August 25, 2008

Joe Biden: The "Mr. Show" Candidate

Mickey Kaus points to a 1988 NY Times article by E.J. Dionne on Joe Biden that reads like a transcript from the old "Mr. Show" comedy series, which was a sort of American Monty Python. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross often appeared as characters uncomfortably apologizing for not being totally accurate in their previous statements:

The tape, which was made available by C-SPAN in response to a reporter's request, showed a testy exchange in response to a question about his law school record from a man identified only as ''Frank.'' Mr. Biden looked at his questioner and said: ''I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.''

He then went on to say that he ''went to law school on a full academic scholarship - the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,'' Mr. Biden said. He also said that he ''ended up in the top half'' of his class and won a prize in an international moot court competition. In college, Mr. Biden said in the appearance, he was ''the outstanding student in the political science department'' and ''graduated with three degrees from college.''

In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: ''I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inacurate.''

As for receiving three degrees, Mr. Biden said: ''I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors - I said 'three' and should have said 'two.' '' Mr. Biden received a single B.A. in history and political science.

''With regard to my being the outstanding student in the political science department,'' the statement went on. ''My name was put up for that award by David Ingersoll, who is still at the University of Delaware.''

In the Sunday interview, Mr. Biden said of his claim that he went to school on full academic scholarship: ''My recollection is - and I'd have to confirm this - but I don't recall paying any money to go to law school.'' Newsweek said Mr. Biden had gone to Syracuse ''on half scholarship based on financial need.'' ...

As for the moot court competition, Mr. Biden said he had won such a competition, with a partner, in Kingston, Ontario, on Dec. 12, 1967.

To clear up the remaining issue, we can only hope that "Frank" will now emerge from his 20 years of obscurity to challenge the VP nominee to see who gets the highest score on a free Tickle online IQ test.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

34 comments:

Del said...

Steve, what did you score on the Tickle online IQ test? First time, I only scored 91, but after a lot of hard work I'm up to 130, which is almost as smart as Al Gore.

Anonymous said...

To judge by the way Biden throws around the world "literally" for emphasis without any regard for the word's meaning (he did this eight times in his acceptance speech), he's a bit thick.

Richard h said...

76 out of 85, huh? Combining this knowledge with McCain's 894 our of 899 and things start to clear up.

This is comforting. I alwas wondered if we were ruled by evil geniuses who schemed their way to the top and act like morons but in reality we're just ruled by morons.

halfbreed said...

I sure hope that speech he plagiarized from Neil Kinnock twenty years ago gets a lot of air play. Not only did he plagiarize the speech, he actually claimed to have had a grandfather who worked in the coal mines, which was totally false.

icr said...

Back in the pre-1960's days of uncontested WASP dominance a type of noblesse oblige brought many very talented people into the public sector. This seems a lot less true today.

Also, as has been discussed many times, most first-rate people don't want to subject themselves to the anal probes that are an unavoidable part of running for public office these days. Especially true for a national ticket.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the appeal of Biden. Just listening to the guy he comes across as a typical phoney politico.

He has an unusually low charisma, inability to think on his feet and intellect (or the ability to fake it) given his political success. His success must be due to his ability to work a single-minded base that appreciates uncomplicated politicos in one of the most pro-big biz states in the union.

Finally, what is striking is Biden's ambitions are so clearly beyond his capabilities. To his credit as a somewhat self-aware person, it seems Biden knows this because he betrays himself as an insecure social climber with a big chip on his shoulder far more than others in his position. Nobody likes these kinds of punks in politics, business or personal life.

Is this what the Dem coastal elites think will appeal to the bible and gun totin' flyover white devils? Do they think Biden will pull in the Hillary vote for Obama just because he's fundamentally a prole like them? If so, they are both sadly delusional in their contemptuous and narcissistic misinterpretations.

KS

Zylo said...

"Back in the pre-1960's days of uncontested WASP dominance a type of noblesse oblige brought many very talented people into the public sector. This seems a lot less true today."

