Saturday, June 26, 2004

Joe Biden

Joseph Biden's confrontation with Ashcroft over the administration's apparent views on torture was priceless (I've got the .avi from the Daily Show treatment if anyone with broadband wants me to send 'em a copy). The quotes below from a Rolling Stones round table (pointed out by Kevin Drum) are even better:
Surely the Abu Ghraib prison scandal didn't help. Should Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or other Bush officials resign?
Biden: I was in the Oval Office the other day, and the president asked me what I would do about resignations. I said, "Look, Mr. President, would I keep Rumsfeld? Absolutely not." And I turned to Vice President Cheney, who was there, and I said, "Mr. Vice President, I wouldn't keep you if it weren't constitutionally required." I turned back to the president and said, "Mr. President, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are bright guys, really patriotic, but they've been dead wrong on every major piece of advice they've given you. That's why I'd get rid of them, Mr. President -- not just Abu Ghraib." They said nothing. Just sat like big old bullfrogs on a log and looked at me.

Has the war at least produced a new respect for American military power?
Biden: The perception of us is that if we don't succeed, we're a paper tiger. We can project power, but we don't have staying power. The Bush administration has seriously damaged the legitimate and necessary role of power in our foreign-policy arsenal. What happens if we have another Milosevic? Will there be support for a U.S. president in taking down a genocidal maniac? No.

In the near term, is a change of administrations the best way out of the quagmire?
Biden: About six months ago, the president said to me, "Well, at least I make strong decisions, I lead." I said, "Mr. President, look behind you. Leaders have followers. No one's following. Nobody."

Has he always been this dead-on and I haven't been paying attention? Or is this new stuff?


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