Joe the Muzzled


Just look at how they're muzzling the vice presidential candidate! No, not Sarah Palin:

OCALA, Fla., Oct. 28 Joe Biden spoke to supporters here for 14 minutes and 25 seconds Tuesday morning—and that's big news.

Until he became Barack Obama's running mate in August, Biden could take that long just to say "good morning"; now the Democratic senator from Delaware has to give his entire stump speech in that span. On Capitol Hill he used to speak endlessly on any subject to anybody who asked for his view (and many who did not); now he has to read his words carefully from a teleprompter, squinting into the bright sunlight to avoid missing a syllable of the text that had been written for him by his Obama handlers.

The muzzling of Biden seems unnatural and inhumane, like taking a proud lion into captivity. Biden, who once scolded Sarah Palin for ducking reporters, hasn't given a news conference since Sept. 7. The king of the rhetorical jungle hasn't taken questions from voters in a town hall forum since Sept. 10, when he famously said that Hillary Clinton is "more qualified than I am to be vice president" and "might have been a better pick than me." He doesn't even do much chitchat with supporters at events since he was caught on tape on one such occasion contradicting Obama's energy policy.

Now even Palin takes questions from reporters on her campaign plane. But the wordiest man in Washington has to make his remarks short, sweet and canned.

More from the Washington Post's Dana Milbank here.

Smart tactics, I am sure, but it also back-handedly illustrates a woefully underreported truism of this election: The Democratic vice presidential candidate is not only a foot-eating clown, he's also about as unpresidential as they get. Unless you want in a chief executive someone who invented the office of Drug Czar, converted batshit anti-rave hysteria into freedom-mangling legislation, bragged about being a PATRIOT Actor from before it was cool, attacked Clarence Thomas as being disqualifyingly libertarian, is a liberal hawk's liberal hawk, and just cannot shut his Botoxed yapper for one second about all the Scranton lunchbuckets he's never "worked a line" with.

John McCain is getting crucified for his pick of Sarah Palin, and perhaps rightfully so, but how Barack Obama gets a simultaneous pass on Joe Biden–meaning, the subject just does not come up–is beyond me. 

David Weigel on the Delaware Destroyer here.