As I watched last night’s vice-presidential debate, I found myself nodding as Biden spoke and saying to myself, “Damn, he sounds good. But will he still sound as good once the fact checkers have their say?”
Naturally, he doesn’t. Biden’s mouth has a nigh-legendary rate of running so far ahead of the facts that it’s often over the horizon and in a new time zone by the time he manages to finish talking. And last night was no exception.
The McCain team, which has shown it can be lightning-quick these days, sent out a list of “JOE BIDEN’S 14 LIES TONIGHT.” I didn’t get a copy, but enough other folks did that I can cut and paste it here — this copy comes from Ace.
1. TAX VOTE: Biden said McCain voted “the exact same way” as Obama to increase taxes on Americans earning just $42,000, but McCain DID NOT VOTE THAT WAY.
2. AHMEDINIJAD MEETING: Joe Biden lied when he said that Barack Obama never said that he would sit down unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran. Barack Obama did say specifically, and Joe Biden attacked him for it.
3. OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING: Biden said, “Drill we must.” But Biden has opposed offshore drilling and even compared offshore drilling to “raping” the Outer Continental Shelf.”
4. TROOP FUNDING: Joe Biden lied when he indicated that John McCain and Barack Obama voted the same way against funding the troops in the field. John McCain opposed a bill that included a timeline, that the President of the United States had already said he would veto regardless of it’s passage.
5. OPPOSING CLEAN COAL: Biden says he’s always been for clean coal, but he just told a voter that he is against clean coal and any new coal plants in America and has a record of voting against clean coal and coal in the U.S. Senate.
6. ALERNATIVE ENERGY VOTES: According to FactCheck.org, Biden is exaggerating and overstating John McCain’s record voting for alternative energy when he says he voted against it 23 times.
7. HEALTH INSURANCE: Biden falsely said McCain will raise taxes on people’s health insurance coverage — they get a tax credit to offset any tax hike. Independent fact checkers have confirmed this attack is false
8. OIL TAXES: Biden falsely said Palin supported a windfall profits tax in Alaska — she reformed the state tax and revenue system, it’s not a windfall profits tax.
9. AFGHANISTAN / GEN. MCKIERNAN COMMENTS: Biden said that top military commander in Iraq said the principles of the surge could not be applied to Afghanistan, but the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Gen. David D. McKiernan said that there were principles of the surge strategy, including working with tribes, that could be applied in Afghanistan.
10. REGULATION: Biden falsely said McCain weakened regulation — he actually called for more regulation on Fannie and Freddie.
11. IRAQ: When Joe Biden lied when he said that John McCain was “dead wrong on Iraq”, because Joe Biden shared the same vote to authorize the war and differed on the surge strategy where they John McCain has been proven right.
12. TAX INCREASES: Biden said Americans earning less than $250,000 wouldn’t see higher taxes, but the Obama-Biden tax plan would raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 or more.
13. BAILOUT: Biden said the economic rescue legislation matches the four principles that Obama laid out, but in reality it doesn’t meet two of the four principles that Obama outlined on Sept. 19, which were that it include an emergency economic stimulus package, and that it be part of “part of a globally coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20.”
14. REAGAN TAX RATES: Biden is wrong in saying that under Obama, Americans won’t pay any more in taxes then they did under Reagan.
Now, several of those are fairly subjective — the “Biden said McCain’s/Obama’s plan would do X, when it would do Y” kind of things. So I’ll ignore those. Instead, let’s look at the ones that are readily verifiable:
#2. Obama is on record as saying he would meet with Iran’s Ahmenijad in his first year, without preconditions. Biden said he never said that. So Biden’s mouth loses.
#3. Biden has been over the top about offshore drilling — up until last night. Biden Bullshit again.
#5. Biden has also been a staunch opponent of ANY more coal power, and my Biden Bullshit Detector went off when he said he had long backed clean coal. Nice to know it’s occasionally right.
#8. Palin’s restructuring of the taxes Alaska imposes on oil companies was NOT a “windfall profits” tax, and to characterize it as such is either stupid or a blindly partisan lie. Of course, in Biden’s case, the two are not mutually exclusive.
#9. Biden simply got it wrong on Afghanistan.
#10. A Biden lie by omission. Yes, McCain has championed deregulation in a lot of areas, but McCain’s efforts to put MORE regulation and oversight on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are thoroughly documented — as are the fierce fight Democrats put up to stop any such moves.
#11. Once again, Biden shows that the more confident he sounds, the less likely he is to be telling the truth. Biden voted AGAINST the first Iraq war, voted FOR the current war (but didn’t really mean it), put forth a plan for partitioning Iraq that united nearly everyone in saying that Biden’s plan was idiotic, and voted AGAINST the surge strategy that McCain championed.
#13: I dunno about this one, but it sounds right — the specifics are too easily checked and disproven. And unlike Biden, I’m willing to give the assemblers of this list a bit of leeway when it comes to giving specific answers.
There. There’s eight confirmed (well, seven confirmed and one highly probable) places where Joe Biden was clearly talking out of his ass.
But in a very convincing, very professional, very confident, very reassuring manner.
I may have to take back my earlier criticism of Biden as Obama’s running mate. They seem pretty well-matched. They both can sound mightily presidential — especially Biden last night, when he seemed to keep forgetting that he’s the junior man on the ticket — but utterly and completely lacking in substance. McCain and Palin have lists of accomplishments that they can point to and say “yeah, the other guys talk a good game, but we’ve actually promised to do stuff and then done it.”
Thanks for the reassurance, Joe. It never hurts to have that.