Paul Greenberg
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Whenever the vice president of the United States flies into one of his tirades, some of us feel like sinking to our knees and uttering a fervent prayer for the health of the president of the United States. For his No. 2 man is not just a loose cannon but a whole battery of them.

That this president should have chosen a character like Joe Biden as his running mate was only a foretaste of the kind of judgment Mr. Obama would show in managing the economy. (Foreign policy is a whole other disaster zone these days.)

Barack Obama may be the joker in this pack, but our vice president is the joke. He has proven an inexhaustible treasure of bloopers, but only the rare ones are as revealing as his latest. Unless that buried middle class is revived, and Americans put to work again, far worse is to come.

On that cheery note, let me end with a thank-you to the vice president. Sometimes he pulls back the curtain on this wizard's act, and gives the country a glimpse of what's really happening to it. It ain't pretty, but at least it's the truth -- which is no small service in the hurly-burly of an election year.

"In our time," George Orwell complained in a classic essay about politics and the English language, "political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible." Like this administration's abominable record on the economy, a natural enough consequence of its misconceived remedies, reforms and panaceas galore.

But now and then, good ol' Joe Biden comes along like a clown wandering into the center ring of this circus, and, without meaning to, falls into honesty. As he did on this occasion. Such excursions are all too rare in our telepromptered times. Which makes them all the more welcome.

The Hon. Joseph R. Biden is a kind of relief in the overscripted world of dead political language -- a walking treasure of insights by accident.
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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.