Thursday, February 1, 2007

Personal Asides: The Politics of Stupidity and of Double Standards…and Answers to Terry’s Presidential Trivia.



In 1997 Senator Joe Biden, running for president, became not only involved in plagiarism…plagiarism in politics is endemic…he appropriated not just Neil Kinnock’s words but his actual biography. Shortly after the disclosure, he opted out. Kinnock, the Labour party’s leader, was the son of a Wales coal-miner. He delivered a memorable address in England about his being the first in his family to have gone to college—and how he rose from poverty to head of his party. It was a brilliant address—so brilliant, in fact, that when presidential candidate Biden loosely adopted it as his own…not just the language but the up-from-poverty analogy…someone said to himself: I’ve heard that before—but where?

The idiocy of the Biden theft from Kinnock was not just the language but he appropriated Kinnock’s actual experience and applied it to himself. Biden is not a coal-miner’s son; he was born in comfortable circumstances, in a suburb, the son of a white-collar automobile salesman and the grandson of one who had been a well-known state senator in Pennsylvania. Besides, social rise is far more easily done here in the U. S. than in Britain. The audacity and plain stupidity of Biden…now the chairman of Senate Foreign Relations…to that theft became one of the grosses political blunders of the 20th century.

But now it’s the 21st so Joe Biden, outfitted with an artificial teeth-whitening process and hair-plugs—flashing a 1400 kilowatt smile—announced for president. In all the Senate which has more than its quota of phonies, Biden is the phoniest. Par for the course is the obligation to be gentlemanly to his presidential opponents—notably Barack Obama. Thi sis what Biden said about Obama in an interview given to the “New York Observer.” Understand now, he was trying…trying…to be complimentary.

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

At Mary Katherine Ham wrote: “A clean black man? The first black guy on the American political scene who can both shower regularlyl and speak properly?”

Expect Biden to do in the 21st century what he so appropriately did in the 20th—and that’s to get the hell out of the way. I’m far from a disciple of political correctness but these words are not just of one who misspoke (indeed, Biden acknowledges they are his correct words), they are lethally incompetent.

Double Standards.

That being said, there is among liberals an on-so-ultra-sensitive concern that a special accommodation be made for this season’s only African-American presidential candidate. I have always disliked special accommodations ever since I instituted one in the federal government, applying the set-aside program which favored minorities but which also, mistakenly (and I accept blame for it) appeared that minorities cannot compete in the marketplace without special leverage. My original proposal was for the set-aside to last ten years. As we all know, it will likely be with us forever. Notwithstanding that in some major aspects, I am the godfather of a brand of affirmative action, I feel those who want to apply set-aside privileges to Obama’s candidacy are wrong. Here are some of the traits of lamentable double standards that have occurred just recently.

* Use of his middle name, Hussein, is prejudicial. Thus to use the middle name of any other president or candidate for president is acceptable except his: John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard Milhous Nixon, Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jimmy (James Earl) Carter, Ronald Wilson Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, George Walker Bush. Hussein is prejudicial and its use reflects the user as a racist, bigot. Which means that in the 2008 campaign his will be the only middle name noted used.

* Any reference whatsoever to his education that may have involved Muslim orientation is verboten because it is racist or bigoted.

* There should be an end to any further inquiry as to the Muslim training he had. This because (a) he didn’t describe his education as different from any other in his two formal autobiographies and (b) it was disproved by an answer given by a CNN reporter who was assured by a deputy headmaster concerning the religious studies of the school 35 years ago that no such orientation existed.

* The mention of the possibility of his early radical training is verboten equated by the “Chicago Tribune” with the supposedly fallacious Swift Boat disclosures against John Kerry (which in itself was not disproved, only alleged as such), Kerry not revealing the records of his military service which would disprove Swift Boat allegations—records which he has held private.

* The published story by a magazine’s website, “Insight,” run under the aegis of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification church (as is “The Washington Times”) was strongly hinted by “The New York Times” as suspect, presumably because the church is supposedly off the beaten path of mainstream religious observance. Moon’s Unification church is a wacko group that marries whole auditoria full of people, one male to one female, of course.

* While Moon’s church and the publications financed by his church are wacko, such is far from the case with an establishment newspaper, regarded as one of the premier papers, financed by another church. I refer to the “Christian Science Monitor”—regarded as one of the major newspapers of the nation (which conveys a generally orthodox liberal bent)—which is the official organ of the Church of Christ Scientist. While the religion which does not believe that aging or death are inevitable, that illness is the result of fear, ignorance or sin and that when erroneous belief is corrected, all sickness will disappear, resisting the use of drugs and surgery; a church which, while not forbidding the use of medicine, resists it; its other publications extolling the “healing” of homosexuality, the “Monitor” is accepted as a great newspaper in good standing. You may think this is a case of double standard. Well, it isn’t. Just isn’t, that’s all. Isn’t. That is because the “Monitor” is a liberal newspaper that just happens not to overdo itself on writing obituaries.

* I repeat: anything that comes from a publication financed by Sun Myung Moon must be regarded as irresponsible whereas news that comes from the “Monitor” reflects the highest standards of newspaper excellence.

Terry’s Trivia.

Congratulations to those who got the correct answers to Terry Przbylski’s trivia questions. Question #1: Who were the last two presidents to outlive their wives? Answer: Richard Nixon who died at age 81in 1994—outliving Pat Nixon by 10 months and Herbert Hoover, who died at age 90 in 1964 who outlived Lou Henry Hoover by more than 20 years.

Question #2: Both Nixon and Reagan won 49 states when running for reelection. Who came closer to winning all 50 states? Answer: Reagan who lost Minnesota, Walter Mondale’s state, by fewer than 4,000 votes in 1984. Nixon lost Massachusetts by 220,000 votes to George McGovern in 1972.


  1. The Swiftvets nailed Kerry in a big lie in his Christmas in Cambodia myth, but the MSM was uninterested in this fable which was "seared" in Kerry's mind. The MSM was only interested in smearing the Swiftvets and rewriting history

  2. Instead of taking a page from Welsh Socialist Nial Kinnock, Senator Biden would have been better served quoting from the estimable bluesman Dr. Horse from his 1958 classic:

    'Jack, That Cat Was Clean! . . .'

  3. (1) Has Obama's campaign or anyone else requested that you do not use his middle name? Where do you see the middle names of the other 2008 candidates used with great frequency? (I thought Rodham was HC's maiden name.)
    (2) You can refer to his secondary education in Indonesia as frequently as you wish. It's only relevant in that the experience may have provided Sen. Obama with a global perspective at an earlier age than some of the other candidates. The same could apply to any Muslim training he may have had.
    (3) You're suggesting that Obama's campaign is able to influence the NY Times and Tribune's presentation of the Washington Times. I'd be surprised if Axlerod's group can pull that off. Seems more like the natural tendency of competitors to belittle.

  4. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
    At the risk of being 'Clintonesque' I think Biden's statement needs to be parsed properly, thusly:
    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American"
    This is true (or at least arguable) - no other black candidate for President could possibly be seen as 'mainstream'.
    The rest is a compliment to Obama:
    "who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
    That's not to say that the other black candidates weren't 'articulate', 'bright', 'clean' or even 'nice-looking'. It's just that they weren't 'mainstream'.
    I'm no fan of Obama (or of Biden) but this little tea-pot tempest has gotten out of hand.