Everyone is talking about the laughs heard 'round the world. Vice President Biden smirked and scoffed so much that the issue consumed most of the post-debate cable news coverage. However, what wasn't mentioned was how Mr. Biden inadvertently made a strong case for Barry Goldwater's conservatism when it comes to the nature of the welfare state.
Regarding the Obama administration's hard and fast deadline to remove all forces from Afghanistan, Mr. Biden said: "Unless you set a timeline, Baghdad in the case of Iraq and — and Kabul in the case of Afghanistan will not step up. They’re happy to let us continue to do the job —- international security forces to do the job. The only way they step up is say, 'Fellas, we’re leaving; we’ve trained you; step up.' Step up. ... That’s the only way it works."
In a strange way, Mr. Biden seeks to apply Barry Goldwater's conservatism to the people of Afghanistan, while simultaneously shunning it for freedom-loving Americans here at home:
In America, cutting off welfare recipients who have turned a safety net into a safety hammock still leaves those people with the greatest opportunity for social mobility the world has ever known. In Afghanistan, cutting off our allies at the wrong time leaves them susceptible to populations prone to chopping off heads and planning terrorist attacks like 9/11. (Take your pick: 2001 in New York or 2012 in Benghazi.)
Mr. Biden believes cutting off the government spigot is "the only way that works" for pro-Western Afghans surrounded by the Taliban and al Qaeda, but not for Obamaphone ladies attending anti-Romney union rallies, or the millionaires behind the success of "Sesame Street." If Paul Ryan made one error during his debate Thursday night, it was by not calling out Mr. Biden on his perverse application of conservative principles.
In the days that follow, talking heads will make hay out of Mr. Biden's pompous attitude during the vice presidential debate, perhaps matched only by Al Gore in his infamous meeting in 2000 with George W. Bush. What won't be talked about is how Mr. Biden inadvertently channeled Barry Goldwater.
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