Joe Biden on the Wrong Side of Middle East History

JIM LEHRER: Some people are suggesting that we may be seeing the beginning of a kind of domino effect, similar to what happened after the Cold War in Eastern Europe. Poland came first, then Hungary, East Germany.  We have got Tunisia, as you say, maybe Egypt, who knows. Do you smell the same thing coming?

JOE BIDEN: No, I don't.  I wouldn't compare the two. ... I think it's a stretch to compare it to Eastern Europe.

And later in the PBS interview…

JIM LEHRER: The word -- the word to describe the leadership of Mubarak and Egypt and also in Tunisia before was dictator. Should Mubarak be seen as a dictator?

JOE BIDEN: ….I would not refer to him as a dictator.

JIM LEHRER: Mr. Vice President, should we be -- should the United States be encouraging these protesters, whether they're in Tunisia or Egypt or wherever? They want their rights. And should we encourage them to seek them, if it means going to the streets or whatever?

JOE BIDEN: …We're encouraging the protesters to, as they assemble, do it peacefully. And we're encouraging the government to act responsibly and to try to engage in a discussion as to what the legitimate claims being made are, if they are, and try to work them out.

Watching the thousands of young people take to the streets throughout the Middle East to demand government reforms and greater freedoms is inspiring. The vice president must be embarrassed by today’s remarkable change in Egypt since he was the first administration official to take to the airwaves to try and hold up Egypt’s Berlin Wall. The historic departure of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and the thousands of Arab youth in the streets of the Middle East just isn’t change Biden can believe in.