ICR, interesting point. Do you have any evidence to support that statement? I have often wondered along similar lines, but I have no idea if it is really true. I somtimes think of how corrupt the Irish were. Was the rest of the country really ruled by men of talent or were they the same slime-ball weasels we have today? My guess is that when the voting flood gates were expanded to include all white men, blacks and women that the denominator was lowered. With each passing year, it continues to fall.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

So we will increasingly be nominating people who like anal probes?

siren song of tokyo rose said...

"To judge by the way Biden throws around the world "literally" for emphasis without any regard for the word's meaning (he did this eight times in his acceptance speech), he's a bit thick."


Whip me, beat me, call me Atlas?????????

RKU said...

Well, I've never been terribly impressed with Saint Barack's intellect, but I think he's now picked a VP that makes him look like Richard Feynman by comparison...

Anonymous said...

To judge by the way Biden throws around the world "literally" for emphasis without any regard for the word's meaning (he did this eight times in his acceptance speech), he's a bit thick.

Another opportunity for Mr. Show commentary, well half of Mr. Show,.David Cross had a nice bit on one of his comedy albums airing his aggravation about the "literally" usage trend. Listen here

Hey Steve, surprised you likened Mr. Show to Monty Python and didn't go your extra step of taking a dig at it for being the White People's Monthy Python. This is the show that basically spawned alot of the SWPL fav comics like Sarah Silverman.

When you cut out the PC shibboleths, some of the SWPL is really great. Come on, can't we stop with the sneers and give the white man a break once in a while?

beowulf said...

What a crazy thing to lie about.
There's not a valedictorian, poli science honor student or Mensa member alive who has achieved what Biden has---get elected to the US Senate at the age of 29. I believe only Henry Clay and Rush Holt Sr. (father of the current NJ Congressman) were younger.

Since US Senator looks better on the 'ol resume than any academic record, why not just make light of being a slacker?

albertosaurus said...

Jimmy Carter's campaign in 1976 claimed that he had been a nuclear physicist. That was of course nonsense. His staff revised it quickly to claim that he had been a nuclear engineer. To this day many people have believe this wild claim.

Carter was at Annapolis too early for the nuclear curricula. He trained and then served on conventional diesel submarines.

The commander of a submarine doesn't personally "drive" the sub. He commands those who do.

The main driver of the sub is called the ship's engineer, much as the man who drives a locomotive is called the train's engineer.

Carter was the sub's engineer. He supervised the crew who started, stopped, and steered the sub.

He realized that his experience in diesel subs wasn't sufficient for a career in the coming nuclear sub fleet. So he went back to school. He enrolled in a night class at a local junior college in a survey class on nuclear technology for liberal arts undergraduates. It is not clear if he completed the one class he began.

On the strength of that one class he requested transfer to a nuclear sub. He got it and he served for a short time as the ship's engineer on that nuclear sub. He thereafter resigned his commision and went into politics.

Millions today still believe that Carter was a nuclear engineer in the sense that he was qualified to design and build a nuclear reactor. He exploited the confusion over the two meanings for the term "engineer" to add some techno cachet to his resume.

Biden, of course, knew about all this as well as many other examples of politicians lying about their resumes. Unlike in the private sector where a resume lie can get you fired and disgraced, in public life he learned that lying was excused and accepted.

bad imitation said...

I scored 149 my first time on the tickle test, and I am f****** dumb. Finished 398th out of 505 in my law school class (a much better predictor of success, by the way).

Takahata Joe said...

Jeez, at least McCain openly admitted to being a moron (894 out of 899).

Anonymous said...

Percentage-wise, very few people are capable of lying to this degree. This is not normal lying. Normal lying is misrepresenting your credentials to get your foot in the company door; impress an attractive woman at a bar; outdo your lying friends in a drunken bullshit session; spare the feelings of another; hide your own shame. But here, Biden was doing none of those things. Here, Biden lied to demean a citizen who'd asked a legitimate question, bask in achievements he did not earn, claim credentials he did not possess, slam shut the book on a chapter of his life that he'd written with lies.

