Alex Massie

Biden Brings It

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Joe Biden is good and Conor Friedersdorf is right: "Victories won on style are pyrrhic for political parties, and poison for a nation. Because sooner or later, substance always matters."

This is true. The Palin Punt is, in some ways, outrageous. In others it's designed to appeal to a somewhat adolescent view of politics. That's not necessarily the worst thing in the world; but nor is it enough. I understand why they want to hide Palin away for a week, so she can hit the books. But sooner or later she's gotta come out. (It's possible to like Palin - or the idea of Palin - personally, appreciate the stylistic and political arguments in favour of her selection, think she can bring something to the conversation beyond her faith and family, and still think it a choice that, however understandable in some respects, is also troubling.)

The GOP scarcely mentioned George W Bush in St Paul, but it was a repudiation by omission, not a clean-break, in policy terms, with the past. McCain's argument that we went to the capital to change Washington, instead Washington changed us is the sort of thing the Sunday talk shows and the Washington Post's editorial page love, but an "ordinary" voter might be forgiven for asking, "Well, why should I vote for you?" When you boil it down - or drill, baby, drill down to it - McCain is asking for a mulligan. But politics doesn't normally work that way. Or, to put it another way, McCain doesn't have Nicolas Sarkozy's energy - or platform - and Barack Obama is no Segolene Royal.

Anyway, Biden makes some decent points here:

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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