Here’s the thing… if Hillary or Edwards said something like this, they would be toast. Instantly. Biden may get a pass just because reporters are so used to hearing him say crazy things all the time. That said, the level of shock here is pretty high.
Matt, that’s exactly how a lot of DC reporters feel so this may get a pass… but still, the timing couldn’t be worse for the guy. If either the Post or the Times use this high up enough, the rest will follow.
I can’t seem to get that link to work. If Biden really said this though he’s dead in the water period. It’s ridiculous to think Democratic primary voters, of all people, will just shrug this kind of statement off. That’s more Republican territory - hell it might even help a guy with some of the base.
I’m surprised by the reaction to this. It’s perfectly clear to me what he is saying, and he’s not saying that all mainstream blacks prior to Obama were “unclean”. This is people trying to create meaning out of what he said, that he didn’t explicity state. I hate that. It’s political correctness.
And don’t think I’m defending the guy. I have no idea who he is, and have no particular sympathy for Republicans. This is just me, as a native English speaker, looking at those words and trying to figure out how they could be taken offensively unless you are extremely sensitive to anything being said about black people (which is PC in my book).
I mean if you took that statement and applied it to politicians from another group, say people from New Jersey, nobody would give a shit.
Sounds pretty bad to me, incredibly condescending, significative of having a rather anachronistic view on the issue of race, and even given his own strange standards is incorrect and ignorant of history and the present.
To be clear, I’m still at the “if he really said that” stage - until I can get this link to work and then doublecheck it with other sources. But, yeah, saying that this is the first “clean” African-American in public life would be a killer even if it was meant in all sincerity as a compliment, which I don’t doubt it would have been really. What it tells you is he doesn’t see any previous African-American leaders fitting that description: not only clean but articulate and bright and so on.
This may be an American thing that’s not so obvious to outsiders but over here it rings bells.
Biden’s words from the interview (the link is working now:) “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,”
So, what is it that is clear to you that he’s saying? The only way that I can interpret this is by assuming he means what he said: Every other African American who has made a run at the presidency, say, Jesse Jackson, is NOT articulate and bright and clean and nice looking. What is the other interpretation?
What really surprises me is that an old grizzled politician, who surely planned out what he was going to say on the day he’s announcing his candidacy, would say something so stupid. His comments on, for example, Hillary were clearly calculated and thought out. That’s just politically stupid.
The REALLY sad thing is that he said out loud what I suspect a lot of people are thinking. That’s not a defense of Biden - it’s a loud sigh at how we haven’t yet come as far as a nation as we like to think we have.
Biden is a dedicated dingleberry that has run for president about 4 times now or something. He’s always saying lame crap like this and he’s never been close to being a serious contender for the white house.
There is no question that he will get a pass on this because Al Sharpton is so busy criticizing Obama himself that he won’t have time to get on Biden’s case.