Senator Macaca, Part II?

Is Joe Biden trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for the shortest-lived presidential campaign ever? He announced his candidacy today, then immediately got in hot water for making some rather racist-sounding remarks about Barack Obama and African-Americans:

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.

Power Line thinks Biden is talking specifically about Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton when he refers by implication to blacks who are not “mainstream,” “articulate,” “bright” and “clean.” Quoth the conservative blog, “he certainly wasn’t referring to all African-Americans.” That’s probably true, but Biden’s chosen method of making his point certainly wasn’t very, well, articulate or bright.

It’s a shame, because Biden is one of the few big-name Democrats who I think really “gets” the war on terror. His speech at the Democratic convention is 2004 was the highlight of John Kerry’s whole dismal campaign. In thinking about whom to support in ’08, I was willing to overlook his RAVE Act shenanigans because of his sensibleness on foreign policy; I even wondered aloud if could be “the Lieberman of 2008.” (Which I suppose means, the moderate/hawkish presidential candidate who wins Brendan’s support, then goes down in flames… heh.)

But first the apparent slur (botched joke?) against Indian-Americans, and now this… Joe, you’re making it awfully hard to love you!

P.S. Obama isn’t the only candidate Biden slammed. He went all Fighting Blue Hen on Hillary Clinton and Johnny Boy Edwards, too. Read the whole interview.

P.P.S. Biden will be on the Daily Show tonight, according to The Caucus (a New York Times blog about the 2008 election). Will Jon Stewart ask him about this?

37 Responses to “Senator Macaca, Part II?”

  1. Joe Mama says:

    Jonah Goldberg:

    Of course, everyone knows what the guy meant to say. He’s simply missing “candidate,” or “presidential candidate” to be more accurate, after African-American:

    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,� he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.�

    And, if you don’t count Colin Powell â€â€? which you shouldn’t since he didn’t run â€â€? and if you read him as saying Obama’s the first mainstream black Presidential candidate, Biden’s right.

    Biden has a not unrare condition in which the gear box that normally regulates the speed of your mouth has been ground down to a nub and so his mouth can rev at great speeds heedless of where his brain intends to steer it. Those flashes from his enormous teeth are really the equivalent of flashing your brights; he’s saying “GET OUT OF THE WAY, I CAN’T STOP THIS THING!”

    Yes it is infuriating that when conservatives make similar mistakes, we’re automatically interpreted in the most damning way possible. And, yes, of course, if Bush said something like this â€â€? and given his staccato speaking style that’s not unimaginable â€â€? the usual suspects would be calling Bush a bigot or fool (again). But I see no reason for conservatives to play the same game dishonestly. Of course, if you really think Biden believes Obama is the first clean, nice-looking or bright African-American, ever, by all means have at him.

    Now, there is a bright side for partisans. A fair reading of Biden’s statement clearly draws the reader to conclude that Biden is calling Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton filthy, ugly, and dim-witted. Hey, that’s not me talking. That’s the Democratic Senator from Delaware.

  2. Joe Mama says:

    Does “a not unrare condition” mean that Biden’s is a rare condition, or did Goldberg mean to say “a not uncommon condition?”

  3. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Biden is an idiot.

  4. I LOVE IT

    Joe Biden
    Clemson University
    UCONN Law
    Tarleton State

    Now, all I need to hear from Joe Biden is that he really did not mean it that way because he is not a racist and that some of his best friends are black!

  5. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Joe Biden isn’t a racist. He is an ignorant moron.

  6. Devil's Advocate says:

    Joe Mama is completely correct. Biden may or may not be racist (I am inclined to think that he treats all people save himself with equal contempt). But if some conversative had said this, the catcalls of racism would already be deafening and everything he ever said would be twisted in the worst possible light to “prove” that the Senator was a racist. Then the entire GOP would be once again smeared with the racist brush.

    No such outcry will be heard, of course. Nor will the Democrats suffer politically for this. Nor will even the African-American political leadership do more than issue a token protest (instead of trying to more political concessions and decrying a “party of racism” like they would if it were a GOP leader). Ah, score one more for our fair & balanced mainstream media.

  7. Lam says:

    Senator Biden’s been like this ever since his brain surgery for his brain hemmorrhage—kind of inappropriately unihibited at times.
    Wonder if it bled into his frontal lobes?

