Biden, Obama and the Politics of Personal Destruction


Thursday the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger published a column called “Obama and the L-word.” In it he described with disgust and dismay the way the Obama administration has been playing fast and loose with the term “liar” to describe Mitt Romney since Romney trounced Obama in last week’s presidential debate.

Henninger noted that the use of the term cheapens and coarsens the political discourse in the US in a manner that is unprecedented in US politics. He also noted rightly that this is not part of the American political tradition. It is of a piece with the propaganda of totalitarian regimes.

As he explained:

The Obama campaign’s resurrection of “liar” as a political tool is odious because it has such a repellent pedigree. It dates to the sleazy world of fascist and totalitarian propaganda in the 1930s. It was part of the milieu of stooges, show trials and dupes. These were people willing to say anything to defeat their opposition. Denouncing people as liars was at the center of it. The idea was never to elevate political debate but to debauch it.

The purpose of calling someone a liar then was not merely to refute their ideas or arguments. It was to nullify them, to eliminate them from participation in politics. That’s what is so unsettling about a David Axelrod or David Plouffe following accusations of dishonesty and lies with “whether that person should sit in the Oval Office.” And that is followed by President Obama himself feeding the new line in stump speeches without himself ever using the L-word.

This Obama campaign is saying, “We don’t want to compete with Mitt Romney. We want to obliterate him.”

Henninger ended his column by wondering how the Obama campaign’s post-presidential debate employment of this tactic against Romney would impact Biden’s debate performance.

And last night we got the answer. Throughout the debate, Biden treated Rep. Paul Ryan with contempt. He never responded to any of Ryan’s reasoned, substantive criticisms of Obama’s policies. He simply called him a liar, repeatedly. With no justification. He sneered. He guffawed. And he maligned Ryan for 90 minutes.

I watched the debate on Fox News. I suppose the commentators hadn’t read Henninger’s article. They were all expressing shock at Biden’s nastiness. They didn’t seem to recognize that it is part of the Obama campaign’s strategy.

Another aspect of this that both Henninger and the Fox commentators were too gentle to mention outright – although Henninger nearly did — is that the politics of personal destruction are based on projection. The side doing it is accusing their opponents of doing precisely what they are doing.

In last night’s debate, Biden lied, flat out lied, repeatedly. He lied about what the military thinks of the sequestration policy of gutting military budgets. He lied about what the intelligence community said about the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. He lied about how Medicare is impacted by Obamacare.

And that’s just off the top of my head.

A word about those lies. At least in the case of the Benghazi lie, Biden’s actions show how lies are part and parcel of how the Obama administration does its business on a daily basis.

The only basis for the claim that US intelligence said the attack on the consulate wasn’t a terror attack but a response to that stupid, irrelevant anti-Islam film on YouTube was a statement by James Clapper, Obama’s appointed Director of National Intelligence.

It must be said, Clapper is not a credible source.

Clapper has abused his office repeatedly to politicize intelligence and facts in order to advance the appeasement-of-Islamic-terrorists agenda of the president he serves.

This came across most brazenly during the uprising against longtime US ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. On Feb 10, 2011, the day before the Obama administration forced Hosni Mubarak to resign from the Egyptian presidency, Clapper appeared before the House Select Committee on Intelligence and told the Congressmen that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “largely secular” movement.

In his words, “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends, betterment of the political order in Egypt, etc.”

This was a complete lie and anyone with even a modicum of awareness about the Brotherhood – even without the benefit of classified information – knows that it is a lie. He should have been fired for saying such nonsense because it isn’t just wrong, it is dangerous, as we see today with the Muslim Brotherhood in charge in Egypt.

But this is par for the course for Obama appointees. And it shows the depths to which its officials will sink in order to push the President’s agenda.

Lies are not simply a campaigning tactic or strategy. They are the heart of how this administration does business.

Steven Hayes on Fox made the important point that in the space of just a couple of minutes Biden said US intelligence misled the administration on Libya and could be totally trusted to get Iran’s nuclear capabilities just right.

Do you feel safe with that assessment?

I was dismayed that Ryan didn’t just come out and attack Biden for doing what he was doing. But he was in a tight spot. Martha Raddatz, the moderator was there playing interference for Biden the whole time. Every time Ryan started making a point, she’d interrupt him and change the subject.

Aside from that I felt the age disparity worked in Biden’s favor because Ryan was obviously  trying to be deferential to his elder who clearly did not deserve any deference from him. Ryan was playing by the old rule book, treating his opponent with respect. Biden was playing by the Obama rulebook and treated his opponent with contempt as a means of destroying him personally.

