Thursday, February 01, 2007

Way (not) to start a run

Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) recently announced his intentions to enter the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Within days, he may have already put himself out of contention, with nothing but the power of his mouth. Biden, who once said, "You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent," made new headlines by classifying opponent Barack Obama (D-Illinois) as being "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Apparently, in the world of Joe Biden, bathing is important for the position of Commander in Chief.

Of course, Biden later expressed regret over "any offense (his) remark in the New York Observer might have caused," but went on to point out that the definition of "clean" he was using was a synonym for "fresh". That still leaves Biden calling Obama the first smart, well-spoken, attractive, and fresh African-American candidate.

While there have definitely been times where Al Sharpton could call into question cleanliness simply because of his hair, I don't think you could ever really say that he, or Jesse Jackson before him were not truly clean. Or articulate. Hell, every once in awhile, I still hear Jesse Jackson in my head saying, "But the patch is not big enough." And he said that in 1988. Also, both Jackson and Sharpton, while maybe a little too eager to jump in on causes that aren't necessarily causes, are intelligent men, and they are at least trying to use their intellect to further the nation.

In the wake of his comments, Biden has made apologies, and also went so far as to say that he had "no doubt that Jesse Jackson and every other black leader... will know exactly what (he) meant." Great. Thanks, Joe. What about the African-Americans who may not have the high profile of Jackson, Moseley Braun, Sharpton or some others? Will they understand? Will they know that you weren't simply in awe of Barack Obama's personal grooming habits?

On a day where Al Franken tosses his name into the hat for a possible Minnesota Senate run, isn't it kind of sad to see the comedian a more serious candidate than the longtime politician?

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