Friday, July 6, 2007

Biden Bites Bloggers Back

Joe Biden sounds off on the blogosphere to Salon's Walter Shapiro (premium subscription may be required to access link):

I'll tell you what -- one of the things I'm not going to do. I'm not going to let that system alter who I am. For example, one of the things that happens is that the public is coming to grips with how to deal with this instant, unfiltered information that may be deliberately mis-edited.

But I think -- and this is naive maybe -- I have confidence that the American people will put this in perspective. Like when one of the bloggers said, "We're going to take back the Democratic Party."

They don't own the Democratic Party. What are they talking about? So, for example, my pointing out George Wallace from 1968 and quoting what he said, somebody could take that out of context and say "Biden quoted Wallace," making it sound like Biden is being favorable about Wallace.

At the end of the day, I think what happens is that people basically take a motion picture of their candidate and not a snapshot of their candidate. It's a little bit like the Barack comment. [Just as he was launching his presidential campaign in late January, Biden gave an interview in which he maladroitly referred to Obama as "articulate and bright and clean."]

Not a serious person in the press thought that I meant anything other than being complimentary. The good news is that I have a 34-year record on civil rights. Nobody, nobody could suggest that I was being prejudiced. But initially on the blogosphere, this was taken in a different context.
Biden also accused the blogosphere of making life impossible for Democratic candidates. Apparently, our continued demands that Democrats show some spine are a threat to the party. "You run the risk in a primary of appealing to the New Left, I'll call it, of the Democratic Party and putting the party nominee in the position he can't win a general election."

It's clear throughout the article that this guy honestly, sincerely believes that the blogosphere comprises the very same bearded activists that tanked McGovern in 1972. (Dude: That was 35 years ago. Most of today's bloggers were still in Miss Ashworth's sixth grade class, working on their spelling.) Shapiro's piece is shot through with this bias: Biden can't help making references to "very serious press people," making clear the strong distinction he draws between Real Journalists Who Must Be Listened To and those Dirty Unwashed Hippies.

But the best part is this: Having completely mischaracterized and insulted the progressive blogosphere, he then announces that he's going to show up at Yearly Kos later this month, specifically to take the ignorant New Left bloggers to school on Iraq, and explain to us why a withdrawal simply isn't feasible. (As if we're the only ones who think this. As if two-thirds the country, according to the polls, doesn't agree with us.)

Well. That's certainly something for all of us to look forward to. Why do I have a feeling that Joe is going to learn a hell of a lot more from that encounter than we will?