  8. Joe Mama says:

    Devil’s Advocate,

    I was simply passing along what I thought was another’s insightful comment (which I happen to agree with in this instance), but thanks :-)

  9. It does suck that Biden will not be called on the carpet for this and of course Obama has to be the Party man and let it slide….disgusting.

    Sorry, but the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee cannot develop brain lock like this.

  10. kcatnd says:

    Yeah, he should be more like our president.

  11. […] ght and clean and a nice-looking guy,â€? he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.â€? Irish Trojan asks the question of the day. Is Joe Biden trying […]

  12. kcatnd

    Yes he should and he should come under the same scrutiny and backlash when stupid escapes from his mouth, no?

  13. Andrew says:

    Hey, I’m starting to like this Biden guy (not referring to this comment, but to other comments in the interview). It’s apparent he’s willing to speak bluntly about the other candidates, which is refreshing because most presidential candidates always speak in a roundabout way about their opponents and leave the dirty slams to the negative ads right before the election.

  14. Brendan Loy says:

    Some NRO readers make some decent points in response to Jonah Goldberg’s post (quoted by Joe Mama above).

  15. DFens says:

    Don’t worry, everyone, if Biden gets away with this, I’m sure Fox News will come up with some sort of story to smear him with…maybe he employs a Muslim terrorist barber to spruce up that fringe around his ears.

  16. Sandy Underpants says:

    If I give you guys the benefit of the doubt, you are a bunch of slanted pussies at best. What the heck did he say that was wrong? Obama is the first legit African American Presidential candidate. He doesn’t have the history of corruption and scandal about him like Sharpton and Jackson, who neither had a legit chance of winning anyway.

    If you can sincerely find racism in the words Biden used to describe Obama, then the racism is in your heart, not his.

  17. NDLS2006 says:

    Um, Biden is already getting slammed for it.

    And he just misspoke. He’;s not a racist, and he’s not stupid. He just says what’s on his mind and sometimes it doesn’t come out pretty. I actually have a lot of respect for Biden; he is never unwilling to be straight about things. He’s been alright with me since he was on the Daily Show’s Indecision 2004 and Jon Stewart asked him about the efforts of candidates to highlight the humble backgrounds of their parents and grandparents. “I tried that,” Biden said. “I said my grandfather was a coal miner. Turns out he had a degree from the University of Pennsylvania.” Hilarious.

    And there’s no way Stewart doesn’t ask him about it.

  18. Angrier and Angrier says:

    George Allen got buried by the “Macaca” remark not so much because he said it, but because he got so friggin’ defensive about it and kept coming up with different, unbelievable reasons for saying it – sort of like Kerry and his “if you are an idiot, you’ll end up in Iraq” remark.

    If Biden is as flat-footed and tone deaf in his response to this as George Allen was with Macaca, you can bet he will end up being slammed by it.

  19. Aaron says:

    Goldberg is correct. Biden’s comment is tone-deaf but not racist. He’s also correct that it’s unfortunate and unfair when conservatives get branded as racists for similar gaffes. However, the case of George Allen is not similar.

    I’m really not liking the title of this post. Brendan, do you mean to say that Biden’t attitudes toward race are similiar to George Allen’s? Or do you mean that the political effects of the gaffe may be similar? If you mean the former… well, I think you’re way off, but obviously I can’t prove it. If you think the latter, you might want to consider that the effect will only be exacebated by blog posts titled “Senator Macaca, Part II?”

    I predict you get Instalanched for this one, which will give Glenn Reynolds the chance to imply Biden=Allen without having to actually say it himself.

  20. Joe Mama says:

    Re: the points made by NRO readers that Brendan linked to above, Alan Keyes also came to my mind as an “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking” presidential candidate, but he was far from a “mainstream black Presidential candidate,” which is how Jonah Goldberg read Biden’s remark.

  21. I dont believe he is a racist I just think he mispoke but I want his ass to fry for it like every GOP nomination has to….right is right.

  22. someone please define mainstream for me as I am begining to think that that is code word for “not frightening or threatening to white america.”

    is that it?