Commentators all say that Ryan held his own. And that’s true and good for him, as far as that goes. But that isn’t the point.

The point is that Romney has been warned by Biden and the campaign. He needs to stay on offense. And that doesn’t just mean to defend his positions or call Obama on the failure of his policies. It means he needs to confront Obama on what he is doing in his campaign and refuse to pretend that this is business as usual.

The ugliness we saw last night is just a foretaste of what will come in the next three weeks and Romney better be ready.

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    Excellent article, Caroline. I watched the debate last night and Biden came off as a repulsive boor. You certainly wouldn't want that leering jackass at your dinner table. I can't believe that any undecided voter wouldfavour such a crude personage as the leader of the USA.

    Your points about Clapper and the Muslim Brotherhood are dead on as well.Please keep up the good work and may we all be delivered from this regime very soon.

  • edw

    in a few days, several editors and people will be in possession of a 9 minute movie in which obama admits he is a muslim "i am one of them". this is why he is so lax defending americans, including ambassador stevens and others. all americans need to see this movie before the election. please, I can only hope at least one editor will air "obama admits he is a muslim" thank you. ed

    • Bert just published up close photos of the gold ring that Obama has worn on his ring finger from when he was a student. The photos show an inscription which turned out to be written in Arabic. It says, "There is no god but Allah." Fellow students questioned why he wore a gold ring on his ring finger in college while unmarried. Obama was evasive. Even today no one would usually think to look closely at his ring. Because a president is photographed so often it happened that someone noticed some kind of design on the ring. Upon closer inspection it turns out to declare his loyalty to Islam. I can only hope that this story and the photo will go viral and soon.

  • BLJ

    Biden is an ass. Obama is worse.

    • Sunshine gal

      Yes Biden is an a$$ but Obama is most certainly a HOLE!

  • PaulRevereNow

    Biden likes to talk about what generous, giving people liberals are. Well, in 2008, on an income of $215,000, Biden gave $195 cash and a piece of furniture worth about $400 to charity. That's it–about 1/4 of 1 percent of his income. Paul Ryan, on the other hand, on an income of about $203,000 last year, gave about $6.000 to charity, about 3 percent of his income. As for Biden's demeanor, you could find a bum at the local rescue mission; give him a shave and a shower, and a new suit, and after a bit of tutoring, he'd do a better job as VP than Joe B.

  • VLParker

    I didn't see the debate, mainly because I'd rather watch paint dry than listen to people who lie for a living. Besides, if you want to know how a politician is going to vote on issues in the future all you have to do is look at his or her past record. Debates are a waste of time.

    That being said, it doesn't surprise me to hear that Biden was rude. The left has been in the political gutter for as far back as I can remember. Reagan was stupid, Bush 41 was a wimp (I'm not quite sure how being the youngest Navy pilot in WWII, getting shot out of the sky and having to bail out into the ocean qualifies you as a wimp but I'm sure it is perfectly logical to the left) and then again for W they brought out the stupid moniker. The left can rarely win arguments on their merits which means all they have left is lies and name calling. Let them continue to do it. It just makes them look bitter and angry and hurts their own cause.

  • Atikva

    Either Mr. Biden was high on something last night, or he deliberately chose to behave like a nasty teenage brat. Either way, he made a mistake.

    To be sure, no one expected him to be brilliant, but he could at least have been polite. Where did he get the idea that arrogance and rudeness would convince undecided voters to choose 4 more years of Obama ?

    • Maxie

      Three of my liberal acquaintances thought Biden was really clever. And these are all elderly, college-educated citizens. Conservatives consistently fail to understand the liberal animal: They run on emotion, not reason. They carry a mental image of conservatives as selish dumbell's (pure projection) and themselves as noble, caring and virtuous (wishful thinking). When they are confronted with such grim facts as the genocidal slaughters (100 million killed) of socialist regimes (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, et. al.) they disavow any ideological connection with their collectivist brethren. When you think of a liberal just picture an conceited Alfred E. Neuman and you'll be pretty close to the real thing.

    • Maxie

      Three of my liberal acquaintances thought Biden was really clever. And these are all elderly, college-educated citizens. Conservatives consistently fail to understand the liberal animal: They run on emotion, not reason. They carry a mental image of conservatives as $elish dumbe!!'$ (pure projection) and themselves as noble, caring and virtuous (wishful thinking). When they are confronted with such grim facts as the gen0cid@l Slaughters (1oo million ki!!ed) of $ociali$t regimes ($talin, Ma0, P0l P0t, et. al.) they disavow any ideological connection with their collectivist brethren. When you think of a liberal just picture an conceited Alfred E. Neuman and you'll be pretty close to the real thing.

