Feature

Biden

The mouth that bored.

Joe Biden is a unique national resource, said Peggy Noonan in Opinionjournal.com. Once again, the senior senator from Delaware has rescued another boring nomination hearing—this one, of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito—with another amazing impersonation of a garrulous uncle holding forth at the dinner table after downing one too many cocktails. In Biden's windy and meandering questioning of Alito, the Democrat proved he was utterly 'œincapable of staying on the river of a thought,' and was constantly 'œlured down tributaries' as he batted 'œthe little paddles of his mind against the weeds,' trying desperately to return to wherever it was he started. Biden managed to tell us about his own kids (two, both of whom 'œwent to Ivy League schools'), his ancestors ('œI'm not sure my Grandfather Finnegan will ever forgive me for that'), and explained, apropos of nothing, why he voted against confirming John Roberts as chief justice ('œI was doubtful'). Call Biden a kook if you must, but there's something 'œendearing' about a guy who, in his allotted time of 30 minutes, could squeeze in 3,739 words to Alito's 1,021. By the way, did you know that he's running for president in 2008?

Biden is no ordinary blowhard, said David Brooks in The New York Times. His oratorical performances are both 'œWagnerian' in scope and Shakespearean in emotional complexity. 'œAt times he will ascend to heights of rage and contempt; at other times, he will wander like Lear through the desolation of undesirable policies.' His voice becomes suffused with a 'œhusky' timbre as he slumps his shoulders, apparently aware that 'œsome nominee or bill' is about to get by him. 'œThen he flashes his jarring grin, which says that we are all friends despite the circumstances of our disagreement.' By the way, did you know that he's running for president?

Richard Cohen

The Washington Post

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