The Grown-Up


Jon Rauch sees much to admire in the newly responsible senator from Delaware:

While other Democrats talk Iraq, health care, and change, Biden talks Iraq, Iraq, and Iraq. At a press conference this month on the steps of Iowa's Capitol in Des Moines, he seized the occasion of an endorsement by the state's House majority leader to proclaim, "I know how to make America safer!"

He continued, "Immediately begin to draw down American combat troops.... Immediately give the troops all the protection they need while we're drawing them down." So far, just like Clintama. But then he veered sharply off Hillarack. "Make sure you recognize a fundamental flaw in the strategy," he said, "and that is, there will not be a central government in Iraq, out of Baghdad, capable of governing that country in anyone's lifetime standing out in front of this Capitol. You must change the policy to put in place a federal, decentralized Iraq, giving the warring factions breathing room to establish their own security [and] control over the fabric of their daily lives."

For a year and a half, Biden (along with Leslie H. Gelb, a former president of the Council on Foreign Relations) has advocated devolving power to autonomous regions in Iraq. The presidential campaign has brought the plan into sharper focus -- and, as Biden argues, into sharper contrast with what he plausibly regards as the wishful thinking prevalent in both parties.

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty.)