I once had the "privilege" of having Senator Joseph Biden rip a strip of hide off me. (figuratively) It was impressive and memorable. I would not want to be the Republicans when he really gets wound up.
I believe that it was in ’95 or ’96 that I took a consulting client to meet Biden on the basis of an acquaintance I had with one of his staffers. The client did not want anything from Biden. He was one of those people who feel better about themselves if they can say that they know the famous. He was a name dropper. He was an Arab. We were sitting in Biden’s office with a couple of staffers having a meaningless "small talk" session when Senator Joe arrived. After a minute or so Biden asked this man what he thought of the situation in the Middle East. My client said the appropriate thing for a typical "grip and grin" meeting. He expressed a modest hope for peace in the region. He was not a Palestinian and this was of fairly distant import for him, but, it was to be said.
Biden’s face turned red and he started shouting that the two of us knew there was no real chance of peace in the Middle East and that if we continued to "lie" to him we could get out of his office. He went on like that for some time. His diatribe actually became MORE violent and offensive as he continued for several minutes. He did not seem to realize that this poor fellow in an Armani suit was an industrialist and not responsible for the eternal catastrophe between Israel and the Arabs. He started screaming at me as well, saying that it was the responsibility of people like me to make the world a better place (tikkun olam maybe?) I would have told him to "stick it where the sun don’t shine" and left but the Arab gentleman sat through it and so I had little choice but to do the same. If you were not experienced in this kind of thing it would have been hurtful, but it really didn’t measure up to some of the behavior I have observed in flag officers. I suspect that the staffer I knew "set me up" somehow.
In any event, I meant it when I said that Biden is a "sledgehammer." His argumentation is logical, passionate and usually (unlike the occasion mentioned,) delivered behind a screen of civility spread across a vast hostility. He is undeterred by unending reminders of events long gone by.
McCain likes to call people "my friend" when he is working himself into a rage. Biden referred to McCain as "my friend" several times today at Springfield, Illinois.
I think HE should debate McCain. I would pay to see that from the front row. pl
EWww, you just negated the nice things Juan Cole said about Biden. Too bad. Oh well. I’m another Arab who’s resigned to American insanity on the Middle East topic. Sounds like Biden is not only irrational on the subject, but he’s got his heart in it.
Perhaps he might evolve? That’s all we can hope for. Philip Weiss covers what he sees as the evolution of American thinking on Israel/palestine. I have infinite hope for the human soul. But let’s hope Biden learns how to be more diplomatic when meeting Arabs.
The incident as told doesn’t reflect favorably on Biden to my ears.
Is he going to loose his temper and start berating foreign dignitaries in the middle of state visits? The story makes him sound like a loose cannon and not someone I’d trust with important diplomatic tasks.
Great news! As VP, Biden will be a principal member of the National Security Council. He is needed there. Oddly, Obama has appointed a chief of Staff for the VP. Does Obama know that the VP does not work for the President?
The politics as usual choice leaves many of his supporters exhausted from trying to defend his swerve to the center. Anything to get elected, then he will change. Or will he? Tough thing will be getting Biden to shut up.
In your opinion is Biden an example of a politician blind to the reality of the Middle East because of their emotional attachment to the zionist cause?
Does that preclude any opportunity for rapprochement in the next administration considering that either McCain or Obama will become president?
Does this now mean that McSame will choose Mittens “Snake Oil” Romney or Rudy “9/11” Guiliani as his
attack dogprincipled second?
Or will McSame go off the party’s base plantation (appropriate both figuratively and literally), and select someone like Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman?
In other words, does appeasing the current base of the Republican party matter most to McSame, or does he want to try to win?
As to Obama’s selection of Biden, my initial take, despite agreeing with you on Biden’s qualities, was…yawn…how…uhmmm…conventional.
I wonder if, in the history of any nation, the choice between leaders has ever been this great.