      • Gislef

        It takes no cleverness to be rude. Courtesy costs nothing, but it's more than the Obama administration can afford.

      • Western Spirit

        Good one–Alfred E. Neuman is a perfect depiction of these people. Their delusional outlook is what's really stupid and their "unselfishness" is with other peoples money, with tax money, whereby they can show they really really care and lavish goodies on those in need in contrast with those 'selfish dummy's' on whom they are projecting their own faults.

        Like I said their delusional out look is what's really stupid, their self awareness is nil and Alfred E. Neuman shows what they really really look like.

      • Jim_C

        Re: emotionalism–how else to explain the reaction to Biden's mannerisms? We all know he's an emotionally demonstrative guy. Are we shocked, then, at how he handled wet-behind-the-ears Ryan? By the way, Ryan's a big boy, and he took it well.

        The knock on Obama 4 years ago was his lack of experience. I like Paul Ryan–I think you guys have a winner, there–but his lack of experience and carefully rehearsed indictments of the Obama Administration were expertly deconstructed by a guy who understands Congress, and who was able to Socratically pull apart each Ryan accusation to get at the Republican congress's obstructionism and show the double standards on which Ryan's accusations were based.

        In any case, the American people win, because it was a debate of substance–which most presidential debates, so carefully calibrated, never are. This was much like Lieberman vs Cheney in 2000–another substantive debate.

  • michaelgallen

    Why is anyone shocked?

    Obama was trained in the Saul Alinsky school of community activism – the Chicago radical published the rules for radical which can be found on the internet.

    What Biden & Obama are doing now is:

    RULE 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

  • Rifleman

    Biden's performance pleases the base, which includes most of the msm, but it will hurt them with independents, which is where this race will be decided. They seem to be overcompensating, and that's a good thing.

    • Sunshine gal

      Yes it did help with one independent I know. NOW she says she is terrified obama will win and pass away and Biden will become prez. YIKES..scary thought indeed.

    • Jim_C

      Not really. At the end of the day, what Biden did was remind people that Obama came into office with an unenviable basket of crises, and the GOP congress, from day one, determined to obstruct him. Reminding people that Republican policies enabled the financial meltdown and that they did nothing* to help the country in four years ain't a bad tack to take.

      *You may argue Ryan's budget was a proactive step–but it was the only proactive step from the GOP in 4 years.

      • Western Canadian

        Really, you should know better to post such blatant rubbish on this board: We know better than to believe it. Carter left RR a total disaster, but RR knew what to do and what not to do. Obama knowing nothing would be an improvement over his current state: knowing and believing every falsehood he has ever been fed. And the Reps were not in a position to block anything obama wanted….. Until mid-term.

        • Jim_C

          Reagan certainly knew how to borrow money, didn't he, and encouraged all of us to do the same. That's what his "growth" was all about. He left his vice-president to clean up after the inevitable recession, and Mr. Bush paid for it by being a one-term president.

          (That said, there were some things I admired about Reagan).

          What I wish Barack had done was spend MORE money on stimulus–but by buying gods and services from the private sector. Politically, had he done so, the anti-incumbent backlash that always happens might have been more severe. Instead he took on health care and succeeded where no president had in 30 years of talking about it.

  • White Hunter

    What needs to be understood is that this is not an "administration" in any conventional, recognizable sense. It is an organized crime syndicate–a "racketeering enterprise" that from the beginning has engaged in "a pattern of racketeering" as defined in the RICO statute. Its objectives are ideological, political, and financial: the weakening and destruction of the U.S. as a strong, prosperous, and (relatively) free constitutional republic; the utter elimination of all political and social dissent (i.e. the establishment of a totalitarian state); and the enrichment of the syndicate's members and friends by destroying our market economy and looting the fisc. [continued next]

  • White Hunter

    [continued from above]

    We have by far the most dangerously corrupt Justice Department and attorney general ever; the first president who arguable hates America and consciously seeks to humiliate and undermine our friends while strengthening and emboldening our enemies; a secretry of state who makes Madeline Albright look like a veritable Metternich or Kissinger in comparison; a secretary of energy who wants gasoline to sell for $10 a gallon; a vice president whose mental stability is questionable; and an overall tone of discourse that, under the guise of "celebrating diversity" rather than strengthening national unity has succeeded in balkanizing us into a Bosnia-style territory of warring tribes bitterly divided against one another by race, class, national origin, religion, political affiliation, and gender that until now was unknown here, and unimaginable just a few years ago. Congratulations, Barack Hussein Obama: in just 4 years you and your fellow Alinskyites have undermined and destroyed what it took American patriots more than 2 centuries to build.

