Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama made a mistake picking Biden

I usually don't write about politics, but I think Obama pick of Joe Biden as a running mate was a mistake. Obama has the chance to make history by picking someone to take his message of change forward, but instead he goes for the old white guy who has been in the Senate for years. He could have picked a woman, a latino, or a war veteran, but we get more of the same old Washington establishment pick.

Having lived through the 80s I also remember the Biden plagiarism scandal, which caused him to drop out the 1988 race for President. Opponents haven't rolled out the plagiarism scandal yet, but it won't take much a Fox News talking head to do a Google search to dig it up.
In 1987, Joe Biden ran as a Democratic presidential candidate, formally declaring his candidacy at the Wilmington train station on June 9, 1987. In his speech, he challenged Americans to step beyond the materialism of the Reagan years. When the campaign began, Biden was considered a potentially strong candidate because of his moderate image, his supposed appeal to Baby Boomers, his fundraising appeal (Biden's $1.7 million raised in the first quarter of 1987 was more than any other candidate, including the then front-runner, Gary Hart), his high profile position as chair of the Senate Judiciary committee during the Robert Bork confirmation hearings, and, perhaps above all, his soaring oratory. Biden often seemed to try to inspire the same hope and idealism associated with 1960s liberals such as Robert Kennedy, especially as related to civil rights. He received considerable attention in the summer of 1986 when he excoriated Secretary of State George Shultz at a Senate Hearing because of the Reagan administration's support of South Africa, which continued to support a system of Apartheid. By August 1987, however, Biden's campaign had already begun to lag behind those of Michael Dukakis and Richard Gephardt.

Then in September 1987, the campaign ran into serious trouble when he was accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, then-leader of the British Labour Party. Though Biden had correctly credited the original author in all speeches but one, the one where he failed to make mention of the originator was caught on video. Within days, it was also discovered that, while a first year law student at Syracuse Law School, Biden had plagiarized a law review article in a class paper he wrote. Though the then-dean of the law school, as well as Biden's former professor, played down the incident of plagiarism, they did find that Biden drew "chunks of heavy legal prose directly from" the article in question. Biden said the act was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and Biden was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F in the course, which was subsequently dropped from his record when he retook the class. Biden also released at the same time the record of his grades as an undergraduate which were C's and D's with the exception of two A's in physical education, one B in a course on English writers and an F in ROTC during his first three semesters. His grades improved later in his undergraduate career but were not exceptional. Further, when questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school Biden had claimed falsely to have graduated in the "top half" of his class, (when he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85) that he had attended on a full scholarship, and had received three degrees. In fact he had received two majors, History and Political Science, and a single B.A., as well as a half scholarship based on financial need.

Faced with these revelations, Biden withdrew from the nomination race on September 23, 1987, saying his candidacy had been overrun by "the exaggerated shadow" of his mistakes. After Biden withdrew from the race it was learned that the Dukakis campaign had secretly made a video showcasing the Biden/Kinnock comparison and distributed it to news outlets. Dukakis fired John Sasso, his campaign manager and long-time Chief of Staff.


Blogger Chameleon Man said...

I totally disagree.

9:46 AM  
Blogger oncee said...

I learned an important lesson today: never moderate comments from an iPhone. It's too ease to accidently click the 'Reject' button when you mean to click the 'Accept' button.

With that said here's Dave's comment that I accidently rejected:

Dave has left a new comment on your post "Obama made a mistake picking Biden":

While Biden is not my first choice, no one is perfect. Clinton/Richardson/Bayh. They all their own host of issues.

Here's how I see it. If Obama was able to get past this Wright nonsense, they can deal with Biden's screwup. Like any election, chances have to be taken.

Don't you think Obama himself is enough to carry the message of 'change'. He's an african-american. That alone is groundbreaking. How much 'change' can you have on a ticket before people get turned off? I'm guessing the O campaign has considered that immensely.

I still think Biden is a good choice.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see this as bad yet, and if it's brought up by McCain I think it'll go away quickly.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Chameleon Man said...

Also, the guy who called him out on his plagiarism says the statute of limitations is up.

7:54 PM  

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