Summary: Biden’s moments of accidental integrity threaten America’s political order, by showing that politicians can tell the truth. What if we changed our preferences and preferred truth to lies?
An emerging narrative in this campaign concerns Senator Biden’s gaffes. As The New York Times, that ur-source for liberal narratives, says:
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, is an experienced, serious and smart man. But, boy, does he say some curious things. A day on the campaign trail without a cringe-inducing gaffe is a rare blessing. He has not been too blessed lately.
The “cringe-inducing” gaffes listed are problematic in the uniquely American sense defined by the journalist Michael Kinsley: “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.” Since we demand that our elected leaders lie to us — constantly, skillfully — this is a professional liability. As Jimmy Carter learned when he said that he “lusted in his heart“.
Consider these gaffes by Biden that the NYT article describes as committed by this “human verbal wrecking crew.”
Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. … Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me.
My wife, Jill, who you’ll meet soon, who’s drop-dead gorgeous. My wife, Jill, she also has a doctorate degree, which is a problem.
These are discordant notes in the campaign’s stately music, both obviously sincere and true. They clash with the other notes, which tends to be either insincere or somewhat delusional (or both).
A note about the second quote: for those not in synch with modern American culture, an earlier NYT article explained the full horror of these words: “That was classic Biden. He’s still said to be head-over-heels in love with her after more than 30 years of marriage, and proud, if slightly intimidated, by her multiple degrees.”
I was going to list Biden’s other gaffes, but they are too trivial and mindless to justify the effort. How fortunate that America has no serious problems, so the campaign can focus on these trivial things.
It need not be so. Voting is not enough. Donate time and money to your candidates. Write and talk about the issues. We can regain control over the process; but we might not have much time remaining to do so.
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Other Posts about the candidates foolishly speaking honestly to us
- Obama describes the first step to America’s renewal, 8 August 2008 — Obama’s statement about America may be the simple truth; this may be why so many find it disturbing.
The archive of all FM posts About the candidates for President.
For interesting articles about the candidates from other sources, see About the candidates for President of the United States.