We thought it was just an expression, a trite one at that: "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." But after Bob Woodward dropped word that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden might be switching jobs-that the idea is "on the table"-the mainstream media went into a frenzy. What a brilliant idea, they chorused. They could hardly wait. Why focus on what is likely to be a bleak Nov. 2 for them (and an even bleaker Nov. 3) when this story is so upbeat, so cheery?
Besides, as Mario Cuomo used to say, we campaign in poetry but govern in prose. Actually, this crew is governing in poetry, too. Let's see: "Half a league, half a league, / Half a league onward," opens Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade. A key passage of that poem reads:
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd . . .
Nobody's "bucking up" to admit blunders at the White House. Nor at the campaign committees. They don't talk about Obamacare on the hustings. Or Obama's stim-you-less, or cap and trade.
So instead we talk about Hillary Clinton for vice president in 2012. And Joe Biden for secretary of State. OK. Let's talk about it.
Let's suppose that Secretary Condoleezza Rice had gone to Ottawa in 2005 and had publicly berated Canada's ruling Liberal Party government for their support of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. Suppose she had said that, in representing a pro-life U.S. administration, she found Canada's support for a UN body that is implicated in China's massive forced abortion policy unconscionable. Would the Canadian press have tamely put up with that? Would the prestige press in the United States have lauded Secretary Rice for standing up for her convictions, for human rights, for bedrock American values? Don't bet on it. Five years later, we would still be hearing howls of outrage.
Even as a pro-lifer, I recognize that that would have been a grossly inappropriate way for Secretary Rice to advance pro-life principles in the international arena. So why is it that Secretary Clinton gets a free pass for going to Ottawa and publicly denouncing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government?
Madam Secretary was incensed that Canada is working to improve maternal health in Africa-but is not including abortion in its aid program. Where's the outrage? Clinton said she thinks "abortion is wrong" (Newsweek, Oct. 31, 1994). She says it should be "safe, legal, and rare." Is forcing abortion on poor Africans her way of making it rare?
Now, let's see Vice President Joe Biden's record of diplomatic finesse. He's just returned from Kenya, where he stumped for a new constitution. He told the Kenyans, bluntly, that more foreign aid would be coming their way, but only if they approved the new constitution.
The new constitution was approved. Not only does it legalize abortion for that longtime U.S. ally, it also opens the door to Sharia law in a country that is only 10 percent Muslim. Christian missionaries in Kenya have expressed their concerns that soon the only religion that can be publicly affirmed in the country will be Islam.
It's even possible that Vice President Biden's interference with Kenya's political process is against U.S. law. Current law forbids U.S. funds going to promote or discourage foreign nations to adopt abortion policies contrary to their own laws and traditions.
Question to the Obama-Biden administration: How is it that when Iranians took to the streets protesting against fraudulent elections, appealing for democracy and human rights, your administration refused to get involved? You said you didn't want to "meddle."
But when an historic ally of the United States is debating whether to adopt a questionable constitution, why did your administration jump in with both of Joe Biden's left feet?
Don't we have enough countries recognizing Sharia law, the law they have in Saudi Arabia?
It may be that concentrating liberals' attention on a Hillary Clinton-Joe Biden switch in 2012 is just the ticket to get us past Nov. 2. Maybe we could turn Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" and Stephen Colbert's companion laugh-in-on-the-Mall into a huge grassroots movement to cheer on the Big Switch.
So on the last Saturday before the midterms, while their opponents are doorbelling, manning phone banks, arranging rides to the polls, let's encourage our liberal friends to descend on Washington in a new Woodstock hootenanny for Obama-Clinton-Biden. Sounds like a plan.