Today in Slate

Two Types of Candor

Biden’s wasn’t enough to keep him in the 2016 race. Bibi’s is inflammatory enough to exacerbate violence.

Vice President Joe Biden flanked by his wife Jill Biden and President Barack Obama, in the Rose Garden at the White House on Oct. 21, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Slate Scott!

It’s Back to the Future day, but before we get to hoverboards, there’s real-world 2015 news to address.

Without Joe Biden, the presidential race will be deprived of more than Trans Am jokes.

Despite Biden’s history of creating controversies with his big mouth, I’ve always doubted his reputation as a gaffe monster. His most enduring word vomits—“This is a big fucking deal” and announcing his support for same-sex marriage before Obama wanted to—remain beloved by the Democratic base. In Biden’s speech Wednesday announcing that he won’t run for president, he again displayed his power as a voice for optimism, middle-class concerns, and emotional rawness. I am no fan of some of his past policy positions. And it just didn’t make sense for Biden to run for president; if he has any policy differences with or advantages over Hillary Clinton as a candidate, they are unclear at best. (She was ahead before Wednesday, and she will likely only widen her lead over her rivals.) But in my opinion, we could do worse than a guy in the race who knows his shit and says what he thinks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s candor is much more baffling and dangerous than Biden’s.

During his most recent campaign, Netanyahu promised to never allow a Palestinian state on his watch; then he won re-election on that pledge. Wednesday, he pronounced that Muslims are to blame for the Holocaust. And for years, he has boasted about Israeli settlements and refused to halt them. As Will Saletan argues, these are more than dumb statements; they have directly exacerbated the current wave of violence in Israel. The indignities recounted in Saletan’s piece make it clear that Netanyahu’s words and policies have made violence in Israel much more likely, and they make prospects for peace much dimmer.

Prison in the present, slang in the future, and repairing the GOP House of the past.

A big fucking deal,
Seth Maxon
Home page editor for nights and weekends

If you like what you see, please encourage a friend, family member, or enemy to sign up for the Today in Slate email newsletter here.