I’m beginning to think politics in the YouTube/blogging Age is remarkably efficient. Here we have motormouth-plagiarizer Joe Biden’s campaign over the day he announces it, thanks to his junior-high snarky comments about his fellow candidates, especially Barack Obama, whom he praised as being “articulate” and “clean.” The world is too dangerous a place for someone this incautious when speaking into a reporter’s recording device. I was particularly irritated at Biden’s winky-winky apology on John Stewart’s Daily Show, which only compounded the insult.
By comparison, Obama’s response was grounded and graceful. Here it is in its entirety:
I didn’t take Senator Biden’s comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate. African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate.
If Obama can maintain this sort of wise presence throughout a long campaign, I doubt we will be hearing much about his so-called lack of experience a year from now. Joe Biden’s years in the Senate did not protect him from crashing his campaign on the first day. Maybe what really counts in a presidential campaign is how a candidate distills his (or her) life experience into character. By that measure, Obama is looking pretty good so far.
Newsweek, Salon, and USA Today have pithy coverage of the meltdown. Even more fun are the long threads of comments like this one after a Chicago Tribune column nicely titled “The Swamp.” Relentless, personal commentary instantly available on the internet makes for quick turns of fate these days.