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Tolkien on Biden: Age Alone Does not Wisdom Make

As I recounted last month, I have been reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The History of the Lord of the Rings. This morning, reading the third volume of that set, The War of the Ring, I chanced upon a passage (which the author would strike from the final text of The Two Towers) but which serves as much a rebuke of presumptive Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden as it does of the then-somewhat skeptical King Théoden of Rohan:

It is long since you have listened to tales by the fireside . . . , and in that rather than in white hairs you show your age, without increase in wisdom.

Here, Gandalf rebuked the aging king for doubting the truth of ancient tales.

Just as that good king doubted those old tales,  Biden refusing to look at the evidence of his own eyes and learn from history. For over the thirty-six years of this Democrats service in the United States Senate, he has been so spectacularly wrong on nearly every key issue “dealing with foreign affairs and defense:”

  • In 1979, he saw the “advent of the ayotallahs” in Iran as an advance of human rights.
  • In the 1980s, he opposed Ronald Reagan’s “proactive policy” against the Soviets.
  • In 1990, he voted against the First Gulf War in 1990.
  • Most recently, he called General David Petraeus “dead flat wrong” on the “surge.”

If any one of those two was “dead flat wrong,” it wasn’t the general.

While the Delaware Democrat has criticized one of the most successful American military leaders in recent years, he has been much more yielding in dealing with Iran, America’s most aggressive adversary in the Middle East, leading Michael Rubin to comment in today’s Washington Post, “Obama picked Biden for experience, but he might also have considered judgment. When it comes to Iran, Biden could stare down dictators; too bad he blinks.

Just as experience alone does not mean good judgment, gray hairs do not necessarily mean an increase in wisdom.

It’s says a lot about Barack Obama that he assumed they do when making his choice for Vice President.  Better we should choose someone who has been right about so many international crises over the past quarter-century than someone who was wrong on nearly every key diplomatic issue since his first election to the United States Senate.