Joe…Doh!

Of all of the potential 2008 presidential candidates on the Democratic side, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden has been in my top 5 (Gore, Warner, and Edwards being one through three). Biden always comes across as very articulate, often times blunt, and usually seems more knowledgeable about issues across the board than almost any other senator. The biggest dent in Biden’s armor (until today that is) has been the fact that he had Kavvya’ed someone during a previous presidential run:

Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a U.S. senator from Delaware, was driven from the nomination battle after delivering, without attribution, passages from a speech by British Labor party leader Neil Kinnock. A barrage of subsidiary revelations by the press also contributed to Biden’s withdrawal: a serious plagiarism incident involving Biden during his law school years; the senator’s boastful exaggerations of his academic record at a New Hampshire campaign event; and the discovery of other quotations in Biden’s speeches pilfered from past Democratic politicians. [Link]

<

p>

Today he may have topped that blemish, at least for a certain segment of the voters, by shoving his foot all the way up his mouth [via the News Tab]:

C-Span cameras caught him telling an Indian-American activist that Indian-Americans are the fastest-growing immigrant group in Delaware.

In fact, Biden said, “You cannot go into a Dunkin Donuts or a 7-Eleven unless you have a slight Indian accent…” [Link]

<

p>

You will remember that another presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, made a similarly stupid remark in 2004.

Update: Please don’t start an email or letter writing campaign :) . This may have just been a very poorly executed joke on Biden’s part.

94 thoughts on “Joe…Doh!

  1. The best alternative is clearly Obama; he may not win but just being nominated would change the image of Democrats as out of touch, elitist, white liberals from the Coasts.

    But looking at Barack is like looking at a 12 year old in a room full of adults. He just doesn’t have the experience. And what has he done, what are his positions? I don’t know anything about him other than he’s charismatic and has been annointed the dems next great hope. The more I learn about her, the more it upsets me that Granhomme, gov of Michigan is a naturalized citizen from Canada. I actually think, if you are going for a female candidate, that she would make a much better one than Ms. Clinton. I also think you can’t get past the red state factor. The dems basically have to nominate someone who can swing a republican state in their favor, and I’m not sure any of the people in the field have that ability.

  2. Why settle for someone like Hillary, Obama, Biden or Condi Rice when you have McCain. Just don’t look at the recent past. Every republican candidate who wants to win in the deep south has to do some things that arenot be palatable to some of us but his long record clearly proves that he will be a good-great President. The only other candidate that should be considered if he decides to run is Chuck Hagel.

    Sriram, Let us see if the governor of Michigan can win her second term. I also think she was born in Canada and cannot be the President. I might be wrong on this.

  3. Nara — McCain felt the need to kiss the ring of Jerry Falwell in order to be annointed presentable by the right. I think I’ll pass: we need — not to mention deserve — someone with more balls than that.

  4. BarMaid,

    As I said, any republican candidate who wants to win in the South has to do some things that will not be approved by some of us. But overall his record on Campaign Finance, National security, fiscal discipline and more importantly his ability to work with people from the other side tell me he will be a good to great President.

    Also, can you tell me a better candidate – one who can win and also has a comparable record. Please not Hillary.

  5. Barmaid & Nara

    McCain felt the need to kiss the ring of Jerry Falwell

    Realpolitick is ugly. Lets see how many Dems kiss Sharpton’s ring.

  6. You’re joking right? About Powell? Right? Your party wingnuts publicly BBQd him so dishonorably, I mean, you have got to be kidding, right?

    I no fan of Powell but I think he’s still retained much stature among the american center. If you mean he was publicly BBQd b/c of his role in the WMD debacle, especially the UN presentation, I think he’s only really lost credibility among people who wouldn’t vote for him anyway. After all, Saddams desire for and use of to WMDs cannot simply be reduced to “he had no WMD’s,” as your party’s wingnuts would have us believe.

