Let Joe be JoeAug 26, 2012
There is an important lesson to be learned since the now infamous "chains" gaffe. While the Vice President made an inference that was clearly off-key and offensive as a reminder of this country's history of slavery, the reaction in the media, the political punditry, and of those of both parties provides a snapshot of American politics in 2012. Politics in American has been reduced to sound bites and hyperbolic attention to that which can extracted for immediate sensationalism. Political sensationalism is hardly new to the political battle. Journalists have always looked for headline-making stories during a presidential race. But in today's world there is no let up, no break from the barrage reporting of gaffes, missteps, mistakes, and foot faults on the court of political competition. Every gaffe is fluffed and amplified to extract any possible sensationalism out of it. Washington D. C. knows Joe Biden and actually, likes him for his candor and authenticity. Joe is one who speaks from his heart. And yes, he has a reputation for stepping on his words, but this has also engendered a measure of trust, because he is not scripted politician. Politicians these days are so afraid to stray from the script that the public has little sense of who or what is authentic. Following the "chains" gaffe there was pundit chatter about whether or not Mr. Biden should remain on the ticket as Vice President. Now that kind of expert analysis seems funny to me. Do the media experts think that the public is unable to evaluate a gaffe from a man who has been in the public eye for decades and was known in the Senate for being both highly respected and gaffe prone? Mr. Biden has a reputation for being a straight shooter, as someone to be trusted, and someone who does not always corral his words for artful expression. Even if the Obama team was piqued by the gaffe, primarily because it fed into this never-ending cycle of sensationalism, the choo choo train of so-called experts have come to look silly with their inflated opinions that fill the airways. In America we are losing the thing that we market around the world as the most valuable characteristic of the nation, DEMOCRACY. Democracy is supposed to allow the voters an opportunity to get a sense of who a candidate is; both ON script and OFF script. Mr. Biden misspoke, but he is a real person. His "gaffes" remove him from the professional cadre of politicians who simply parrot what recent polls suggest is expeditious. Any sense of authenticity is being drilled out of the political system precisely because of the reaction to Joe Biden. Politicians are told that staying on script is the only way to win. Let's just put some software in to a computer and let the computer talk in front of a television camera using only talking points. The computer can then spout off the party plank and the key constituent issues from the home district along with a few tried and true remarks guaranteed to speak to the base. This is what the political parties, political campaigns, and politicians are headed for...automatons who are unable to think, compromise, critically analyze problems, and speak freely. I'll take Joe Biden instead. He is a real person. His gaffes are reflective of the fact that he isn't trying so hard to say the right thing. He strays off talking points because he actually engages with the people. Joe is authentic and real and often unscripted. He is the antithesis of what we lament in our politicians in 2012. The lesson to learn from Mr. Biden's gaffe is to remember that in our democracy we are seeking to elect a human being, not a script. The voters lament the vapid scripted candidates who say whatever is necessary to get elected. The public tires of the stale talking points that are given in the face of tough questions to real problems. Much better to have someone who "gaffes" occasionally and is authentic than someone who is running a software program. Let Joe Biden Be Joe Biden.
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