The American people are about to be judged. Yes, they have been lied to, deceived, and abused. They have every excuse in the world to do the wrong thing. But, as an American, I want to be proud.
sounds like you witnessed the ardent zionist biden coming out in full flavor. so did biden exhibit the normal zionist trait that the only chance for peace in the mideast was if it was occupied only by zionist, instead of rational people (the arabs)?
that is why i have expressed on more than one occasion in your blog that i find biden to be a scary person, a very very very VERY scary person. if given a choice, i would rather have mccain’s hot temper than the ardent zionist biden, at least with mccain’s hot temper, his ‘steam’ only goes so far and then he’s in wheezing mode trying to catch what waif of his previous steam that is still in the room. the ardent zionist are dangerous, remember they are the ones who have the nuclear samson option they lord over everybody else’s heads in the mideast reading room.
1. On Georgia, Biden says,
“”I left the country convinced that Russia’s invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event to occur in Europe since the end of communism. The claims of Georgian atrocities that provided the pretext for Russia’s invasion are rapidly being disproved by international observers, and the continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region. The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region,” Biden said in a statement.”
““When Congress reconvenes, I intend to work with the administration to seek Congressional approval for $1 billion in emergency assistance for Georgia, with a substantial down payment on that aid to be included in the Congress’ next supplemental spending bill.”
“”I am going to Georgia this weekend to get the facts first-hand and to show my support for Georgia’s people and its democratically-elected government,” said Biden in a statement. “I look forward to reporting to my colleagues in the Senate and on the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as the Administration, about what I learn.”
2. I recall the sartorially-concerned Senator as something of a motor-mouth prone to unleash long and rambling stream-of-consciousness discourses. The substance of these discourses was hard to determine but he had the right gestures and media stuff. When particularly pleased with what he thought to be his eloquence, on conclusion an ever-so-self-satisfied grin/smirk would emerge as if to indicate “Aren’t I great … you can applaud now.”
3. On the other hand, he is very much foreign policy establishment oriented and not independent in his judgement. Thus, if the establishment shifted toward a more moderate approach to Russia, rather than the New Cold War thing, he might go along with that. He is gung ho Georgian now because that is the fashionable thing.
He is a firmly committed pro-Zionist so I would expect no change on that score.
Biden is getting good marks from abroad owing to his foreign policy establishment status so people apparently feel somewhate reassured given Obama’s lack of experience in this area.
4. Meanwhile, about that knee-jerk throw money at it foreign aid attitude. Why not a billion dollars for Americans here at home who are in need instead of Georgians?
VP come in all shapes, sizes, and models. Have to bring more than argumentative qualities to the table. Does Biden have vision? NO! Does he have decision-making skills? NO! Is he a legislative whiz? NO! Not sure what Obama was thinking but better snap out of it. Remember I am a fuzzy headed liberal.
I am not sure what I was watching there. My impression was that I was seeing someone overly influenced by his staffers and who could not have been described as a great thinker.
His outburst was definitely anti-Arab and and anti-Arabist.
The ardent, like the staffer I had been unwise enough to trust, often think that anyone who speaks Arabic and knows a lot about the region is a partisam for the Arabs.
In my case that is untrue. I have enough causes of my own. I don’t involve myself emotionally in other people’s causes, but the anti-Arab crowd think that means that you are against them. pl
It’s really simple mathematics:
I agree with the Colonel, Biden is a good pick but not really a game-changer.
As for hating Arabist, well there is a reason why we are in this mess, isn’t there?
Fox is reporting that the reason Hillary wasn’t picked was because wanted Obama to give her his fund raising voter list, anybody have a clue if this is true or just another Fox-ism.
re your experience with Senator Biden: It doesn’t sound like it would be unfair to say that at the very least, he quickly got to the point.
Regarding Biden’s functioning as VP my concern is “What will the Secretary of State do?” I’m reminded of William P. Rogers problem with Henry Kissenger in the Nixon administration, and, more recently, Paul O’Neill’s troubles in the first Bush 43 administration. Roger’s tenure lasted 4 1/2 years; O’Neill’s not quite two.
