Keith Koffler asks the right question: Is Biden fit to be president?

The Vice President’s primary responsibility is to be in place should something happen to the president.  This is not a far-fetched scenario.  Over America’s long presidential history, several Vice Presidents have ascended to the presidency.  Since WWII, we’ve had three presidents come in that way:  Truman, LBJ, and Ford.  The Veep is an understudy for the big role.

The media and the internet have been abuzz today about Biden’s performance.  True believers enjoyed seeing his raging performance.  Looked at objectively, though, with the eye of someone who wandered in from Mars and turned on the TV, Joe’s behavior was nothing short of rude and demeaning, not just to his obvious target, Paul Ryan, but also to the American people.  Biden intentionally hijacked an opportunity for Americans to hear candidates talk at some length about issues that are important to voters.  By interrupting Ryan at least 82 times, by talking over him, by asserting that every fact was a lie without ever addressing the underlying ideological issues, Biden turned the affair in a pointless exercise, with a nice young man being confronted by a crazy dude.

I won’t be the first one to quote Proverbs 29:9 here, as I’ve received multiple emails about blog posts raising it: “When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet.” Or as I sum it up, “Never argue with the crazy person.”

Of course, that assumes that Biden is either crazy or a fool. Perhaps he is a calculating man who covered up a giant vacuum in his party’s platform by raging in Khrushchev style (or lawyer style): When you have the law, argue the law; when you have the facts, argue the facts; and when you have neither law nor facts, pound the table.

Regardless of his motivation, though, Joe was thumbing his nose at our democracy. He was denying us the substance we deserve. He was either unstable, which is a problem; or profoundly dishonest of and disrespectful to democracy, which is also a problem. And so Keith Koffler asks Is Biden Fit To Be President?

Biden’s act last night raises very serious questions about his fitness to serve as president should it ever come to that.

And it was an act. It’s clear to me that the giggling, the sneering, and the occasional indignant outbursts were carefully rehearsed, a calculated attempt both to diminish Ryan and throw some red meat to a dispirited Democratic base. “Yeah, get him, get the little jerk,” you can hear lefties across America snorting as Biden tore into the despised Ryan.

That the vice president of the United States could put together a performance that was just one step short of Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on a desk at the United Nations should be deeply disturbing to average Americans.

Though calculated, Biden’s outlandish behavior and his uncanny ability to pull it off belongs nowhere near the West Wing of the White House. Unless Biden’s debate prep partner was Al Pacino and the practice sessions were rehearsed at the Strasberg school for method acting in New York City, the behavior you saw last night has to be part of who Biden is: A crude, angry bully who may be a borderline lunatic.

Americans need to ask themselves not who won the debate, but whether they want such a man in charge of an office whose occupant steers the the future of the human race and, quite possibly, its fate.

Read the rest here to see what Koffler has to say about Ryan’s performance.

Only megalomanics need apply

Let’s see if I’ve got this right, based upon the evidence currently available:

  1. Obama is a grandiose narcissist
  2. Newt is an egomaniac
  3. Hillary is a compulsive liar
  4. Mitt seems vaguely asperger-ish, with a weather vane in place of his spine
  5. Herman is a serial womanizer (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the claims against him are true)
  6. Rick is manic (so can depressive be far behind)
  7. Michelle is an abused wife (or is she married to an abused husband?  I forget)

And on the list goes.  Giving personality disorder labels to presidential candidates is like shooting fish in a barrel — it’s just too easy.  But think about it:  What person in his (or her) right mind would want to run for president or be president in the early years of the 21st century.  Not only is there the burden of governing a superpower in an explosive world, but our manic media ensures that, if you’re a Republican candidate, you’ll be subject to routine, public colonoscopies,  while if you’re a Democratic candidate, you receive the kind of fawning sycophancy that created the same delusions of grandeur that drove many European monarchs mad.

Any job description for the job of president in 2012 should end with the words “only megalomaniacs need apply.”  No sane person would want the job, including a sane patriot, and that fact may go a long to explaining why our candidates are so deeply flawed.

