Paul Greenberg

Sarah Palin may not know all there is to know about foreign affairs, but at least she knows what she doesn't know.

Senator Biden is a common enough type in American life - someone who strikes the uninformed as well informed. What a poseur. And he gets away with it. He's routinely described in press reports as "knowledgeable." With knowledge like that, you don't need ignorance.

On balance, I prefer the plagiarizing Joe Biden who, back in the '80s, would on occasion borrow the dramatic life story of some British lord and present it as his own. At least he was caught out back then.

The moral of the story: Be on guard every time Joe Biden starts a sentence with "The fact of the matter is..." Because the odds are it isn't.

And this is the Seasoned Veteran of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who's going to guide Barack Obama through the intricacies of world affairs. Good Lord. Spare us.

Lest we forget, this is the same Joe Biden who opposed Ronald Reagan's policies that ended not only the Cold War but the Soviet Union and the nuclear arms race with it. He opposed the first President Bush's successful war to liberate Kuwait, but supported George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq - until things grew bleak, when he was ready to give up. At that point he proposed vivisecting Iraq into three different countries - as if Sunni and Shi'a could so easily be separated in a country they've shared for centuries. It was a cockamamie idea that might have resulted in the greatest wave of human suffering since India was partitioned in 1947.

Senator Biden (and his running mate) then proceeded to oppose the Surge, the successful strategy that John McCain had been urging for some time, and that now has turned the war in Iraq completely around. Not that Joe Biden is prepared to admit how wrong he was about Iraq. And is.

But he's still capable of surprising me. Before the vice-presidential debate, I thought I couldn't possibly think any less of him.

All of which brings me to one Owen Lippert, a senior staff member of Canada's governing Conservative Party. Or rather he was until the other day, when it was discovered that, in writing a speech a few years back for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he'd plagiarized one given by Australia's then prime minister, John Howard. Whereupon he had the decency to resign.

Poor Mr. Lippert. It doesn't seem fair. If only he'd been an American, he might have been nominated for vice president of the United States by now.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.