The old ‘power corupts’ maxim will still be in play and how Obama will sort out the cast of characters all of whom will be infected with the ‘power’ virus will likely be the first real test of his administration.
Biden, although from public data not a man who seeks personal wealth, has never shied away from seeking positions of power. One can only hope that he’ll treat Obama as he is reported to have treated his majority leader, George Mitchell, with respect, loyalty and appropriate deference.
I think we’re all too accustomed to the Cheney Administration. Veeps usually help the Pres out by attending foreign funerals and such.
Thoughts like: “VP come in all shapes, sizes, and models. Have to bring more than argumentative qualities to the table. Does Biden have vision? NO! Does he have decision-making skills? NO! Is he a legislative whiz? NO! Not sure what Obama was thinking but better snap out of it.” have no relevance to the traditional Veep role.
This was a smart tactical move by Obama, “good cop, bad cop” style, Obama preaches the hope and vision and his dawg fights over the “swift Boat” bones thrown their way.
Intellectually Obama is in a different league than Biden. Joe ain’t gonna be making policy.
yusuf “joe” robinette biden, jr would certainly benefit from learning to listen more and talk less. There is an Arabic proverb “lsanik hsanik, irkabu wa’byarkabuk.”
Your tongue is your steed, Learn to ride it, Or it will ride you. In Biden’s case, he is often at the mercy of his out of control mouth where his foot often resides. But I will grant him this much, his speech today was not too bad.
maybe he could learn something from the youngster barak hussein obama.
so far, the comments of one William Blaine “Bill” Richardson III connect the most with my perspective. perhaps he will have more influence with the the next Decider.
Screaming is a sign of weakness, not power.
The choice of Biden tells us quite a bit about Obama and the state of his campaign. None of it is good.
Senator Biden came to speak to our freshman class over 20 years ago at the all-boys Catholic school I attended in Wilmington. He took questions from the class and I asked him how he could be pro-abortion and still consider himself to be Catholic. Senator Biden easily fielded the question that he has answered many times. He said that he was personally against abortion but … blah, blah, woman’s choice, etc.
The only blowback I received was from my homosexual lay science teacher who ripped me afterwards for daring to ask such a question.
Arpa, from your comments I presume that you want Obama to win?
Will this necessarily be a good thing for either him or all Americans? Who would want to take control of an economy that is in, what is likely to be a very long protracted “U” shaped recession? Whilst at the same time trying to end/continue and pay for two wars with what essentially is a tiolet currency?
I say vote for McCain to quicken up the death agony of America. You know by doing so, something better for the average American may emerge at the other side. Obama were he to win would only prolong it for a few more years, with he himself being condemned to the history books as a one term loser.
Here in the UK, Biden is more known for his desperation in having to plagiarize, the equally of low calibre Neil Kinnock, for one of his campaign ads. So one can only be completely uninspired by Obama’s choice.
If I were Obama I would have went for Zinni instead.
Should McCain win, this will only confirm to us Europeans the completely unexplainable behavior of the American voter in recent years. Will it be this time be on the basis that “even though I am living in a homeless shelter without a job, President McCain makes me feel safe from terrorist attack”?
GWB : “Unconditional Surrender ” Grant II
BO: Woodrow Wilson II ? (along with zionist sidekick)
JMcC : one of the incarnations of George “Blood n’ Guts” Patton (minus profanities)
as my father likes to say, “i’d be yelling too if i was wrong”
i can’t believe the “Robinette” is proposing a Billion Dollars for (overseas) Georgia.
In all fairness to him, there may be a residual medical basis for his erratic behavior perhaps related to past brain injury.
1. LA Times:
“Biden has frequently favored humanitarian interventions abroad and was an early and influential advocate for U.S. military action in the Balkans in the 1990s. He also advocates U.S. action to stem the continuing bloodshed in Darfur….