In honor of this realization, I’d like to propose a new presidential song, which is much more apt and meaningful than “Hail to the Chief”:

(Or see here.)

Whether we, as Americans, are well served if Obama implodes

I observed to my friend Joseph Libson that I’m of two minds about what appears to be an Obama implosion.  On the one hand, since I think he’s a dangerously bad president, I want him exposed as quickly and fully as possible, so that he is president for as short a time as possible.  On the other hand, when you are a person occupying a position as important as Obama’s when you go down, you tend to take others with you.  If the others are Axelrod, Emanuel, etc., good riddance to bad rubbish.  But what if the “others” are you and me, and the rest of the American people.  Joe took my concerns to heart and returned with this very thoughtful answer:

I contend that the sooner a bad leader is not in power the better.  Rather than “taking us all down with him” it would allow our country to put itself back together.

What an American leader needs more than anything else is a moral center.  Second they need a love for our country.  Carter had the former, and some of the latter.  Clinton had some of the former and a lot of the latter.  The Bush’s had lots of both.

Our current president is an oblivious egomaniac with very little love for the US.  He is not that bright and he has left the work of the country in the hands of some very cynical, intelligent and malignant folks (Alexrod, Emanuel, Jarret etc).  He will in no way act as a break on their activities as long as they increase his own perception of his own grandeur.

Biden, while not a terribly competent individual, definitely has a love for the country.  And I have a nagging suspicion that he also has a moral center.  So the sooner BO decides that we are unworthy of his esteemed “leadership” the better.

To which I can only add that it’s a sad day when Joe Biden seems like a good choice.

The inspirational president *UPDATED*

Yesterday, Mr. Bookworm and I found ourselves in a car heading south.  As we passed the Marriott at which Sarah Palin spoke (a speech I got to hear in person), this dialog ensued:

Me:  That’s where Sarah Palin spoke.

Mr. Bookworm:  Really?  Are you still going to tell me that she wouldn’t have been a disaster as Vice President?

Me:  I think she would have made a fine Vice President.  She certainly would have been better than Joe Biden.  Say, did you hear what he said the other day?  He said he was the best Vice President since, well, anybody.  [I mangled the quote a little bit.  This is what he actually said:  “I’m the most experienced vice president since anybody.”]

Mr. Bookworm:  That’s so not true.  He never said that.  You live in right wing fantasy world.  I defy you to find that for me.  Anyway, Palin would have been a laughingstock.

Me:  Come on.  She has more executive experience than Obama and you voted for him.

Mr. Bookworm:  That is a totally specious argument.  This is not about executive experience.

Me:  Yes, it is.  The president is the executive office.

Mr. Bookworm:  That is total B.S.  The presidency has nothing to do with being an executive.

Me:  Babe, it’s in the Constitution.  The President is the “executive.”

Mr. Bookworm:  That doesn’t mean anything anymore.  Presidents aren’t really executives.  The office is inspirational.  All the best Presidents haven’t been executives; they’ve been inspirational leaders.

This interesting conversation ended abruptly at this point when one of the kids started throwing up in the back seat, but I certainly would have liked to have pursued it.

UPDATED:  Just got off the phone from a call with another relative, a very liberal gal who lives in a liberal enclave back East.  After listening to her soundly berating Sarah Palin for being an idiot because she doesn’t speak well and lauding Obama because he does, I asked her my standard question:  “What has Obama accomplished?”  Her answer:  “He’s an inspirational symbol.  He doesn’t need to have accomplished anything.”

Are they all reading from the same playbook or have they all independently arrived at the conclusion that this is the only possible answer to cover Obama’s abysmal lack of concrete accomplishments?

Obama — Philosopher in Chief

I’ve been traveling, so I missed the Saddleback conversation with the candidates.  Nevertheless, through emails and Mike Devx’s comments, I’ve become aware of the question Rick Warren posed to the two candidates about evil.  Here’s the transcript:

REV. WARREN: Okay, we’ve got one last — I’ve got a bunch more, but let me just ask you one about evil. Does evil exist? And if it does, do we ignore it, do we negotiate with it, do we contain it, do we defeat it?

