Thursday, April 30, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden went on NBC's "Today" show this morning and said that he would avoid taking commercial flights or riding in a subway car, because the swine flu can spread "in confined places."
An hour later, Biden modified his statement.
The airlines, not exactly flush with capital at the moment, can't be happy.
At least the VPOTUS can take comfort in the fact that this will quickly be forgotten, as compared to, say, if Dan Quayle had made the same statement under the same conditions.
That said, I wonder what the early line is for Biden's inclusion on the ticket again in 2012?
UPDATE: Via Hot Air, ABC's Jake Tapper asks WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs what Biden meant, hilarity ensues.
TOP of the list. He's freaking perfect. A virtual lock that no one would touch Obama, lest they wind up with this clown. Hell, the only thing BHO is doing wrong here is not making this guy wear the orange nose, frilly collar, and Mad Mag 'Don Martin' cartoon hair.
To me, Joe Biden represents everything that's bad about our politicians. Biden is so pathologically deluded that he thinks he's actually special and brilliant. He actually believes he's for the common man -- and not just a tool of the likes of MBNA and AIPAC.
In the 2008 campaign he was a strident critic of Bush and the Iraq war, while in 2002 you couldn't have found a bigger cheerleader .... as head of a Senate Committee he kept US weapons inspectors from testifying that they were 90% sure that Saddam didn't have WMD.
He pretends to be a guy with lunch-pail Reading PA roots, but his son is now a lobbyist.
1. Biden's comment on the Today show is just common sense. Have we reached the point where we ignore common sense for profit or political reasons?
Don't bother responding to my question. I already know the answer.
2. To Link
Re: "Reading PA roots"
Biden was born in Scranton, not Reading. I lived in Reading when Atty. Gen. Bobby Kennedy called it one of the most corrupt cities in America. Reading had the chummiest, biggest-hearted hoodlums on the planet in those days. I used to go bar hopping with the head of the city police department's juvenile bureau because I wasn't old enough to buy a drink on my own.
I still have my college copy of "The Palm at the End of the Mind" by Wallace Stevens. Excellent work.
I do want to respond to your question. Politico is hardly a righty blog (and in fact my brother-in-law at AP would tell you that Politico recruited real reporters and has done a good job since inception), yet if you follow the link provided, you will read:
"These sorts of comments are what the Obama administration fears from Biden, who after more than three decades in Washington is known for making gaffes."
I don't think Carol E. Lee and Amie Parnes (the Politco reporters on this story) are trying to score political points. If anything, this makes it harder for them to have access to key WH people in the future.
If it was the right thing for Biden to say, why did the White House walk it back?
Taking care of my father, I am profoundly aware of infection risks and go through vats of Purell. But I would not think twice today about going on a Southwest Air flight somewhere, or taking the Broad Steet subway in Philly to go to see the Sixers-Magic game tonight. I have a much better chance of getting into a car accident than I do catching the swine flu, and probably a better chance of winning most lottery games than I do of catching the swine flu.
Of course use common sense. But the response has to be appropriate and proportional to the risk involved. Do we shut down air travel because of a risk of bird strikes (actually slightly higher than previously believed, as it turns out)? I am not sure how much "profit" the airlines are earning, anyway. Do we want to be like Egypt, which is "slaughtering its roughly 300,000 pigs Wednesday even though experts said swine flu is not linked to pigs and not spread by eating pork"? When the VPOTUS says, in effect, don't fly and don't take the subway, how is that commom sense?
The answer shouldn't be based on the question, WWWAD? (What would Woody Allen do?)
Being in Asia a fair amount, you are probably more sensitive to and aware of communicable disease issues as compared to most Stateside Americans (and, no, I don't mean STDs), but what would you have us do?
1. E81: "why did the White House walk it back?"
To keep people on the NYC subways, for one. NYC needs the money.
2. "What would you have us do?"
A. Frequent hand washing.
B. If everybody would back off, the whole thing (swine flu) would be over in a couple weeks.
I haven't had to see a doctor since 1968.
I really do not understand the hysteria around this. It has proved lethal in some Mexican slums in the early stages but as influenzas go, it does not seem very lethal, just fairly contagious.
I can't tell if the response is out of proportion, or the result of energized bureaucrats stimulated by a new world order, or the result of special scientific concerns.
Several layers of the administration 'restated' what this idiot said because he made an express statemetn that was not in line with what the President said. His answer should have been "as the President has stated, we should take the usual care to ... wash our hands, cover our mouth when coughing or sneezing, throwing tissues into waste receptacles, etc."
Instead, he said don't get on planes, subways, closed places for fear of contracting the swine flu.
This is NOT the type of poise we expect of the VPOTUS. The question should be a gimme, with a ready answer that is in synch with the messaging from the WH. The man truly needs to just keep his mouth shut. As much as I don't like Obama, I don't want him to fail, and it's embarrassaing to have such an idiot as the second in line.
Now, what should we do with those high-speed bullet trains that the President wanted to spend multi-billions to build? Should we still use them in flu seasons and confine us with a train load of passengers, some of whom may cough, or should we drive our gas-guzzlers to work?
I don't get where some of you folks are coming from.
Joe is a much more durable politician. He'll still be in office long after Number 1 is a distant memory. Number 1 is a strong campaigner, and is a better orator (with his teleprompter on). But Joe is smarter. Has a hotter wife too, just ask him.
By all rights, Biden should be our President. Ever since Ford (and may be even earlier), America needed a goofy white male Prez to lampoon at will.
Of course, we finally had to sacrifice the delicious prospects of McCain-Palin spectacle for the stale bread of minority empowerment, so Biden is the best we have to settle for at the moment.