“Biden considers his most important foreign policy accomplishment to be his leadership on the Balkans in the mid-1990s. He pushed a reluctant Clinton administration first to arm Serbian Muslims and then to use U.S. air power to suppress conflict in Serbia and Kosovo….In 1998, he worked with McCain on a resolution to push the Clinton administration to use all available force to confront Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, a move designed to force the president to use ground troops if necessary against Serb forces in the former Yugoslavia, which was beset by fighting and ethnic cleansing…”
“Some liberal Democrats remain distressed by his 2002 vote for the Iraq war, which Barack Obama opposed. …”
“The Bush administration, he said, “spent five years obsessed with the idea of getting rid of the Iranian regime. None of us like[s] the regime, but think about the logic: We want you to renounce the bomb—and by the way, when you do we’re still going to try to take you down. The result: Iran accelerated its efforts to get the bomb and it is much closer now than it was when President Bush took office. We need a policy that isolates Iran, not America and tips the balance in Iran against pursuing nuclear weapons. That means keeping our allies, Russia and China on the same page as we ratchet up economic and diplomatic pressure on the government to stop pursuing nuclear weapons. At the same time, there are growing fissures within the ruling elite – we need to exploit them.[…]”
“Force must be the last option because it’s a bad option. First, with our forces bogged down in Iraq, our threat to use force doesn’t look very credible. Second, we can set back Iran’s program but not stop it. Using force would lead to retaliation by Iran, including against our troops in Iraq. It would cause the Iranian people to rally behind Ahmadinejad and the extremists. Third, even a ‘limited’ strike would be perceived as something much bigger by the Iranians and could spark a real war. The only thing worse than a poorly planned intentional war is an unplanned unintentional war.”
“A new conference would bring together moderate Arab states like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia along with Europeans, Israelis and Palestinians. The goals of the conference should be enunciated clearly: bringing an end to violence and speeding negotiations for a two-state solution,” he wrote in 2002. “Painful compromises will be required on both sides. Palestinians will have to yield on the right of return to Israel, which would destroy the Jewish nature of the state. Israelis will have to understand, as most already do, that a Palestinian state will require dismantling most settlements.”
” On July 29, 2002, when Biden was about to chair hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Institute for Public Accuracy quoted Scott Ritter, who had been a chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq, on a news release: “Sen. Joe Biden is running a sham hearing. It is clear that Biden and most of the Congressional leadership have pre-ordained a conclusion that seeks to remove Saddam Hussein from power regardless of the facts, and are using these hearings to provide political cover for a massive military attack on Iraq. These hearings have nothing to do with an objective search for the truth, but rather seek to line up like-minded witnesses who will buttress this pre-determined result….”
“In fact, Biden had been in favor of attacking Iraq unilaterally for years: “The only way, the only way we’re going to get rid of Saddam Hussein is we’re going to end up having to start it alone — start it alone — and it’s going to require guys like you [Ritter] in uniform to be back on foot in the desert taking this son of a — the — taking Saddam down.” After Ritter articulated concerns about the Clinton administration’s Iraq policies, Biden told Ritter it was “above your pay grade.” (Sept. 3, 1998)” http://www.accuracy.org/newsrelease.php?articleId=1784
4. Puff piece from Jamie:
“Senator Joe Biden’s foreign policy experience and wisdom are unmatched in American politics. There is no one in Congress who has been around as long, who understands the international realities better, or whose judgment has proven sounder than Joe Biden’s.
“Having worked with him for five years…”
Biden bottom line? “Liberal interventionist.” A dedicated follower of fashion full of sound and fury signifying…
Two very important things to remember about Biden:
1. A strong VP candidate cannot rescue a weak Presidential candidate, if in fact he is a strong candidate.
2. Biden has run unsucessfully for the Presidency twice. I do not think he came in first or second in any primary.
Seeing videos like the youtube one belove makes me wonder if Biden is a neocon?
And if Biden is another Cheney ready to run US foreign policy for an inexperienced president?
I guess a chance for an honest broker role in the middle east for the US is gone now.
