Senator Joseph Biden made remarks yesterday which should be the focus of the American electorate for the next two weeks (when they aren’t considering the implications of Senator Obama’s desire to “spread the wealth around,” and the reliability of Senator Obama’s promises measured against his spectacularly broken pledge to accept public financing.) Here’s a detailed report from ABC on what Biden said at a Seattle fundraiser Sunday:
“Mark my words,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
“I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate,” Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. “And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”
Not only will the next administration have to deal with foreign affairs issues, Biden warned, but also with the current economic crisis.
“Gird your loins,” Biden told the crowd. “We’re gonna win with your help, God willing, we’re gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It’s like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than-think about it, literally, think about it-this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy.”
The Delaware lawmaker managed to rake in an estimated $1 million total from his two money hauls at the downtown Sheraton, the same hotel where four years ago Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., clinched the Democratic nomination. Despite warning about the difficulties the next administration will face, Biden said the Democratic ticket is equipped to meet the challenges head on.
“I’ve forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know, so I’m not being falsely humble with you. I think I can be value added, but this guy has it,” the Senate Foreign Relations chairman said of Obama. “This guy has it. But he’s gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, ‘Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?’ We’re gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I’m asking you now, I’m asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you’re going to have to reinforce us.”
“There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision’,” Biden continued. “Because if you think the decision is sound when they’re made, which I believe you will when they’re made, they’re not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they’re popular, they’re probably not sound.”
Biden emphasized that the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border is of particular concern, with Osama bin Laden “alive and well” and Pakistan “bristling with nuclear weapons.”
“You literally can see what these kids are up against, our kids in that region,” Biden said in recalling when his helicopter was forced down due to a snowstorm there. “The place is crawling with al Qaeda. And it’s real.”
“We do not have the military capacity, nor have we ever, quite frankly, in the last 20 years, to dictate outcomes,” he cautioned. “It’s so much more important than that. It’s so much more complicated than that. And Barack gets it.”
After speaking for just over a quarter of an hour, Biden noticed the media presence in the back of the small ballroom.
“I probably shouldn’t have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here,” he joked.
“All kidding aside, these guys have left us in a God-awful place,” he then said of the Bush regime, promptly wrapping up his remarks. “We have the ability to straighten it out. It’s gonna take a little bit of time, so I ask you to stay with us. Stay with us.”
Translating Joe Biden is sometimes impossible, but not these remarks. Senator Biden has been receiving the sorts of briefings that nominees receive, and he’s been to the sort of meetings where our allies talk candidly of the gathering storm they see coming closer.
And Biden suspects that Obama will react to the coming crisis in a way that demoralizes the country and which shatters public confidence in Obama.
Biden dismisses the ability of the American military to deal with far flung threats, tells the audience “Mark my words,” and then preemptively implores them to “be prepared to stick with us,” after telling them “we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him.”
The most obvious interpretation of this ramble is that an Iran-Israel confrontation is coming, and that if Obama is president, America will sit it out with, at best, words that do nothing to support Israel or deter Iran.
Mark his words indeed. Last week I interviewed Victor Davis Hanson, and this exchange was crucial:
HH: How will be different if we select McCain than if we select Obama vis-?-vis Iran and Israel? Will the path of history be different, Victor Hanson, in your assessment depending on the outcome of this? Or is the confrontation coming regardless of who we send in?
VDH: Well, the difference is it’s easy to voice cheap rhetoric, as we saw in the debate last night. It’s easy to say, as Obama says, it’s a game-changer if Iran were to get a nuclear device. What does that mean, a game-changer? That’s intolerable. What he’s not telling you is that if I choose to make sure that they don’t have a nuclear device, then that means that basically the United States is going to have to impose an embargo or a Naval blockade because the Europeans will still try to profit to the 11th hour, or even a military strike. I, Barack Obama, must be hated by people in Berlin. There’s no more Victory Column great extravaganzas for me. There’s no more fawning interviews with Der Spiegel. It’s going to be hatred from those people. I’m going to be a unilateralist pre-empter, and I’m going to do that, and all the people in the Muslim world and the Arab world that love me and fawn over me are going to hate me as worse than you know what. Okay, I’m willing to do that for a principle. Do you think he’s going to be willing to do that, or John McCain? I’m sorry, but I don’t think that all of that cheap rhetoric about invading Pakistan and a game-changer in Iran is anything other than rhetoric, because I think the problem with Obama is he’s bought into the idea of Vero Possumus, the new presidential seal that he’s promulgating, that the seas are going to cease to rise, that the planet won’t heat up, this is the change that we’ve been waiting for. And he really believe in this Messianic sense that people love him for himself. And he’s not going to be willing to give up that easily.
Hanson knows what Joe Biden almost bluntly declared and certainly implied: A President Obama will blink when Iran threatens Israel by approaching the nuclear tripwire. A President Obama will seek to force Israel to live with Iran as a nuclear power capable of either striking Israel or shipping to Hezbollah the means of threatening the very existence of the Jewish state, and the supporters of Israel in the U.S. will be stunned and then angry.
That wouldn’t happen under a President McCain.
When even Joe Biden tells you what is going to happen under a President Obama, there’s no way to deny the reality of the defeatism and retreat represented by a vote for Obama-Biden.
There’s a reason why the Obama campaign has tried to silence the debate within the American Jewish community. Any sustained conversation about what is going to happen in 2009 drives serious voters to John McCain.
Joe Biden knows what’s ahead if Obama wins. Let’s hope that voters are paying attention.