Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fact Free Coverage

The "Biden Gaffe" story has taken on a life of its own. I'm not saying that Biden isn't prone to stick his foot in his mouth, or make silly rhetorical errors, but just wanting to point out that the actual voters really don't care, they like the guy. Over at politico they toss Biden's "gaffes" in as a meaningful campaign issue, proof positive that Biden is not good for Obama on the campaign trail:

Biden’s events have seldom attracted more than a few thousand folks each, and his speeches and interviews seem to garner the most national attention when they include one of his trademark gaffes.
Here's the Globes Headline today following the same well worn path:
"Biden Gaffes Leave Democrats with Mixed Emotions." If you read the story, in the end, they don't have a single quote from an actual Democrat to back that up.

Here's an angry Jewish Voter reacting negatively to Biden's folksy style: More...
Joe Biden began his remarks to the National Jewish Democratic Council last week with a joke about how Jews like to argue.

The Yeshiva crew team, he said, sent a spy to Cambridge find out why the Harvard rowers always beat them. The informant called his coach from alongside the river. "He said, 'They've got eight guys rowing and only one yelling!' " he said, to laughter.

Biden can get away with this sort of mild ethnic humor - he is a four-decade veteran of political banter, an Irish Catholic from working class Scranton, Pa., and a politician who sometimes runs a little hot. Trudy Mason, a Democratic activist from New York, said his warmth nicely balances Obama's cooler demeanor.

"He speaks from the kishkas," she said, using the Yiddish word for "gut."

Here are some more worried Democrats:

But as he campaigned in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania last week, those who came to see him said they were familiar with some of Biden's recent stumbles, and they weren't bothered by them.

"He's authentic," said Janice Gorman-Weiss, a 48-year-old marketer and activist from Wyoming, Ohio, who came to hear Biden's foreign policy speech in Cincinnati last week. "I'm sick of people being perfectly polished so you're not even seeing the real person. If he says things that aren't exactly a perfect fit with what the campaign wants him to say, that's OK."

LaVerne Mitchell, a 58-year-old teacher and the former mayor of Lincoln Heights, Ohio, shrugged at the flap over Biden's criticism of the ad targeting McCain.

"You know what?" she said. "I don't want Obama and Biden to completely think alike - if they both think alike, they're going to miss something."

The article goes on to explain that folksiness and pathos, family stories and birth and death are really only legitimate on the campaign trail when Republicans use them. However, as it turns out, Biden's style (so over the top, sentimental, bombastic, etc...) seems actually to please the voters:

"Anybody who's ever lost a loved one can certainly identify with that," said Lauren Deemer, a 40-year-old certified nurse's aide from Greensburg.

"He's warm," said Madaline Waters, an elderly woman in the audience. "When he's talking, he throws a warm feeling out to you. He wants you to listen to what he's saying because he really, really believes it."

The crowds Biden attracted on the campaign trail last week looked much more like Hillary Clinton's than Obama's - hard-core Democrats, elderly folks, teachers, union members. Many said they saw Palin as hopelessly inexperienced and were raring for Biden to cut her to ribbons in tomorrow's debate. Their biggest fear is not that he will be too exuberant, but that he will hold back out of fear of seeming overbearing.

On the rope line in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Biden heard it again and again.

"You're taking her down, right?" Joe Barlow, a 35-year-old tech writer from Scranton, called out. He said Biden smiled, but said nothing.