The client did not want anything from Biden. He was one of those people who feel better about themselves if they can say that they know the famous.
Mission accomplished, then. He left with a lot more than a handshake, a grin and some forgettable small talk!
What I find surprising is that your client would think it appropriate to schedule a meeting about nothing with a senator, or anyone else, during a workday. If he were a constituent, then a quick meet and greet would be understandable.
Well, at least the “counseling” wasn’t wall-to-wall.
Which professional politician has run for president twice and is so unappetizing to the public that he has hardly been a blip on the radar screen?
When I heard yesterday that Barack Obama chose Senator Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate, I was compelled to go out for some hot saki, and not to celebrate.
Joe Biden equals “change”? And “hope”?
Mr. Kiracofe deals nicely with that fiction in his comment above.
What did Biden say and how did he vote on the aggressive war against Iraq? How did he vote on providing the most critical ingredient for the foreign wars–money? How did he vote on the AntiPatriot Act and its renewal and amplification? On the Homeland Security Act which established for the first time a secret internal security appratus in this country?
Biden has supported legislation granting sweeping new federal powers, including in the criminal law area and in the vicious bankrupcy bill.
And on and on.
Joe Biden as a “fighter”?
I may again have to be the illegitimate son at a family reunion.
Biden and John McCain have been scratching at least each other’s backs for 20 years. Biden is not going to attack him in any meaningful and substantive way.
Biden and McCain are both “dirty” on issues affecting most Americans: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its World Trade Organization (WTO); the increase in the national debt to around $9 trillion; the bailout of banks, securities firms, and investment banks (money brokers) in the mortgage and securitization racket; the guarantees to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of around $5 trillion more in the mortgage mess; the Telcommunications Act of 1996, that allowed mergers by telephone and broadcast companies which destroyed jobs, medical benefits, and pensions, and lessened competition in news reporting and entertainment; and so on.
Dialogue and less war in the Middle East and Central Asia?
No hope there, as Joe Biden and John McCain (R-Knesset) display not a dime’s worth of difference between them.
If the Colonel’s observations related above are not enough, this little article on an interview of Biden on “Shalom TV” reveals more.
Biden affirmatively says that he is a Zionist. And on the issue of Jonathan Pollard, the spy for Israel who did great damage, Biden gives a politician’s murky answer that there is a rationale for giving Pollard leniency but not pardoning him as he should serve his sentence. Leniency can imply commuting a sentence and leaving the conviction intact, yet Biden says the sentence should be served. At least Biden won’t be president, as long as Obama survives.
The Colonel’s eyewitness testimony also discloses that Biden has his own temperament problem and so he will not attack McCain’s own serious deficiency in that regard.
However, we might not have to worry about Biden as vice-president because yon Hillary has a (somewhat) lean and very hungry look. Will she try to bust Obama out at the Democrat’s convention? Maybe. But she is probably setting herself up for next time.
Meanwhile, as tough as it is, we must keep the faith.
This man was a billionaire whose ego was as big as a senator’s. We got the meeting because of me, not because of him. Ego… Hmmm. pl
I am surprised that a Washington person like you would find it surprising that appointments with congressmen or anyone else in Washington are diffucult to get for those of high net worth or influence. “On a workday?” Surely, you jest. When else would you meet? This was in his Russell building office if I remember correctly.
The staffer and I had agreed to generally discuss the “greater Middle East” but we never really got to that because of Biden’s explosion. pl
I have to agree with both Xerxes and R. Whitman.
Unfortunately, I feel now abut the same as I did when Kerry was running in ’04, Obama is gong to loose. Choosing Hillary might have made a difference.
McSame will win, but by such a small margin that people will finally realize that a Nader vote is really a vote for the REpublican candidtate.
Then we will once again get the president we deserve, but not the one we need. The next few years are just going to get worse & worse.
This country, Democracy, and the American people are finished.