To Joe Biden, being a senator is a license to lie to the public, intimidate skeptics, silence criticism. He doesn't serve, he rules. If there was even an ounce of integrity in American politics, this little episode would've spelled the end to Joe Biden's political career. That it hasn't -- that he has continued to be reelected, viewed as presidential material, and now selected to run for vice-president -- tells you everything you need to know about where this country is headed.

I wouldn't allow someone that dishonest to clean my home, let alone lead my country. With a scoundrel for a father you would've thought that Barrack Obama might've picked someone with a touch of integrity. That he didn't suggests that either integrity doesn't matter much to him, or that America's political cupboard was fresh out of it.

Big Wave Dave

Anonymous said...

Speaking of school days,school days,good old golden rule days,Harpers magazine has a story,which I almost read all the way thru,about a Kaplan guy who goes to --in this case--low rent NY schools with lots of "scarey" minorities,to teach them how to decode the SAT. The school,Washington High,boasts Alan Greenspan and Henry Kissinger among its graduates.(Greenspan is of course the former Fed chairman whose awesome rep has been tarnished a bit,but who cares? Dude goes home every night to Andrea Mitchell!! Tha's what I'm talkin' bout! Anyway...) Its funny how a guy like Greenspan,who oddly, is reluctant to come back and be feted by the current Dominican-dominated school,maniacally supports mass immigration from 3rd world nations,for purposes of keeping wages low,yet doesnt seem interested in getting to know the children of those precious immigrants! Re Biden,I didnt know he has a son in the Nat Guard,the attorney general of Delaware,who is said to be going to Iraq. Interesting.I wonder if dear Joe Lieberman has any kids packing their duffel bags?? It seems like a real good choice for Barry,a respected white guy who tho he supported Iraq,changed his mind,and will give some gravitas to the O man,as long as Biden doesnt make up any more stuff...

Rain And said...

I think this will make an excellent campaign slogan:

Clinging to guns? Religion?

Barack/Biden 2008
'We have a much higher IQ than you!'

And all their policies will likewise hew strictly to the importance and relevance of IQ, I'm sure.

icr said...

ICR, interesting point. Do you have any evidence to support that statement?

The major members of the Eisenhower cabinet all seemed to have`pretty impressive backgrounds-along with Ike himself. Also check out the CV of the founding fathers of the CIA.: Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Tracy Barnes, and Desmond FitzGerald.

Not that I think that the Guatemalan or Iranian coups were good ideas, but that's another set of issues.

anony-mouse said...

So Steve, why don't you have that tickle test on your website? Or Amazon clik-thrus for books you like? Or any ads whatsoever?

halfbreed said...

One of the telltale differences between sociopaths and nonsociopaths is that sociopaths lie when they don't have to, for self-glorification, whereas most of us generally only lie when we
"have to", i.e., when our wives ask us if we've had an affair, or somesuch. Such people, who are often called "pathological liars", are almost always sociopaths. For Biden to make up all that stuff about his class standing and degrees, on top of that stuff about his grandfather the coal miner, is more than a little disturbing.

C. Van Carter said...

Last October Biden explained why Iowa schools are better than the those in DC:

"There's less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than four of five percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with."

He later apologized, of course, and he's now being attacked by the various idiots on 'the right' for this 'racist gaffe'.

Svigor said...

Dude, Andrea Mitchell looks like a man.

On the other hand, Alan Greenspan looks like an alien...

Svigor said...

Halfbreed, since I'm going with the "when in doubt, deny your enemy what he RREEEAAAAALLLY seems to want" strategy vis-a-vis McCain/Obama, I'm not seeing Biden's weaknesses as disturbing right now.

Middle America is gonna eat this stuff up. I wonder if Biden's gonna campaign sporting his consigliere look (pinstripe suit & slicked back hair).

