Sen. Joe Biden was set to begin his2008 presidential run today, but he has put his foot in his mouth instead. Biden made a few choice, pretty much unwise either way, comments regarding fellow Sen. Barack Obama and his presidential bid. I am not so sure what he said is not just a slip of the tongue or has been inaccurately reported. (See Sen. John Kerry’s “tearful” ending of his 2008 presidential bid as proof of the press’ frequent stretching of the truth for the sake of a good story.) But more on what I think about it after I quote from the interview.
“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.”The knee jerk reaction --and not just among conservatives, I hasten to add-- is that Biden’s use of the word “clean” is a racist implication that ost blacks are dirty. Matt Drudge and a ton of bloggers have jumped on that bandwagon to one degree or another. I have not searched around a whole lot yet, but I am sure there are long posts out there right now talking about Sen. Trent Lott’s supposed embracing of segregation at en. Strom Thurmond’s birthday party years ago and Sen. Robert Byrd’s use of the n-word on Meet the Press back in the late ’90’s. If I had to further guess, there is commentary that the left gets a free pass, as yrd did, while conservatives are hounded forever, as Lott is.
I think that is unnecessary talk here. A big reason is that Biden is not a serious presidential contender, so who cares? But the main one is I do not think he meant what it sounds like. I believe by clean, he meant no skeletons in the closet. Consider in recent years black presidential candidates have been Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Amb. Alan Keyes. All have some sort of baggage, either scandalous or are totally out of the mainstream. I am not a big fan of Biden by any stretch, but I have to cut him some slack here. He surely could have choen his words carefully, but I do not think he deserves a firestorm about this. It was agenuine compliment about his colleague.