.
Article I of the Constitution defines the role of Congress, the legislative branch,
and declares that "The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the
Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided." That is the only
responsibility of the vice president delineated anywhere in the Constitution.
Article II describes the responsibilities of the Executive Branch. The election of
the vice president is mentioned in Article II, but that Article says not a word
about the powers and duties of the vice president as vice president.
Under Sen. Obama's tax plan, the wealthiest Americans will "pay no more than they
did under Ronald Reagan," Sen. Biden said.
Sen. Obama wants to raise the top income tax bracket to 39.6 percent. Ronald Reagan
had lowered it to 28 percent.
"When we kicked along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon," Sen.
"Biden said the strangest and most ill-informed thing I have ever heard about
Lebanon in my life," said Michael Totten, who reported from there during the
so-called Cedar Revolution. "Nobody has ever kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. Not
the United States. Not France. Not Israel. And not the Lebanese. Nobody. Joe
Biden has literally no idea what he is talking about."
"We've spent less in Afghanistan in seven years than we spend in a month in Iraq,"
Sen. Biden said.
According to the Congressional Research Service, spending on the war in Afghanistan
since 2001 has been about $172 billion. We've been spending a little less than $10
billion a month in Iraq. Sen. Biden was off by a factor of about 1,700 percent.
These would have been really stupid things to say, coming from the ingenue from
Alaska. But someone who has spent 35 years in the U.S. Senate should know as much
about the Constitution as a high school student does, and someone who has been on
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for more than two decades ought to know more
than Sen. Biden evidently does about Lebanon, and the cost of the wars in Iraq and
While most of the things Sen. Biden said that are not true could be chocked up to
ignorance, stupidity (he isn't nicknamed "Slow Joe" for nothing), or gilding the
lily, as in his recent visit to a restaurant that went out of business 20 years ago,
some were outright lies.
The greatest of these was when Sen. Biden denied Sen. Obama had said he would meet
face to face with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Sen.
Biden was present at the Democratic primary debate in South Carolina in July of last
year when Sen. Obama made that pledge, which he subsequently repeated several times.
"The truth matters," Sen. Biden said at several points in the debate. Maybe not so
much to him.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
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