  7. Just throwing a bone out for Warner. Most Americans just want something basic from the presient– competence and no bs. Warner’s that. He would take out Allen if he ran for Senate in Virginia, easily. Self-made man (out-Edwards Edwards), good with technology (can out-Gore Gore). Southerner with roots in the midwest, (out-”red-state” any red-stater). Was a Governor, not a Senator , and actually managed to convince a republican-controlled state legislature to raise taxes. He actually has a vision for the democrats too (unlike Feingold), that’s not your traditional democratic vision (like Clinton or Obama). I’m biased, from Virginia, but there’s a good reason why he’s a top candidate. Lack of foreign policy experience can either work with him or against him (he does have national security cred… 9/11 hit the Pentagon too), but considering the only candidate on the Republican side with tangible foreign policy cred is McCain, that might not be a problem.

  8. hey Manju,

    Do not compare Sharpton to Falwell. Sharpton may be dope hwo is full of hotair but Fallwell? I mean come on look at his hatefull statements about muslims and homosexuals and AIDS and then get back to me.

    And Powell? Id like to see some reclacitrance first. There is no way he is ever going to be elcted with that tape of the UN speech so readily available. Sure he was just the messenger, but they shoot those dont they?

  9. After all, Saddams desire for and use of to WMDs cannot simply be reduced to “he had no WMD’s,” as your party’s wingnuts would have us believe.

    I am no fan of the current Democratic party, (which is neither Democratic nor much of a party) but please don’t tell me that this administration did not hype (not lie)the case for war. They used Powell’s stature to make the case for war and then pushed him aside because he was not a loyalist. I support the war but not the hype that preceded it nor it’s execution. There were good reasons for the war but this administration did not have the necessary personnel to make the case for it. Condi with her mushroon clouds, Cheney with his confidence , Wolfowitz and Rummy with their condescending attitudes were definitely not upto the task. Anyone willing to speak the truth was quickly dumped (remember Lawrence Lindsay and Gen. Shinseki)

    I no fan of Powell

    It is exactly the likes of Powell that are required to bring Conservatism back to its roots. I feel McCain, a supporter of the war, has the rhetorical tools to make case for a difficult and long but necessary war. Ask yourself this question – If President Bush stands up today and says that the North Korean/Iran threat is imminent, how many people will believe him. Not many, in my judgement. So let us hope the future of the republican party is in the mold of Powell and McCain and hope the adminsitration led by Karl Rove is coming to an end in 08.

  10. I didn’t get a chance to read the other comments, but I feel like this is a bit hypocritcal of a post – if he were a Republican, you guys would be all over him, calling him racist and urging letter-writing campaigns. But like Hillary, because he is a Democrat, you assume it was his attempt at a lame joke…

  11. I didn’t get a chance to read the other comments…

    That is ALWAYS a good first step.

  12. Manish V- your comment on Edwards and C-sections was sharp and incisive – pun intended!

    I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, Nara – McCain is most definitely not the conservative messiah – no one who could come up with McCain-Feingold understands any roots of conservatism, but I could be wrong. He could surprise me in the primaries.

    OT, but: Hey, did you guys hold some kind of fundraiser without me? What if you have issues with the Paypal (don’t ask) – how to donate, eh?

  13. I mean come on look at Falwell’s hatefull statements about muslims and homosexuals and AIDS and then get back to me.

    It was very similiar to the late Pope’s views on muslims and homosexuals. But when he died, the world’s who’s-who attended the funeral, there was nothing on TV for at least four days and statements eulogising him were made by leaders of most nations. Heck, India declared a mourning holiday!

    The current Pope’s views are not so different.

    M. Nam

  14. MD, The arguments I have heard against McCain-Feingold have all been flimsy. The only intersting one came from my favorite columnist George Will – it rations political speech which costs money. everything else was too partisan for me to pay any attention. But the corruption prevalent on both sides (mainly republican this time) makes the bill a necessary step, and only a step, in the right direction. To oppose almost every republican and take this on and then get it passed takes guts and he did it.

