Jonah Goldberg

Yes, this morning everyone will be talking about last night’s presidential debate. But I can’t get over Thursday’s vice presidential contest. It was the most revealing, and depressing, event of the entire campaign because it showed how irredeemably fraudulent America’s political class is and how superficial the swing voters who will decide this election are.

Going into the debate, the conventional wisdom was that Sarah Palin would be woefully outgunned by Joe Biden. A self-touted foreign policy expert and constitutional law professor, Biden joined the Senate some time after the Cretaceous period but well before bell-bottoms went out of style

As we know, the conventional wisdom was wrong. Palin wasn’t stellar. But she crushed those low expectations, salvaged her political career and turned herself back into an asset for the McCain campaign.

But what about Biden? Overwhelmingly, the professional political class proclaimed that he blew Palin away on “specifics” and “knowledge” and “seriousness.” The New York Times said Biden avoided making any gaffes, “while showing a clear grasp of the big picture and the details.” The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib proclaimed on ABC’s “This Week” that Biden avoided any “verbal excesses or rhetorical flourishes.”

The Associated Press called Biden the “master senator ... rattling off foreign policy details with ease.”

That’s true in a sense. Biden was at ease; he easily rattled off a string of falsehoods and gasbaggeries.

According to the master senator, the U.S. and France “kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon.” Afterward, according to Biden, “I said and Barack said, ‘Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t ... Hezbollah will control it.’” Perhaps Biden meant to say the U.S. and France kicked Syria out of Lebanon. But even this is woefully glib. Syria never fully abandoned Lebanon. And there was no “vacuum” for Hezbollah to fill. The terrorist group was already firmly in control of southern Lebanon and part of the government. No one remembers Biden and Obama fighting for the stupidly impossible NATO move either.

Biden insisted it’s “just simply not true” that Obama has said he’d “sit down with (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad,” even though in the primaries Biden criticized Obama for exactly that.

Biden bragged about how he and Obama have focused on Pakistan, insisting that “Pakistan’s weapons can already hit Israel and the Mediterranean.” Um, no. Their missiles couldn’t get halfway there.

Biden suggested he spearheaded the effort to save “tens of thousands of lives in Bosnia.” He was actually more of a bit player.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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