  23. Aaron says:

    someone please define mainstream

    “Capable of being elected,” is close enough. As in the sentence: “Neither Al Sharpton nor Dennis Kucinich is mainstream.”

    No code word.

  24. Sandy Underpants says:

    Nebraska, what have GOP peeps been slammed for that are similar to this? E-mailing sexual advances to underage male interns? George Allen had a conferderate flag in his office and “Macaca” is a legit racial epithet used by organized hate groups like the KKK. Maybe you can provide some examples of you’re thinking of. Thanks in advance.

  25. Joe Mama says:

    [W]hat have GOP peeps been slammed for that are similar to this?

    I’ll take this one — how about when Trent Lott was sh*thammered as a racist and being forced from his Senate leadership position for complimenting Strom Thurmond at his 832nd birthday party with something like “If you were elected President back whenever, the country would be in better shape,” or some such (nevermind that then-Democrat Joe Lieberman praised Thurmond at the same event as “an institution within an institution” and a “man of iron with a heart of gold.”

    And just for sh*ts and giggles, who remembers anything being said at all about Christopher Dodd’s strikingly similar suck-up to Robert “KKK” Byrd on the floor of the Senate in 2004 after Byrd just cast his millionth roll call vote (or something):

    “I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great senator at any moment. Some were right for the time. Robert C. Byrd, in my view, would have been right at any time. He would have been right at the founding of this country. He would have been in the leadership crafting this Constitution. He would have been right during the great conflict of Civil War in this nation. He would have been right at the great moments of international threat we faced in the 20th century. I cannot think of a single moment in this Nation’s 220-plus year history where he would not have been a valuable asset to this country.[emphasis added]

    Your welcome in advance, Sandy.

  26. Jazz says:

    No one yet (to my knowlege) has risen from anonymity to confirm any suspicion that Biden is a racist, as happened in the macaca case where several members of Allen’s past confirmed that the macaca comment implied about what you suspected.

    I have nothing original to add about Biden being hoisted on his own petard WRT to being dismissive toward Obama, other than –

    – its gonna happen. Which, come to think of it, has also been said by others.

    However, the pillorying of Biden enhances the Hillarying of the Democratic primary – and that is a rather boring/depressing development, at least for me.

  27. Aaron says:

    Joe,

    Hadn’t ever seen that Dodd quote, which I guess sort of makes your point.

    And holy crap that’s bad. “Right at any time?” Sheesh. I agree that if you’re going to forgive Dodd as just buttering up the old coot on a momentous occasion, then you have to do the same for Lott.

    I’m willing to condemn both, and I don’t care what the occasion was. I take a pretty dim view of unduly gracious eulogies as well.

  28. Sandy Underpants says:

    I agree that Trent Lott got railroaded on that one. I also recall Bill Bennet getting hammered for his gambling habits, which as far as I know, weren’t illegal, dishonest, underhanded or harmful in any way.

    I think the ridiculousness cuts both ways. If the news is slow things seem to get blown up more. The timing really depends as well. If Biden has 60% of the vote going into January 08 and says this, it’s news. Right now he’s 1 of 49 candidates for an election that is 20 months away.

  29. bdm says:

    If I remember correctly, Senator Biden suffered from a ruptured anterior communicating artery aneursym which can frequently damage the frontal lobes. I think he has been goofy since (at least on TV).

  30. David K. says:

    I haven’t read anything about this particular instance, but i did want to address this one:

    I’ll take this one � how about when Trent Lott was sh*thammered as a racist and being forced from his Senate leadership position for complimenting Strom Thurmond at his 832nd birthday party with something like “If you were elected President back whenever, the country would be in better shape,� or some such (nevermind that then-Democrat Joe Lieberman praised Thurmond at the same event as “an institution within an institution� and a “man of iron with a heart of gold.�

    Um, except that Thurmonds platform was specifically sgregationist, so no, its not out of line to think that is racist. Complimenting Thurmond was NOT the problem, which is why Lieberman wasn’t slammed, it was complimenting him at a time when he was basically racist. The same would hold true if you complimented Byrd for WHEN he was in the KKK.

  31. Brendan Loy says:

    While I agree with you, David, in reference to Lieberman’s quote vs. Lott’s, I don’t think you can so easily dismiss Dodd’s quote. Again: “I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great senator at any moment. … I cannot think of a single moment in this Nation’s 220-plus year history where he would not have been a valuable asset to this country.” By definition, wouldn’t “[every] single moment” include the moments when he was in the KKK?