    Can we name anything else that would make him a bad conservative? He is pro-life, supports a robust military, is for limited government,for fiscal discipline, supports sensible immigration policy and supports the good kind of states rights and actually served in the military. Can we name another republican, heck another candidate, with his credentials.

  15. Since this is a thread on Biden’s mishap, I think it’s worth noting that Mccain regularly uses the term “gooks” to refer to his Vietnamese wartime captors. The press has given him a pass b/c of his POW status and rarely reports it.

    I guess there is some consistency here as context and power relations are the reasons given to inconsistantly condemn some for racism and give others a pass, which I think is Siddhartha’s cryptic point in post #64.

    It’s a plausable argument. Black racism does not have the same context as white racism for example. So in a way, maybe the press thinks McCain is speaking truth to power, or something.

  16. I didn’t get a chance to read the other comments, but I feel like this is a bit hypocritcal of a post – if he were a Republican, you guys would be all over him, calling him racist and urging letter-writing campaigns. But like Hillary, because he is a Democrat, you assume it was his attempt at a lame joke…

    Your right! I hope he apologizes for Indians having accents.

  17. I didn’t get a chance to read the other comments,

    Then do us all (yourself included) a favor and don’t comment.

    but I feel like this is a bit hypocritcal of a post – if he were a Republican, you guys would be all over him, calling him racist and urging letter-writing campaigns.

    My, your clairvoyance is astounding. I wish I could perceive what this blog would do in hypothetical situations like you can.

    But like Hillary, because he is a Democrat, you assume it was his attempt at a lame joke…

    Oh, there’s some assuming going on here, but it’s not being done by those whom you’re pointing your finger at…

  18. Ok, ok, calm down.

    I typed a little too fast. When I said “I haven’t read the other comments,” I meant to say sorry if I’m repeating another comment. I was really addressing the post itself, not the comments, so I didn’t feel it necessary to read the comments first.

    My comment about “what the blog would do” in a hypothetical situation was based on prior posts dealing with similar comments made by public officials or commentators.

    I agree Manju, that there is a context issue. For example, when those radio show hosts in NJ made offensive comments I understood why this blog and others urged letter-writing because there was a particular context involved there. On the flip side, I can see how because Biden made his comment while commending an Indian-American there is a different context involved and perhpas this context indicates he did not mean it offensively, and perhaps did it as a joke. I just wanted to point out something to be aware of that and to say we should not call something offensive or racist only when we do not like the speaker or his or her views…

  19. The Indian American Republican Committee has weighed in on the Biden gaffe (see press release below). Apparently, their leader (Dr. Vijay) takes greatest offense at Biden suggesting that all Indian Americans work at 7-Eleven or Dunkin’ Donuts.

    I have no problem with politicos taking advantage of the other party’s stupid remarks for political gain. That type of spin is part of the game. But what’s with the elitist sh*t? I’m a little sick of the pre-1985, highly educated immigrating professionals’ attitude toward more recent Desi migrants, some of whom have become small business owners and staff their mom-and-pop stores with family members. I’m especially disgusted by Indian American doctors with little connection to the community outside of their close-knit professional associations voting Republican because it’s in the best interests of their own financial accounts, but then fronting as if they have the best interests of the entire Indian community at heart.

    Anyway, here’s the IARC’s statement:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jack Hession – (202) 347-1223 IARC Administrator

    July 6, 2006

    Biden Insults Indian Americans

     Washington, D.C. - IARC Chairman Dr. Vijay blasted Senator Joe Biden for his ridiculous comments about Indian Americans, which were posted for the first time today online. 
    
     "Joe Biden has a history of making insensitive and inappropriate remarks," said Dr. Vijay. "But even for him, this recent gaffe is clearly over the top. But this isn't the first time a Senate Democrat has insulted Indian Americans. In 2004, Senator John Kerry referred to Sikhs as terrorists and Senator Hillary Clinton jokingly referred to Mahatma Gandhi as a gas station owner. A clear double-standard in the mainstream media will likely ensure Senator Biden gets a pass over these comments that would get a Republican in deep trouble if he ever made a similar statement." 
    