SEN. OBAMA: Evil does exist. I mean, I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. And I think it has to be confronted. It has to be confronted squarely.

And one of the things that I strongly believe is that, you know, we are not going to, as individuals, be able to erase evil from the world. That is God’s task. But we can be soldiers in that process, and we can confront it when we see it.

Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for us to have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil because, you know, a lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil.

REV. WARREN: In the name of good.

SEN. OBAMA: In the name of good.

REV. WARREN: Yeah, okay.

SEN. OBAMA: And I think, you know, one thing that’s very important is having some humility in recognizing that, you know, just because we think our intentions are good doesn’t always mean that we’re going to be doing good.

[snip]

REV. WARREN: All right. How about the issue of evil? I asked this of your rival in the previous thing. Does evil exist? And, if so, should we ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it, or defeat it?

SEN. MCCAIN: Defeat it. (Applause.) A couple of points. One, if I’m president of the United States, my friends, if I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. (Applause.) I will do that, and I know how to do it. I will get that guy. (Applause.) No one, no one should be allowed to take thousands of American — innocent American lives.

Of course evil must be defeated. My friends, we are facing the transcendent challenge of the 21st century — radical Islamic extremism. Not long ago in Baghdad, al Qaeda took two young women who were mentally disabled and put suicide vests on them, sent them into a marketplace, and, by remote control, detonated those suicide vests. If that isn’t evil, you have to tell me what is. (Applause.)

And we’re going to defeat this evil. And the central battleground, according to David Petraeus and Osama bin Laden, is the battle — is Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and Iraq. And we are winning and we are succeeding, and our troops will come home with honor and with victory, and not in defeat. And that’s what’s happening. (Applause.) And we have — and we face this threat throughout the world. It’s not just in Iraq. It’s not just in Afghanistan. Our intelligence people tell us al Qaeda continues to try to establish cells here in the United States of America.

My friends, we must face this challenge. We can face this challenge, and we must totally defeat it. And we’re in a long struggle. But when I’m around the young men and women who are serving us in uniform, I have no doubt — none. (Applause.)

Others have commented on the fact that Obama obliquely castigated the United States with his comment about how “we” have done evil in the name of good.  As it happens, that true.  Few people set out to do evil, and most people can convince themselves that they’re not doing something evil.  It helps if you have fixed moral principles, because then you can look beyond your own selfish desires to a “greater good,” but you can still make mistakes.

The problem with Obama’s approach, however, is that it’s one that leads to complete paralysis.  If you’re always afraid of yourself, and of your own motives, you’ll do nothing at all.  Obama’s approach is also a purely philosophical one.  He has no real enemies in mind — and, indeed, the only one he could think of, while evil, has nothing to do with the US — he has no solutions in mind, and he’s scared of himself.

McCain could not stand in starker contrast.  His response was as concrete as Obama’s was philosophical:  he identified an entity that is evil and that is a distinct threat to America, and he talked about what America needs to do to confront this evil.  So concrete was he in contrast to Obama’s high flown philosophies that some stalwart members of the MSM instantly leapt to his defense and accused McCain of cheating.  After all, how could McCain have had so many details at his fingertips without cheating?

Mitchell misses something fundamentally different between the two men, and it’s something that is very important to keep in mind when considering the office to which they aspire.  McCain is a do-er.  He sees problems, he analyzes the data, and he comes up with a plan for dealing with it.  Obama sees big, existential issues.  He debates with himself if anything really matters.  He deconstructs meaning.  Everything is a debate; few things are a solution.

If Obama were running for the office of Philosopher in Chief, he’d probably be an excellent candidate.  He’d lead the nation through deep philosphical talks about the meaning of good and evil, with sideline discourses into which nations, at any given second, can lay claim to the titles of most good or most evil.

But the office at issue is the Executive Office, with the office holder taking on the alternate title of Commander in Chief.  Do we really want a philosophical waffler in that office, or does it make more sense in a chief executive/commander to have someone who deals in pragmatic realities, and who is firmly on our side?