Ha! That lovable rogue Joe Biden has done it again! You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. This week, on Oh, That Biden!, he slipped into that down home, faux-black accent that Democratic politicians love to use when they’re speaking to black audiences. It’s a way of saying that they’re down with the Negro dialect, that some of their best friends might be black, or at least have black household help. And what did Biden say while he was patronizing those people by talking like a guest star in a Tyler Perry movie? Why, he implied that Mitt Romney wanted to bring back slavery! Oh, that Biden!
Speaking to a largely, though not entirely, black audience, Biden said that Mitt Romney wants “to let the big banks once again write their own rules—unchain Wall Street!” Then, slipping into that black dialect: “They gon’ put y’all back in chains.” Das right! He went there, girlfriend! Good Lord, the condescension is so thick you could walk on it.
Now the fact is that some of Biden’s gaffes are nothing more than the harmless side effect of having too much speaking time and too little brainpower. Lines like “The President has a big stick” when discussing foreign policy, or telling the nation that President Roosevelt went on TV to address the nation four years before he became President…well, it’s kind of like watching Homer Simpson in the real world.
This should make anyone, regardless of party affiliation, nervous. Homer Simpson is one of the funniest characters in TV history, but he’s a cartoon. On TV. I.e., he doesn’t exist. Joe Biden is one heartbeat away from being the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world.
He does exist. He’s not a cartoon. And he is a blithering idiot.
Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle were persecuted by the media for far more innocuous statements. Dan Quayle was forever branded as a moron because he misspelled “potato.” It’s 20 years later and the only thing people remember about Dan Quayle is that he can’t spell “potato” and he was involved in an imbroglio over some liberal wet dream television show that nobody can remember.
Joe Biden? The Human Gaffe Machine is considered a statesman and foreign policy expert by the same media. A little eccentric, maybe, but that’s just Joe being Joe. In fact, Barack Obama selected Biden as his running mate because of Biden’s foreign policy acumen, despite the fact that Biden has been wrong on every foreign policy issue for the past 30 years.
Personally, I don’t care about Biden’s legitimate slips of the tongue. He gives a lot of speeches, and everybody flubs their lines on occasion. For example, in the same speech where he implied that Romney is a preppy version of Simon Legree, he proudly proclaimed “We can win North Carolina!” Unfortunately, he was speaking in Virginia. Anyone could make that mistake.
But Biden’s lengthy string of idiotic statements are more than just the drunken ramblings of Uncle Nutty at the family reunion. What Biden said about Romney was more than just a gaffe. From the faux-black accent to the nature of the aside, it is clear to me that this was not a gaffe at all. It was a dog whistle, meant to be heard only by a select few. Biden’s eternal idiocy gives him cover to speak in code to the base. If caught, it’s only “Crazy Uncle Joe meant to say something different and it came out wrong.” If not caught, so much the better.
Not every gaffe is a slip of the tongue. Some of them are messages. What Biden said in Virginia was one of the latter.