     In the video clip posted on National Journal's website today, Senator Biden says: 
    
     "In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking." 
    
     "Senator Biden will be surprised to hear that I am a cardiothoracic surgeon, leading a national association of Indian Americans who are physicians, attorneys, and small business owners. It's amazing to know we don't all work at Dunkin Donuts or the local 7/11. The contributions to America by Indian Americans in the fields of medicine, education, science, and business have been well-documented. We're not asking Senator Biden to apologize for his embarrassing, stereotypical comments. However, we do appreciate knowing what he really thinks of his Indian American constituents in Delaware." 
    
  20. oh geez not Mit. I really am no McCain fan ( was until he siggidy-sold out during fake election 2004) but Romeny? First of all we cant fit all his kids ( mormon) in the white house, they’re gonna have to put a trailer in the driveway for all the romney seed. Secondly he is a sl;ipperly politcal animal that guy. at least McCain HAD shown some backbone and independance. Anyone from the Commonwealth will tell you that Romney is securly in a bunch of backpockets, like he was a tin of Skoal or something. Also, his hair scared me. That said…they might run ‘em…but considering we’ve only had one Catholic prez, I dont see Mormon happening

  21. Nara – rationing political speech is a pretty big no-no for me. It’s no theoretical objection on my part- the more speech is regulated, the less free it gets. I just don’t like it. This crosses the line for me, personally, but I accept that others disagree.

    Like all political creatures (and I respect his service very much, but still) he is a slippery animal. NOw that it’s closer to the presidential run, he’s making all the right sounds and noises, but he’s too nanny state for me. His performance at the baseball steroid hearings was an embarrassment. We’ve already had enough compassionate conservatism. He likes to be popular, which worries me.

    Give me Guiliani any day of the week over McCain.

  22. Do you guys know about 1968? that’s probably the closest recent analogy for this election–particularly if you put it in the context of the razor-thin 1960 election that Kennedy probably stole. The Republican coalition is fracturing and may tear themselves apart. I can see McCain maybe getting nominated, but it seems like the wingnuts in that party have gone crazy and wouldn’t do that eminently sensible–for their interests, not mine–thing. Pretty much everyone else is a non-starter.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats will have a real primary, probably come up with some cnadidate that’s okay but not spectacular, and then call it a day after winning or coming close (also probably not in my interests). They’ll almost certainly make a few gains in the House and the Senate. Regardless, the longerhtis Republican rule contineus, the more likely it is that hte Democrats are going to gain power in Congres s.

    Not that this will change much structurally in the u.s. centrist politics will contineu to move towards being more aimed at men, at developing benign but ultimately harmful solutions to immigrants as the new underclass, taking modest but not effective steps to deal with global warming, failing to comprehend the diminution of American power, etc. Maybe the Democrats would save New Orleans though–that would be nice.

    Anyway, I look forward to the day when political discussions in this country aren’t so fundamentally f@#ked up.

  23. My comment about “what the blog would do” in a hypothetical situation was based on prior posts dealing with similar comments made by public officials or commentators.

    Like which posts, specifically? Either put up or shut up: give an example in which some Republican has been criticized in a SM post for a comparable comment — and not for substantive reasons — and we can have a meaningful conversation.

    Give me Guiliani any day of the week over McCain.

    As a New Yorker, all I can say is that whoever you are, wherever you are — please, take him. And make sure he doesn’t come back.

  24. IARC tool Dr. Vijay said:

    “Senator Biden will be surprised to hear that I am a cardiothoracic surgeon, leading a national association of Indian Americans who are physicians, attorneys, and small business owners. It’s amazing to know we don’t all work at Dunkin Donuts or the local 7/11….”