Rain And said...

Just because Tickle calls itself an "IQ test" does not make it an IQ test, any more than calling a crossword puzzle an "IQ test" makes it an IQ test.

It isn't standardized or validated like an IQ test, and no psychometrician would accept results from it.

Toadal said...

Since we're on the topic of Senator Biden and the convention, today the San Francisco Chronicle, in yet another of its celebrations of diversity, printed the sexual orientation and demographic makeup of Democratic National Convention delegates. The convention offers an opportunity to the party elite to present its members to their fellow Americans. Needless to say, the blond, blue eyed, fatherly, Joe Biden would be hard to miss while working the convention floor.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/25/MNA312GGKE.DTL&hw=Joe+Garofoli&sn=004&sc=368

The Chron article omitted the delegates gender makeup and the multiple web searches I made came up empty, so I had to use a guestimate proxy for heterosexual white males. I did some simple calculations on the numbers provided and humbly offer the results to you.

Democratic National Convention Delegates
Demographics
Latino/Hispanic : 25.9 %
African American: 17.2 %
Asian Pacific Islander: 8.6 %
Native American: 2.7 %
LGBT (Gay, Lesbian): 11.3 %
================================
Total 65.7 %

Hispanic and Black: 43.1 %
Non-Hispanic white heterosexuals 34.3 %

Today's Democratic party truly could be a marriage of social progressives since Blacks and Hispanic delegates outnumber non-Hispanic white heterosexual delegates by over 25%.

Non Hispanic heterosexual white females: My guestimate 23.0 %
Non Hispanic heterosexual white males: My guestimate 10.3 %

Toadal said...

Since non Hispanic heterosexual whites are 34.3 % of the total, a correction is necessary:
Non Hispanic heterosexual white females: My guestimate 23.0 %
Non Hispanic heterosexual white males: My guestimate 11.3 %


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Cornelius said...

This is not normal lying. Normal lying is misrepresenting your credentials to get your foot in the company door...Here, Biden lied to demean a citizen who'd asked a legitimate question... - Big Wave Dave

Dave - brilliant, brilliant, brilliant post. Thank you.


Back in the pre-1960's days of uncontested WASP dominance a type of noblesse oblige brought many very talented people into the public sector. This seems a lot less true today.

Ummm - we still have that here in Utah. We have Senator Bob Bennett, son of Senator Wallace Bennett and gransdon of Mormon "Prophet" Heber J Grant; Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., son of billionaire Jon Huntsman, Sr, and grandson of Mormon Apostle David B Haight; Jim Matheson, son of late Governor Scott Matheson; HHS Secretary and former Governor Mike Leavitt; and the defenestrated Rep. Chris Cannon, descendant of various politicians and Mormon church leaders.

Lots of "uncontested" WASP-y elites, and believe me: they all suck rocks. Open borders multicultis and Iraq War enthusiasts to a T.

Other states have/had elites (WASP or not) with names like Kennedy, Dayton, Pelosi, Kohl, etc. They all mostly suck rocks, too.

Greenspan is of course the former Fed chairman whose awesome rep has been tarnished a bit,but who cares? Dude goes home every night to Andrea Mitchell!! Tha's what I'm talkin' bout! Anyway...)

You mean Andrea Mitchell, the shriveled up little shrew of a Teevee script reader? This Andrea Mitchell?

I'll grant you that Alan Greenspan is old, but he easily coulda used his celebrity to snag some perky bunned young economics nerd.

The major members of the Eisenhower cabinet all seemed to have`pretty impressive backgrounds-along with Ike himself. Also check out the CV of the founding fathers of the CIA.: Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Tracy Barnes, and Desmond FitzGerald. - ICR

Nice, but are we talking about elite WASP appointees or congresscritters? The two are frequently of an entirely different species.

Just because Tickle calls itself an "IQ test" does not make it an IQ test, any more than calling a crossword puzzle an "IQ test" makes it an IQ test.

