One theory is that Karl Rove has kidnapped the real vice president and is now going around sowing discord and spreading gaffes as fast as the press can record them. That would be the most charitable explanation for why, just a couple days after making a mess on gay marriage, Vice President Biden chose in a speech to the Rabbinical Assembly’s annual conference to deliver Mitt Romney more ammunition.
He declared: “When we took office, let me remind, there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem. We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe.”
The Romney camp pounced, releasing a statement from policy director Lanhee Chen that read:
All too often, President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden’s reckless statement today blaming America for — of all things — the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, has reached a new low. The problem is not America. It is the ayatollahs who oppress their people, threaten their neighbors, and are pursuing nuclear weapons. President Obama’s naïve approach to Iran has given the regime valuable time to get closer than ever before to a nuclear weapons capability. Vice President Biden’s comments are wrong and completely inappropriate. Mitt Romney will stand up for America and our allies, and he will not apologize for America’s leadership role in the world.
Strictly speaking, Biden’s comments weren’t an apology but an “It’s Bush’s fault” moment. It is one in a series of defensive comments by the administration to blame whatever ails us on Obama’s predecessor and paint his own efforts to dig ourselves out of the purported Bush-made mess as Herculean.
While not an apology, the comment is inane and inaccurate. George W. Bush and his then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in essence let the Europeans carry the ball on Iran talks in the second term. It might not have been very effective, but it wasn’t our “fault” that Iran proceeded with its plans. Moreover, the only time Iran actually halted its nuclear weapons program was in 2003, when, in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s ouster, the mullahs feared for their political and personal survival.
All Biden had to say was that his administration put together a sanctions program. He could have easily delivered his speech without the gratuitous swipe at Bush. (Of course, the efficacy of a sanctions approach without a credible military threat is in doubt as the Iranians seem to be speeding along in their weaponization efforts.)
I’m sure Biden is simply reflecting the pervasive woe-is-me attitude in an administration that feels underappreciated and is incapable of refraining from blaming others.
Poor Joe. I’m sure, if Obama loses November, he’ll be added to the long list of “people to blame for Obama’s missteps.”