The hyper-PC hyperventillation over the 'clean' compliment Joe Biden paid to Barack Obama is a case study in what's wrong with American politics.
We're a nation at war. And Joe Biden has some damn smart things to say about how we might end that war — namely moving toward a tri-partition of Iraq into self-policing ethnic and sectarian states overseen by a very loose federal government tasked with divvying up Iraq's oil revenues.
But instead of engaging in a serious discussion of whether that plan has a better chance for success than Hillary's troop "cap," or Obama's urgent redeployment, or the president's surge we've been treated by the media to a semantic debate over whether calling a black politician "clean," while praising him, is a signal of deep seated bigotry.
Listen. Joe Biden has a rogue tongue. He can be a refreshingly unscripted, unconsulted politician. But a consequence of that frankness is that he frequently says things, off the cuff, that would better have been left unsaid.
But it's not like he said Obama was raised in a Madrassa (see Fox News) or dresses like the madman president Tehran (see CNN). He was lauding Obama's "storybook" rise in American politics and called him "clean."
I have no idea what he meant by that. Clean shaven? Clean — as in not a dirty politician (hardly irrelevant for a pol from Chicago). But I think you have to have a pretty active, daresay paranoid, imagination to interpret Biden's remarks as saying Obama was "clean" as opposed to the other "dirty" black politicians who came before him.
Parsing an inadvertent adjective to invent a story of easy moral outrage is crap journalism. There are real stories about racial prejudice in America. This "clean" nonsense trivializes them. Biden's appologied. Obama says he never took offense.
Let's move on to matters of war and peace, shall we?