Joe Biden, hurricane homeboy
Vice President Joe Biden swung through a storm-ravaged area of New Jersey on Sunday, and dropped another of his patented gaffe bombs: “So as the President said when he was up here with the Governor, we’re not going anywhere. We’re not – not! – going anywhere. And you’ve got a homeboy in the deal who gets it.”
Alex Pappas at the Daily Caller surmised that Biden was referring to his origins in the state of Delaware, which somehow makes him a “homeboy” to residents of every other Northeastern state, or at least the Tri-State area. It’s always tricky to guess what Joe Biden really means when he burbles out the kind of language that would instantly end any Republican’s career in public office, but that’s as good a guess as any.
And in truth, it’s clear that Biden had no malevolent or racist intentions; he was using (or, perhaps, abusing) a common turn of phrase to express his solidarity with hurricane victims in a humorous way. The problem isn’t that Democrats can get away with this sort of thing; the problem is that nobody else can. Joe Biden obviously doesn’t feel like he’s tiptoeing through a verbal minefield at every public appearance, but Republicans are made to feel that way, and sometimes it hinders their discourse.
Leftist politics grant an enormous presumption of good will among the media, and of course the racial pressure groups that reserve the exclusive power to define what constitutes “offensive” language. It’s an entirely political process, and it’s also entirely partisan. No Republican, not even a white Republican with a black husband or wife – not even a black Republican – would ever be indulged with a smile as the oldest, whitest Democrat male is. (A black Republican who declared himself to be a hurricane “homeboy” would probably be accused of racial pandering, followed by someone like Al Sharpton appearing on MSNBC to muse that said Republican isn’t really “black” anyway, because he or she wasn’t in tune with the authentic black inner-city experience.)
As for the substance of Biden’s comments, it remains simply astonishing that Barack Obama is able to claim the disastrous federal response to Hurricane Sandy as a political plus. In fact, numerous exit polls – and, according to Mitt Romney, private comments from Bill Clinton – suggest that Obama’s “hurricane response” was an important factor in tipping the election his way. But the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy are still in crisis, the federal response has been fumbling and inefficient, and Barack Obama hasn’t done much except swing by for a couple of photo ops. He used one of them to call for a national “conversation” about “climate change,” leaving the suffering folk of Staten Island to growl that they don’t “have a day to waste while he walks around and makes a speech.”
Meanwhile, President Obama’s new best pal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, popped up on Saturday Night Live for a comedy routine that many of his half-frozen constituents couldn’t see, because they still don’t have power. The heroic media narrative surrounding these hurricane “homeboys” couldn’t be further from reality.