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September 19, 2014

Joe Biden to Women's Conference: You Know Who I Miss? Bob Packwood

How do you solve a problem like Joe Biden?

Hot Air quotes an old Bob Packwood allegation, involving him forcing his tongue into an unsuspecting woman's mouth. Like Peter "Littlefinger" Baelish.

This National Journal article promises in the headline to answer the question Why Joe Biden's Gaffes Don't Matter, but just spends most of its time saying they don't matter -- not why they don't matter.

Here's one attempt to answer the question, as promised:

When a gaffe does matter, FiveThirtyEight noted earlier this year, is when it motivates the base.

They mean the opposing party's base, as the writer soon makes clear.

And that's true -- gaffes matter when they animate the party which controls the media, which is to say progressives.

The article asserts that George Allen's "macaca" slur was important because it built upon an already-existing reputation for racial intolerance.

If that's so, it's news to Wikipedia-- the first "controversy" involving race it mentions is the "macaca" one, followed quickly by Salon's tracking down his college friends and reporting their claims that he used to use the n-word.

But note that that followed the "macaca" slur.

Seems to me that the "already-established history of racial intolerance" stemmed chiefly from his membership in the Republican Party.

And of course we know Ol' Joey Chompers has no racial bigotry in his heart, despite saying bigoted things once a year or so.

Biden doesn't have a history of antisemitism or racism toward Asian people. "Clearly, there was no ill intent here," said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, of Biden's Shylock comment. "There is no truer friend of the Jewish people than Joe Biden."

Charles Cooke does a much better job of calling partisan bias partisan bias. After noting that he finds Biden "oafish" but not particularly offensive, Cooke then notes that other politicians -- those of Republican stripes -- have also said oafish but barely-offensive things, and received quite a different sort of treatment:

At present, we find ourselves at a peculiar juncture -- at a place where “offensive” has simultaneously become the worst and the most malleable of epithets. Far from inviting hasty societal condemnation of anybody who steps out of line, the extraordinarily inconsistent manner in which society takes umbrage should instead prompt us to cut almost everybody a break. As it stands, we are doing exactly the opposite, our journalistic and political elites having constructed a carefully calibrated caste system that determines the severity of a person’s verbal offense depending upon how he votes. If it seems odd to the naked eye that national figures such as Harry Reid and Al Sharpton can say all manner of peculiar things and enjoy relative impunity while nobodies from the middle of nowhere are hunted down and interrogated, that is because it is.

David Harsyani similarly finds Biden's remarks nothing to freak out over -- but still can't help but notice that the media has indeed freaked out over other people's remarks which weren't worth freaking out over, either.

Remember when the media freaked out for three days over Sarah Palin’s completely legitimate use of the term "blood libel"?

Nearly every major media outlet took a dive deep on this critical outrage. Millions of Americans learned more about how Jews in the Middle Ages were sometimes falsely accused of kidnapping and murdering Christian children so they could use the blood for rituals during the High Holidays. But more importantly: What did Palin mean? Was Palin sending veiled messages to Evangelicals voters? Was it just anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head?

There will be no such national discussion over Joe Biden's recent comments. At the Legal Services Corporation, our Clouseau-esque vice president was extoling the virtues of his son Beau when he launched into one of his folksy populist rants.


Is there any question that the repercussions for these mistakes are meted out asymmetrically?

No there's not, and it's insulting to be lied to directly to your face.

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posted by Ace at 06:06 PM

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