What struck me the most about the debate â€“ and it probably helped having quintessential Obamaphiles in the room â€“ was how Bidenâ€™s â€œgravitasâ€ is derived almost entirely from the fact that he can lie with absolute passion and conviction. He just plain made stuff up tonight. I read a long list tonight in my debate with Beinart here at Wash U, we can visit the details tomorrow.
Just a few: Flatly asserting that Obama never said heâ€™d meet with Achmenijad; that absolute nonsense about spending more in a month in Iraq than weâ€™ve spent in Afghanistan (â€œlet me say it again,â€ he said as if he was hammering home a real fact); the bit about McCain voting with Obama on raising taxes; his vote in favor of the war etc.
Itâ€™s amazing how the impulse to see Biden as the more qualified and serious guy stems almost entirely from his ability to be a convincing b.s. artist. Iâ€™m not saying Palin was always honest or unrehearsed, but when she offers up a catchphrase or a talking point, you can tell. When Biden spews up a warm fog of deceitful gassbaggery the response seems to be â€œwhat a great grasp of the issues he has!â€
His ability, nay his eagerness, to fake not only the â€œfactsâ€ but his sincerity is so shameless many pundits seem either mesmerized by it or scared to call him on it. Iâ€™d call his fakery passive aggressive except itâ€™s actually just aggressive aggressive. Beyond being a tool of trial lawyers, I never saw much similarity between Biden and John Edwards, but tonight I was really struck by how alike the two are. Edwards fakes being an everyman, and Biden does too. But his real fraud is intellectual seriousness. He talks like an intellectually mature person, but thatâ€™s all it is â€“ talk
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