Whether or not the Tickle IQ test qualifies as a valid measure of IQ or not is irrelevant. A smarter person will score higher on the Tickle test than a dumber person, and that's all that's needed.

Now where is Fred?

Needless to say, the blond, blue eyed, fatherly, Joe Biden would be hard to miss while working the convention floor.

You might find a few who look like Biden, but they'd be apt to grab your ass.

CJ said...

I want to second Halfbreed'spoint that when Biden plagiarized Neil Kinnock's speech, he also "borrowed" Kinnock's biography, falsely claiming that he, Biden, was the descendant of coal miners. That one is way way out there. Think about how weird you'd have to be to say something like that in a public forum while running for president. This is another time bomb psycho who is going to embarrass the Democrats.

icr said...

Nice, but are we talking about elite WASP appointees or congresscritters? The two are frequently of an entirely different species.

It woild a lot of googling to dig up info on all those CC's, but,off the top of my head, I can think of three accomplished men who probably had more genuine "gravitas" than anyone in the Senate today: Richard Russell (GA),and Paul Douglas(IL)and Robert A Taft.

Anonymous said...

It woild a lot of googling to dig up info on all those CC's, but,off the top of my head, I can think of three accomplished men who probably had more genuine "gravitas" than anyone in the Senate today: Richard Russell (GA),and Paul Douglas(IL)and Robert A Taft.

But those guys existed in a time when race realism was openly allowed. Today it's snuffed out immediately wherever it crops up. This is especially true in the case of Russell, who almost singlehandedly fended off laws like the Civil Rights Act for decades. (Robert Caro's "Master of the Senate" - a biography of Lyndon Johnson - also has a lot of good information on Russell).

Ronduck said...

This Barack/Biden team reminds me of JFK/LBJ. JFK's election was a powerful symbol not of Catholics assimilating and electing an Irish Protestant, but of them taking over as an unassimilated group. The failure of the WASP's to either reproduce in adequate numbers, retain the will to power or to field a candidate America would elect doomed their control of America. And now it is the WASP's who have assimilated to Irish liberalism in the NE, where they also vote for people like Ted Kennedy.

Just like in 1960 the up and coming group has chosen a member of the soon to be dispossessed group to be the second in command, vividly showing showing the new subservience required to be accepted.

If America is still around in the year 2100 will the Democratic Party run a Hindu for president with a Hispanic vice president?

I hate to say this as an American, but I hope America ceases to exist before then.

none of the above said...

The remaining WASP old-boy networks (like the one that put W into the white house) aren't exactly looking like bastions of competence. In fact, the really impressive parts of the US are the high-tech sector, which is made up of whites, East and South Asians, and a few random blacks, hispanics, etc. who can make the cut in a really demanding field.

Institutions and incentives are really important, and this is something people forget all the time. WASP old-boy networks are fundamentally the same kind of thing as racial hires and affirmative action--they ensure that less qualified WASPs get the jobs instead of more-qualified others. To the extent that these institutions at least maintained vigorous competition among the WASPs, and those WASPs made up a pool of considerable talent, this could work okay. But all else equal, you're always going to win, in terms of performance, by drawing from a wider talent pool.

Anonymous said...

I can think of three accomplished men who probably had more genuine "gravitas" than anyone in the Senate today: Richard Russell (GA),and Paul Douglas(IL)and Robert A Taft.... But those guys existed in a time when race realism was openly allowed. Today it's snuffed out immediately wherever it crops up.

*****

Paul Douglas, for all his gravitas, was one of those self-flagellating WASPs responsible for enacting "civil rights".

J. William Fulbright (D-AR) - a rarity who understood the consequences of both Vietnam and "civil rights" - would be a much better choice. See especially his "The Arrogance of Power". Of course, AIPAC eventually did him in - for the mortal sin of being "consistently unkind to Israel and our supporters in this country".

P.S. My computer isn't allowing me to use HTML tags. Thanks, Mr. Gates.