    I do think Lott’s is worse than Dodd’s, because he was specifically talking about the “moment” when Thurmond was segregationist… but it’s not worse by a wide margin. In hax0r terms, I’d say it’s Lott < Dodd <<<< Lieberman. (I know, you're SHOCKED that I would defend Lieberman... hehe.)

  32. Joe Mama says:

    Complimenting Thurmond was NOT the problem, which is why Lieberman wasn’t slammed, it was complimenting him at a time when he was basically racist. The same would hold true if you complimented Byrd for WHEN he was in the KKK.

    Really? The man who Lieberman believes had a “heart of gold” said in 1948 while running for President, “All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the nigger into our homes, our schools, our churches.” Just sayin’.

    And I don’t see where Dodd was so clearly delineating between Bryd the former Klansmen and the Byrd of today (who only a couple of years ago used the word “nigger” in a TV interview). Any fair reading of Dodd’s quote above suggests that no such segmentation of Byrd’s career was intended (…he would have been a great senator at any moment. … I cannot think of a single moment in this Nation’s 220-plus year history where he would not have been a valuable asset to this country.). In fact, it would seem that Dodd believes a man who once wore the white sheets and hood of the KKK while participating in sick racist ceremonies and terrorizing people of color would have been right for a place in the U.S. Senate at any time in our nation’s history.

    Of course, I don’t begrudge Lieberman or Dodd their remarks because they were doing exactly what Lott was trying to do — praise the long service of a fellow Senator. Trying to justify faux outrage at one while blithely dismissing the others requires slicing the baloney so thin as to be practically invisible.

  33. Alasdair says:

    Joe Mama – David (and the rest of the BDSers) suffers from an inability to understand a remarkably simple concept …

    “A Good Deed done in an Evil Name remains a Good Deed. An Evil Deed done in a Good Name remains an Evil Deed.”

    As long as they are not yet able to understand something so simple, they are trapped into the mode which knee-jerk-condemns Republicans and knee-jerk-supports Democrats …

  34. David K. says:

    Once again Alasdair comes by and leaves us with absolutely nothing of value.

    Joe Mama, I wasn’t defending or attacking Dodd’s comment, as Brendan pointed out Dodd’s comment wasn’t much better than Lott’s. I was however that Lott’s comment wasn’t somehow innocent and taken out of context, the context was the whole point, he specifically praised the man for his position at a time when his position was centered around the idea of segregation. Dodd’s comment is completely irrelavent as to whether Lott’s was wrong.

  35. Joe Mama says:

    I know you were neither defending nor attacking Dodd’s comment, David, and that is precisely my point. Ignoring what Dodd said while castigating Lott for saying more or less the same thing wreaks of selective outrage. You are correct that Dodd’s comment is irrelevent as to whether Lott’s was wrong, and of course I never said or implied otherwise. Rather, what I’m saying is that if you’re going to condemn one and ignore the other for more or less the same thing (and as I made clear above, the thin distinction you try to draw between Lott’s praise of Thurmond and Dodd’s praise of Byrd is a little too convenient for me), then you’re not going to have too much credibility on this issue IMHO. While I’m not inclined to condemn both as Aaron does (like I said, I think they both were just praising the long service of an old-as-dirt Senator), at least Aaron is consistent.

  36. Joe Mama says:

    Let me put it another way: Accepting Brendan’s premise that Lott’s comment is indeed worse than Dodd’s “but not by a wide margin,” is that margin still wide enough for Lott to be decried as a racist for days (weeks?) on end and ultimately forced from his leadership position while Dodd’s comments barely registered as a story (e.g., Aaron, who sounds like an intelligent guy who keeps up on things, hadn’t ever seen that Dodd quote until I posted it)?

  37. David K. says:

    Again, Joe Mama, you are ignoring my point completely. I am not defending nor attacking Dodd’s position, I am attacking yours that Lott’s treatment was somehow unfair based on what he said. If you want to argue that Dodd deserved more criticism, fine, be my guest, but if you even want to START that discussion its completely disingenous to base it on Lott’s comment being so innocent.