    No wonder Republicans are running our country into the ditch — this response doesn’t even have basic, 7th grade logic on its side. The essence of Biden’s stupid comment wasn’t that all Indians work in Dunkin’ Donuts/7-11, it was that all Dunkin’ Donuts/7-11 workers are Indian. Definitely not letting that guy operate on me….

  25. Whatever, New Yorker. I’d be happy to take Guiliani here in Boston, which….no wait. Siddhartha has banned me from Boston bashing comments. That gun buy back program by Menino just rocked, though. That ought to stop all the violence.

    Ak – what Biden said was that you cannot even get into a 7-11 without an Indian accent, which is just tortured and wierd and cringingly bad small talk. That’s what you get for tooling around (better word for Biden than Dr. Vijay) around Washington all these years.

    If Dr. Vijay is a Republican tool, who is an Indian-American Democratic tool? Any names?

  26. I for one can’t think of one good reason why Democrats would want to win elections and rule America in the coming years. If they had any sense in them, they would plan to lose by a small margin, allege election fraud, and thumb their Republicans for the next four years by needling them endlessless on all issues.

    If they win, they will inherit a country at war, a housing bust and an economy on the verge of a recession. They will inherit a runaway fiscal deficit.

    A section of wide-eyed Libertarians came on to the Bush administration and tried to reform the finances by cutting back on needless expenditure. They found that the system is so rigged, so mired with self-serving bureaucrats and special interest groups that it could be fixed. So these Libertarians did the next best thing: They installed their own moles everywhere, and increased spending and wasteage rampantly, in the process guaranteeing that the system would become bankrupt and self-destruct sooner or later. They’ve increased corruption to levels un-imaginable since the history of this country. If we can’t fix it – we’ll set it up for destruction.

    Would the Democrats like to inherit this? Are they insane? Then again, come to think of it…

    M. Nam

  27. Line in previous post should be read as: They found that the system is so rigged, so mired with self-serving bureaucrats and special interest groups that it could’nt be fixed.

    M. Nam

  28. I’d take Mitt Romney over McCain as the Republican nominee

    BarMaid I will admit I don’t know much about Mr. Romney. I am impressed by the fact that he won in MA the most liberal state in the union (I heard other people and pundits call it that. i do not really have any proof that it is more liberal than Vermont). I know that he was associated with either Office depot or Staples and was partly responsible for it’s current state.

    so you might be right and he might be a better candidate but I am missing the wow factor that I need to convince me that he is better than McCain. I am willing to be eduacted.

    Give me Guiliani any day of the week over McCain.

    MD,

    Having lived in NY for over 5 years when Guiliani made this city livable, I for the most part agree with you. But I think he tends to be a little rough around the edges. I like him as attorney general initially and President in 4/8 years. I don’t think he is that old.

    I think his skills as a diplomat can at best be described as questionable.His foreign policy experience is non-existent and this bothers me because of the current situation.I generally don’t like guilt by association but this whole Kerik conviction is troublesome.

  29. They’ve increased corruption to levels un-imaginable since the history of this country. If we can’t fix it – we’ll set it up for destruction.

    The League of Shadows is behind this. I know it. Batman will save us :)

  30. Moor Nam, are you serious with all that doom and gloom economic talk? Corruption at an all time high in this country? Does anyone read any history books that go back beyond the 60s anymore?

    Nara

    Guiliani could add Rice to the ticket :)

    Romney has been so-so as governor, but he has so little to work with in this state. Loss of population two years in a row, and you still can’t wake up the government. It’s so 1972 around here. Okay, not entirely. Things have improved in the past few years, but it’s still a highly regulated, stiff, sclerotic place and high housing prices, while flattening out in recent times, are hampering growth in Mass. Who on earth would want to do business here? Oh, crap. Siddharth is going to kill me….I said things have improved, haven’t I?

    (Now, that should really get people riled up…..three, two, one……)

  31. The League of Shadows is behind this. I know it. Batman will save us :)

    Are you sure Batman can save you from Ragnar Danneskjoold?

    Moor Nam, are you serious with all that doom and gloom economic talk?