  • cfkerchner

    Can it all be Coincidence? Shocking Secrets & Verifiable Facts about Barack Obama MSM Refuses to Report:

  • jake

    what i don't understand is after all the rot that is exposed in the white house how come these characters have not been charged with treason and kicked out of office and locked up for life. They swore to defend the constitution but instead are raping it. Is that not a treasonist act? Nixon wasn't guilty of 1% of the stuff obama and crowd have done.

    • Maxie

      "what i don't understand is after all the rot that is exposed in the white house how come these characters have not been charged with treason and kicked out of office and locked up for life."

      Because it requires a motivated opposition party to take action. We don't have such a party.

    • Jim_C

      Because most of the people in charge of those things are relatively intelligent grown ups and understand that words like "treason" and "defending the constitution" have actual meaning outside "Waaaaah! I don't like the Pwesident!"

      Nixon WAS guilty. Now, it's on you to prove the Obama crowd is also guilty, or else shut up, you big baby.

      • jake

        proof is in eating the pudding. just examine the last 4 years . does the constitution allow 40 socilists czars, bowing to the jihadists, ruling from the oval office, etc, etc, etc.????????????

        • Jim_C

          Did it allow it when Republican presidents did same?

          Seriously, I get sick of these "charges" which are really nothing more than a person blowing off steam but trying to sound important while doing so. Either find a prosecutor and bring charges, or just say "Waaah! I don't like the president."

  • Schlomotion

    This article should be held up beside Mr. Ibrahim's article. Mr. Ibrahim is stridently trying to erase the word "hoax" from the list of permissible discourse words, and Ms. Glick is trying to ban the word "liar," because only a fascist would call Mitt Romney a liar. What silliness. We have here Likud's weekly assessment of "words that work" which need to be taken out of circulation. This is no surprise though, because in the past, Ms. Glick has said that the word "neocon" should not be used because it really means "Jew."

    • BS77

      Do not respond to Schlovermin……it is useless. HE is a degenerate, obsessed with his own delusions.

      • PaulRevereNow

        I won't if you won't.

  • Raymond in DC

    "Steven Hayes on Fox made the important point that in the space of just a couple of minutes Biden said US intelligence misled the administration on Libya and could be totally trusted to get Iran’s nuclear capabilities just right."

    To that I would add that US intelligence for years didn't know what Iran was doing at Fordo, nor what Syria was building at that remote "agricultural station". (Israel also didn't know about the latter until they got hold of data from the laptop of a high Syrian official.) So how can the Obama administration insist they'll know for certain when Iran makes the decision to assemble the bomb?

  • ffortnightly

    Part of the problem for the GOP is the need to project strength. Unfortunately Americans have been raised to see aggression as strength and that is what Obama and Biden are tooled up to provide. Through a leftist lens it was obvious Biden tore Ryan a new one. To conservatives Ryan was a bastion of patience and presented everything in a reasonable and logical manner. To leftists Ryan was a wimp who looked like he wanted to cry a few times as Biden steamrolled over him. See, to them a debate is SUPPOSED to be an emotional shouting match. The few times Ryan started down that road it was obvious Biden was ready. I love VP debates because we do so often see the reality facing us. What's going to really be hard for the GOP is the way the democrats are able to shrug off even the worst scandals and diplomatic blunders, even when people are killed. Until they can REALLY bring those issues out into the light for ALL Americans to see and realize, we're screwed!

  • Branca

    Obama is gay

    • PaulRevereNow

      Yes, he is. And just "coincidentally" at least one of his gay partners has been murdered.

  • κατεργάζομαι


    ~ Fool me once – shame on me.

    Fool me Twice…I'm an Obama voter.


  • UCSPanther

    In hindsight, all Paul Ryan had to do was poke this clown periodically and just let him make an idiot of himself.

    It does not bode well for Obama.

  • Michael

    After all, who are the independent now,semi-idiots?

  • cynthiacurran

    Well, George W Bush was dumb. He listen to Grover Norqist schemes to bring followers of islam into the Republican Party. He wanted several times to legalized illegal hispanics and get their vote. They support more government than 2nd and 3rd generation hispanics do. He was dumb in areas that the left didn't think of. Evan Reagan was dumb on immirgation too.