Clifford Kiracofe wrote:
“On Georgia, Biden says … ‘ I left the country convinced that Russia’s invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant event [sic] to occur in Europe since the end of communism. …. The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region.'”
Now Professor do you see what I meant before in that other thread about whether it’s realistic to believe that a much less interventionist, activist U.S. foreign policy is even possible any more?
After all, here, in the wake of what has to rank as about the biggest and most unpopular interventionist foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, is the voice of perhaps the major foreign policy figure in the entire opposition party to the U.S. regime that executed that blunder. … And the voice of the man who with unqualified cheers has now been chosen to the the opposition’s vice-president.
It’s not just the maneuverings of this or that foreign policy elite; it’s the weltanschauung of the entire West now.
Even if we were young men, in our lifetimes at least I think we might have to say a sad farewell to Washington’s Farewell Address.
What will be interesting to watch will be how the D.C. mainstream media types play with the skeletons Biden has in his closet.
D.C. isn’t called the capital of sludge for nothing.
As usual, the Democrats do not have a great short list of candidates. I would have preferred former Virginia Governor Mark Warner. I backed Obama early but never expected him to be anything but a DLC candidate, but one with enough self- control to avoid impairing his presidency by engaging in sexual escapades. But I think Biden gives Obama what he needs: a good attack dog. Obama is, I fear, emotionally unable to express anger. Right now huge numbers of Americans are angry about the economy and the Iraq war. They need a Democratic torch bearer who can tap into that anger.
I am surprised that a Washington person like you would find it surprising that appointments with congressmen or anyone else in Washington are diffucult to get for those of high net worth or influence.
On the contrary, I can definitely understand how a billionaire could easily get an appointment “on a work day!” Probably much easier than an actual constituent. But I didn’t know your client was a billionaire.
My point is that I would never, ever think of scheduling an appointment with anyone as busy as a senator just so I could drop his name in future. Seems like a waste of everyone’s time. It still surprises me that people think this way.
Just because I live in DC doesn’t mean I think like a lot these people. While most would call me naive I prefer the term “pure!”
The big question now is whether or not Biden knew the net worth of your client?
I agree with others that worry about this belicose Biben. It seems the Democrats have found their own answer to Dick Cheney
Ah. You have me. I have long been impure. pl
I have a very hard time following your line of thought in this and on your other posts. Hence, I do not “see” what you meant and mean.
For example, 1) just what do you mean by: “It’s not just the maneuverings of this or that foreign policy elite; it’s the weltanschauung of the entire West now.”?
Biden voted FOR the Iraq war, as you may (or apparently may not) recall as did many interventionist Democrats.
I raised the Biden quotes to put forward data on his positions and not because I agreed with them or endorse them. Let me assure you that I do not agree with them or endorse them.
For those who are interested in the Farewell Address, I can recommend as a point of departure the classic:
Felix Gilbert, To the Farewell Address. Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1961). Excellent bibliographic essay included.
The Farewell Address is conveniently at:
Here is a fine passage:
“So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”
Clifford Kiracofe wrote:
“I have a very hard time following your line of thought in this…. I raised the Biden quotes to put forward data on his positions and not because I agreed with them or endorse them.”
Well since I didn’t say or imply you did and it’s obvious from what you’d written otherwise that you didn’t….
Very informative post, thank you.
A CNN article is related to the idea of Biden as “hatchet man” and it’s fun reading.
Before posting that, I’d like to make a public apology about my comments concerning Col Lang setting up the meeting for his client with Senator Biden. My comments were naive and insulting, and I apologize.
On to some fun reading.
Some people may wonder how I stay optimistic about our country. Well, because what we are seeing today is no different than what we’ve seen before…
Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”
In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”
CNN Article – Founding Fathers’ Dirty Campaign
Col: I may be the only one, but I do not understand your story. Is the point that Biden hates Arabs such much that their mere presence enrages him? And what was your offense: knowingly associating with a non-Zionist Middle Easterner?
The daily show has several clips. Check out Biden on Bolton, worth seeing.