Fact checking is mostly tendentious nonsense, but yesterday's George Will column invites this comment. Will called for an apology from Syracuse Law for granting Biden a law degree, noting two egregious legal gaffes. In the first, Will reminds us that in the 2008 VP debate Biden patronizingly informed Palin that Article I delineates the role of the Vice President. The video is here at the 1:11 point. Wrong, says Will, it's Article II. Actually, it's both. Article I, section 3, clause 4 states that the VP "shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided." Article II deals with the election of the President and Vice President (as amended by the 12th Amendment), provides that the VP succeeds to the presidency in the case of the President's death, removal, resignation, or inability to discharge the duties of the office (as amended by the 25th Amendment). While Biden was not quite the legal dunce Will claims, it is astonishing that in the same debate Biden characterized Cheney as the most dangerous VP in American history, in part for Cheney's contention that the office of the Vice Presidency was not part of the executive branch. If Biden thought Article I controlled the office of the VP, then Cheney must not have been wrong. So, a big rotten tomato to both George Will and Joe Biden on this one.
The second gaffe cited by Will is Biden's assertion in the 2102 VP debate that if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade (actually Planned Parenthood v. Casey) abortion would be "outlawed." You may see the video here, at the 6:15 point One would think that then-Senator Biden, who raked Robert Bork over the coals on abortion back in 1987, would understand that overturning Roe and Casey would free the states to regulate abortion (or not) as they desire. So, two big fat rotten tomatoes to Joe Biden on this one and thumbs up to George Will.
But the most important fact-checking is the one that isn't happening. Evidence continues to surface that our personnel in Benghazi begged for assistance and were repeatedly turned down. But, as Jonah Goldberg reports, "last Friday, the president boasted that 'the minute I found out what was happening' in Benghazi, he ordered that everything possible be done to protect our personnel. That is either untrue, or he’s being disobeyed on grave matters." Last week, Leon Panetta defended this inaction by saying "that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.” As Jonah Goldberg observes, "If real-time video of the attack and communications with Americans on the ground begging for assistance don’t constitute 'real-time information,' what does?" I don't know what to believe here, but this a major news story, so why aren't the army of self-appointed "fact-checkers" trying to ferret out the truth of this matter? Where are the investigative reporters?
Full disclosure: Chris Stevens was my student at Hastings. I knew him well and he was a prince of a man. I grieve for him and his family.