Washington Babylon — August 24, 2008, 8:18 pm

Biden Blatherfest: Read Glenn Greenwald, skip the rest

According to various headlines gathered from RealClearPolitics, Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden to be his VP was either “the Perfect Pick” or “A Good Pick…for Republicans,” not to mention “A Realistic, Not Idealistic Choice” as well as “A Very Personal Decision,” and furthermore “A Reassuring Pick,” or even “Too Safe.” In other words, Biden’s selection means whatever you want it to.

The one must-read article I’ve seen on Obama’s selection of Biden comes from Glenn Greenwald of Salon. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Whether rightly or wrongly, Biden is approved of and deemed to have Seriousness credentials by the political establishment because they perceive that he affirms those central precepts and they see his selection as a sign that Obama will, too. And there is much to suggest that that perception — at least as it applies to Biden — is correct. In an October, 2001 New Republic article, Michael Crowley recounted that Biden was continuously boasting that the terrorism bill sent to Congress by John Ashcroft (soon to be called The Patriot Act) was a replica of legislation that Biden had long advocated — ever since the Oklahoma City courthouse bombing…

Numerous articles are hailing Biden’s steadfast “pro-Israel” record and praising him as a great liberal “internationalist” — someone who believes in the wisdom and justifiability of U.S. military interventions in a wide array of situations. Last night, I spoke with Denver criminal defense attorney and Talk Left blogger Jeralyn Merritt, who said that Biden has long been the leading advocate of the harshest and most aggressive drug criminalization laws and general “anti-crime” measures…

Ever since it became clear that Obama would be the likely nominee, the political establishment has been demanding of him more and more proof that his “change” rhetoric is just that — rhetoric, and not anything meant as a genuine threat to the prevailing order of things. Obama, arguably out of political necessity, has repeatedly obliged, eagerly trying to offer proof that he is no threat to them, and the Biden selection is but the latest step in that campaign of reassurance. In sum, Biden is a reliable supporter of virtually every prevailing bit of conventional wisdom within the American elite political consensus, which is why his selection has been widely praised by the establishment, whose principal concern is that their fiefdom not be disrupted and that their consensus not be challenged. None of this is to say that Biden is a bad pick. Given the other likely choices that had been bandied about, there were far worse possibilities, and few better ones.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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