The Biden gaffe machine keeps rolling

Vice President Joe Biden told a gathering of women activists that he misses the days when Republicans would reach across the aisle and work with Democrats on important legislation.

One of the "good" GOP Senators Biden mentioned at this women's issues forum was Senator Bob Packwood who resigned in disgrace following revelations that he sexually harrassed women for decades.

Wall Street Journal:

At the time, Mr. Packwood’s departure from the Senate was cheered by women’s groups, who saw the case as a test of whether the Senate would take a clear stand against sexual harassment. Prior to his resignation, the Senate’s ethics panel had voted to recommend Mr. Packwood’s expulsion.

Mr. Packwood’s departure from the Senate ended an ugly drama that unfolded after the Washington Post reported in 1992 that 10 women had said he had made unwanted sexual advances against them beginning in 1969.

“It was Republicans who expanded access to the polls,”  Mr. Biden said at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday.   “It was Republicans in the Judiciary Committee that did Motor Voter.  It’s Republicans that were involved.  Guys like Mac Mathias and Packwood and so many others.  It wasn’t Democrats alone.”

Earlier this week, Mr. Biden was forced to apologize for a reference to “Shylock” in a speech to the Legal Services Corp. Mr. Biden had been describing the way soldiers overseas were victimized by home foreclosures and “bad loans.”

It should go without saying that if a Republican commtted half the gaffes that Biden has made in the last few months, he would be driven from public office.

Long time Des Moines Register political reporter David Jepsen gives us a clue why Biden is immune:

David Yepsen, a veteran Des Moines Register reporter who covered the Iowa caucuses for years, said that while people cut Biden a fair amount of slack thanks to the goodwill he’s built up over the years, his gaffes would have a much stronger impact on the campaign trail. 

“You get out there in a presidential campaign, that scrutiny just gets white hot,” Yepsen said. “At the minimum, it’s a distraction. Every campaign has a message it wants to get out and any time Biden does that, it’s going to distract from whatever his message of the day is.”

Yepsen, who now the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, added that the magnifying glass of a presidential campaign could amplify a mistake and hurt his or Democrats’ chances. 

But for now, Biden remains a Democratic darling. Despite his misstep, the entire room gave him a loud standing ovation when he finished speaking. And in Yepsen’s mind, his gaffes are “pretty harmless in a vice president.”

“He stubs his toe and he apologizes, and life goes on,” he said. “Everybody says, ‘Oh that’s just Joe.’"

As Biden - and Obama - proved on the campaign trail in 2008 and 2012, they can make the most spectacular errors and not suffer for it. Their gaffes are chalked up to "misstatements" or fatigue, or some other lame excuse. Not even when their gaffes reveal a towering ignorance - like when Obama referred to the "Austrian language" or when Biden referred to France and the US kicking Syria out of Lebanon - that would point to an incompetence and stupidty so profound that it raises questions whether they can do the job.

Meanwhile, a Republican candidate gets tongue tied because he stupidly didn't prepare a response to a loaded question and he's hounded out of office. It would be nice if someone pointed out the unfairness of it all - except those whose job it is to do so have an ideological stake in keeping quiet.

God help us if this profoundly stupid man is ever elected president.

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