    What Doom and Gloom? This is good news! Libertarians in the administration are only advancing the timeline – instead of events happening 20 years down the line, they will happen three years down the line. Housing should go down. Un-necessary govt departments should fold due to lack of finances. Social Security/Welfare should collapse. The dollar should fall. I see no reason why a Chinese peasant should make less money than an American farmer or why an Indian programmer should make 1/10th of an American programmer. The whole point of globalisation is equalisation of remuneration for the same work.

    Agreed that if something happens in three sudden years it will be painful. But it will only sow the seeds for the next expansion of the world economy, led by America.

    M. Nam

  32. Guiliani could add Rice to the ticket :)

    And the curent stench from the white house will continue :) .

  33. I thought the point behind globalization was economic freedom, not equalization per se. That sounds awfully, er, socialistic for you Moor Nam :)

  34. Having lived in NY for over 5 years when Guiliani made this city livable, I for the most part agree with you. But I think he tends to be a little rough around the edges. I like him as attorney general initially and President in 4/8 years. I don’t think he is that old.

    Yes, perhaps he could oversee the locking up of young Black and Latino men all over the country and install Manhattan Institute staff in the Cabinet.

  35. MD — I don’t recall defending Biden’s comment, and don’t necessarily disagree with your characterization of it at all. But the way in which Dr. Vijay has reinterpreted that comment is telling, for all of the reasons discussed by TheenPathi. And there is indeed a knee-jerk, half-baked quality to Dr. Vijay’s statement that is tool-like — these kinds of really matters so much less than substantive positions on real issues. But apparently Dr. Vijay has nothing to say about that. I’d frankly say the same thing if a desi Democrat fixated on a dumb comment by John McCain, rather than focusing on his lack of backbone on substantive issues that matter.

    Incidentally, the guy actually goes by “Dr. Vijay”? Inevitably evokes an image of a desi Dr. Phil. Bleccch. ;)

  36. sorry, sentence in previous comment should have read “these kinds of comments really matter so much less….”

  37. I really do not understand the big fuss about this whole issue.

    Have you ever seen a Hindi movie which does not overtly ridicule the accent, mannerisms, clothing, skin color of a South Indian character? Every body laughs about it all over India eventhough the same bit or character may play to a silent audience in South India. So much for trying to search for racism in Joe’s comments. Since when did we become so hyper senstive about it.

    Have you ever heard an Indian song (regardless of the language) not praise the “gori” skin ladki or not ridicule the “kali” skin ladki. So much again for racism.

    Have you ever seen a matrimonial ads from Men seeking brides which does not start with a “looking for a fair, slim…blah blah.. girl” or women describing fair complexion (as an asset/adjective) when they post the ad. Now tell me either one is really dumb if fair is not equal to white (in a relative term). So much hoopla about racism.

    Why am I giving the above examples just to show that how racist we are in the first place and how we practice it so shamelessly back home in our day to day life and of course over here too. So why complain ? In fact Joe is not a racist as such and most of us know – wait now that is a stretch.. alright some of us know what racism is really about..

    My advice therefore is to not get carried away by being hyper sensitive but start the change within before we complain about others….

    That is my 2 cents and I will get off the soapbox now..

  38. Actually people really should watch the lengthier clip – Biden does go on to mention that 30% of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are Indian-American: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG8RUP31oIY While I agree that that the reference to 7-Elevens and Indian accents is stereotypical and offensive, it’s not as if Biden is unaware of the success and economic diversity of the South Asian American community.

  39. 83 · MoorNam said

    The whole point of globalisation is equalisation of remuneration for the same work.

    moornam, with the copious volume of, er, “wisdom” that you so generously share, it is hard to surpass yourself, but this time you have. the “point” of globalization, as it were, is to leverage comparative advantage to maximize the value of your money, not to equalize remuneration or any such thing.

  40. Pingback: Joe Biden Imitates an Indian Accent during NH Speech « Lakshmi Gandhi's Blog