- - Thursday, September 5, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Liar or idiot.

It is hard to tell which of these best describes former Vice President Joe Biden. In fact, I really don’t understand how he can even be a contender considering his past.

During the summer of my freshman year in college, then-U.S. Sen. Biden plagiarized the words of the leader of the British Labor Party, Neil Kinnock. These are the exact words he used during his closing statement at a Democrat debate at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 23, 1987:

“I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I’m the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?”

Two months earlier, on May 15, 1987, Mr. Kinnock delivered a speech to the Welsh Labor Party Conference saying:



“Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?”

Mr. Kinnock pointed to his wife Glenys in the crowd when talking about her in his speech. Mr. Biden did the same thing during his closing statement at the debate. He included several other items taken from the earlier speech without attribution to the Labor leader.

The Kinnock address was rebroadcast in 1987 during the general election in the United Kingdom. It wasn’t too long before the media started reporting on Mr. Biden’s plagiarism.

At the time, another report came out that showed Mr. Biden used major parts of a 1967 speech by former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in his comments to the California Democratic Party on Feb. 3, 1987. The reports also said he used a portion of President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address during his California speech. And the reports contended that he lifted portions of a 1976 speech by former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.

But there’s more …

The tsunami of media attention to his plagiarism started by the Kinnock speech opened the door to a closer look at Mr. Biden’s academic record at the Syracuse University School of Law. The media focused on the fact that Mr. Biden had received a failing grade in an introductory class on legal methodology because he wrote a paper relying almost exclusively on an article in the Fordham Law Review that he only cited once in the paper. The media noted that he was allowed to repeat the course and he passed — and that his failing grade was removed from his record.

On Sept. 17, 1987, Mr. Biden held a press conference where he acknowledged the story about the law school paper but claimed that he did not know the proper rules of citation (a strange argument considering he was studying to be a lawyer). He dismissed the plagiarism as “much ado about nothing.”

At this point, I am thinking that Mr. Biden is a serial liar. But then I learned that he gave the media a 65-page file of his academic records from law school. Idiot, clearly an idiot.

The media looked at Mr. Biden’s academic records and compared them to his statements in public about his academic career. Exhibit 1 is a C-SPAN video of Mr. Biden at a campaign stop in Claremont, New Hampshire. A local resident asked Mr. Biden how he did in law school.

Mr. Biden responded: “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do.” He also said, “The first year in law school I decided I didn’t want to be in law school and ended up in the bottom two-thirds of my class and then decided I wanted to stay and went back to law school and in fact ended up in the top half of my class.”

The Associated Press noted that the law school records given to them by Mr. Biden himself show that in his first semester, he ranked 80 out of 100. By the second semester of his second year, he was 79 out of 87. Ultimately, he graduated 76th in a class of 85. Hardly rising to the top half of his class.

Now I am not making the argument that Joe Biden needed to rank in the top half of his class to run for president. What I am saying is that he either can’t tell the truth or he doesn’t know what it is. Either that makes him a liar or an idiot.

Unfortunately, I think it might be both.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him @ScottWalker.

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