Our friends, the liberals, may be rejoicing over presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, but so are conservatives: after all, is there a funnier man in Washington than current V.P. Joe Biden?
Once known simply as the as the sometimes-off-color politician who takes the Amtrak home to Delaware from DC every weekend, Biden’s record of remarks has cemented his status as perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious man in vice presidential history.
The subtext—Can you imagine if a Republican said this?—is ridiculous, but conservative outlets such as Fox News and The Wall Street Journal have made enough noise so that I have to believe most informed readers are aware of media bias.
Last week—when I wrote a on issues that should matter to every American—some insisted that I demonstrated a conservative-slant bias anyway—I make him “sound like a Boy Scout,” one regular reader wrote.
Nevertheless, consider last week’s “possibly” politically motivated shooting at the controversial Family Research Center. According to the affidavit filed last Thursday: an LGBT volunteer entered the FRC headquarters in downtown DC, shouted about his dislike of the organization’s politics, and shot a security officer in the arm. The officer prevented the defendant from further entering the building—a real accomplishment, considering the defendant was armed to the teeth.
The defendant also carried 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A.
Nevertheless, most mainstream media didn’t pick up the story until this past weekend. Even then, the New York Times headline questioned whether or not the shooting was politically motivated. Imagine if a right-wing nut job shot a guard at a Planned Parenthood? That would be front page news—and rightfully so.
But I digress…sort of.
Joe Biden’s thoughtless gaffes inspired recent speculation that President Obama might replace him on the ticket with none other than current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—in fact, even Biden considers Clinton a worthier candidate, once stating at a rally in New Hampshire:
“Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let’s get that straight…Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me.”
His lack of candor continued during the stimulus uproar when he spoke of the odds of its success to the House Democratic caucus:
“If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong.”
Why let the reassurances stop there? When speaking to the Today show about the swine flu epidemic:
“I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now…When one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft…I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway.”
And on the just-plain-dumb side, when introducing a disabled state senator who is confined to a wheelchair:
“I’m told Chuck Graham, state senator, is here. Stand up, Chuck, let ‘em see you. Oh, God love you. What am I talking about? I’ll tell you what, you’re making everybody else stand up though, pal.”
Of course, every politician gets it wrong sometimes—even those who are great on the stump. By now, we’ve all heard Obama’s uninformed, inexperienced and thoughtless remark that if you’re a small business owner, you “didn’t build that.”
Taken at face value, these comments reflect the effects of the 24-hour news cycle and the instantaneousness at which an off-the-cuff remark can explode via Twitter, Facebook and other Internet sensations. But Biden’s unfortunate comments reveal a darker side of media bias when you consider what would happen to a Republican candidate following these remarks:
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”— Biden, describing then-candidate Barack Obama.
“In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”—Biden, speaking to an Indian-American supporter.
And just within the past few days:
“Look at what they [Republicans] value, and look at their budget. And look what they’re proposing. He [Romney] said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks write their own rules—unchain Wall Street! They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”—Biden, to a diverse audience comprised mainly of African-Americans in Virginia.
But my all-time personal favorite:
“I promise you, the President has a big stick.”—Biden, referring to Obama using an illuminating hand gesture and, apparently, Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”
I never thought I would write this, but I think I’m longing for the days of the vast right-wing conspiracy.