Slate Political Reporter: 'Joe Biden Is Gaffe-proof'

Slate political reporter, Christopher Beam, has come up with a bizarre analysis of Joe Biden's many gaffes: He is immune to the effects of gaffes because he makes so many of them.

I kid you not as you can read Beam's own words in defense of Biden (emphasis mine):

When Joe Biden described an Obama ad attacking John McCain's inability to use a computer as "terrible," the world acted as if the Joe-pocalypse had finally arrived. Jonathan Martin of Politico called it "perhaps his most off-message statement yet." Newsday dubbed him "gaffe-a-minute Joe." National Review's Victor Davis Hanson said it raised "serious concern whether Biden is up to the job."

Please. Biden's blunder couldn't matter less. Not because gaffes never matter—they can, if they play into public perceptions of the candidate's character—but because Joe Biden is gaffe-proof. Whatever traps he sets for himself, however many minorities he offends, he always seems to wriggle out. It's almost as if, by committing so many gaffes, he has become immune to their effects. "Joe Biden Makes Gaffe" is the new "Dog Bites Man."

See, it's like Biden has taken a gaffe least according to Beam who one wonders would be so generous in coming up with excuses for Sarah Palin if she made just a fraction of the gaffes as Biden. Beam then educates us in the different varieties of gaffes...all of which Biden is supposedly immune to since he makes so many of them:

There are basically three kinds of gaffes, and Joe Biden appears to be immune to all of them. Informational gaffes are when you get your facts wrong (John McCain mixing up Sunni and Shiite); message gaffes are when you get your policy wrong (Biden saying he opposed clean coal plants in the United States); and political gaffes are when you offend some interest group perceived to be important to your success (Hillary Clinton referring to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in discussing Obama's candidacy). Each can be damaging, depending on the candidate and his weaknesses.

Informational gaffes don't hurt Biden because, whatever his imperfections, he's generally seen as worldly and knowledgeable. Message gaffes don't matter because, even if it's a headache for the campaign, they make him sound authentic. (If he thinks the ad is "terrible," that's just his honest opinion!) And political gaffes don't damage Biden because, well, he's so darned congenial. Even John McCain likes him. He'll attack, but he's rarely nasty. The only real insult he's hurled this campaign was criticism of Rudy Giuliani's campaign as nothing more than "a noun, a verb, and 9/11." 

So pretty much no matter what Biden does, Beam just brushes it off as good ol' Joe being Joe. Unfortunately, many of Biden's "gaffes" aren't so innocent. For example, Biden's accusation about the truck driver that slammed into his first wife's car, in an accident which caused her death, that he was drunk.  Not true but the false charge has caused a lot of anguish for the family of that truck driver. And what was that about Biden being "rarely nasty?" 

However, Beam tells us that Biden will not be protected by his "gaffe immunity" shield during his debate with Sarah Palin:

These two adjustments—the attempts to eliminate gaffes and the adoption of Obama's smooth style—will be tested at the vice presidential debate Oct. 2. There, Biden's gaffe immunity will not protect him. The McCain campaign takes umbrage almost instantaneously, and dissing Sarah Palin could be construed as sexist. And the vast TV audience, much of it seeing him for the first time, may be less familiar with his gaffe history—and less forgiving of his gaffes.

Aside from the  debate, the Biden gaffe immunity shield will continue to protect him:

Until then, Senator, gaffe away. When Obama picked Biden, some Democrats suggested that Biden's unpredictable tongue would become a distraction. Others criticized him as being too "safe." They're both right. He is a gaffe machine—but he's harmless. 

Strange how these "immunity shields" always seem to conveniently protect liberals only. Such protection is never granted to conservatives by the mainstream media.

2008 Presidential Slate
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