The PJ Tatler

Gibbs Says 'Chains' Comment by Biden Not Racially Motivated

Senior Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs defended Vice President Biden’s comment to a mostly black audience that GOP economic policies would put people “back in chains,” saying that it was no different than Republican references to a need to “unshackle” Wall Street.


The Hill:

No more race baiting than when John Boehner says ‘let’s unshackle Wall Street, let’s unshackle big business,’” said Gibbs.

“I think the vice president was correct in exactly how he explained what happens when we unshackle Wall Street and let Wall Street go back to writing its own rules.“

Asked if Biden was a “drag on the ticket,” Gibbs said “absolutely not.”

“I’m happy to have Joe Biden out campaigning and telling his story to the American people, putting in front of people the choice that’s going to happen in this election,” said Gibbs.

“I’m happy and proud of Joe Biden and I’m happy and proud to have him on the trail every day.”

The vice president had a difficult week on the campaign trail after saying on the stump that Republican policies toward Wall Street would “put y’all back in chains,” a comment that brought swift criticism from Republicans.

The Obama campaign has defended Biden, claiming that his remark was taken out of context.

Yet the latest gaffe led to media speculation that he might be forced off the ticket, despite the administration’s repeated statements that Biden would run with the president.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Republicans were trying to “distract attention” and said Obama had no intention of getting rid of Biden as his running mate.

Gibbs also rebuffed claims from the Romney camp that the Obama team had lowered the tone of the campaign.

“I’m not going to get lectured by Mitt Romney or anybody on the Romney campaign about the tone of this campaign. This is a guy who’s flown all over this country saying he’s not sure if the president believes in America,” said Gibbs. “He’s auctioning off dinners with the birther-in chief, right-wing nut job Donald Trump, who still questions whether the president was born in the United States of America.”


When has intent ever stopped Democrats from accusing the GOP of racism? Taking innocent comments and placing them in a racial context without regard to the intent or context in which they were made is straight out of Democratic political attack school. One might reasonably argue that Gibbs is correct — that Biden was playing to the bloodlust of the crowd, and that his “chains” comment was simple exaggeration and hyperbole.

But why give the opposition a break when they refuse to return the courtesy? That’s not how the game is played today, and neither side can afford to allow an opportunity like that to slip by.

The playing field on which the 2012 campaign is being fought is pocked with landmines that an unwary candidate is liable to detonate if he doesn’t watch what he says. We force candidates to walk on eggshells, tip-toeing ever so carefully so as not to accidentally offend anyone by uttering something that the opposition can leap upon and use to charge the transgressor with being racist, or anti-woman, or a homophobe, or an Islamophobe. If the stakes weren’t so high, and the issues so profoundly serious, it would be laughable.

The Game of Gaffes is the only game in town. Every day is the same — back and forth, he said, he said — even when he didn’t say it, or didn’t mean it, or had a brain cramp or a slip of the tongue, or misread the teleprompter. The economy is in the toilet, the Middle East is in chaos, Europe is on the brink of an economic catastrophe, the American republic is buried in debt and stupid regulations, and possesses a citizenry sinking into the depths of apathy and depression.


And we’re outraged that a political non-entity — a man occupying an office that isn’t worth a “warm bucket of piss” — made a comment about “chains” that could be interpreted as racially divisive? Or another candidate making a comment about Palestinian culture is a racist?

What’s wrong with this picture?

This election should be about serious issues, conducted by serious men and women, and debated by voters who are serious about fixing what ails us. Playing the gaffe game is not a serious way to approach the election of a president — it is nonsensical. We all know this and yet continue to insult the intelligence of the voter because calling a halt to the idiocy disarms one side or the other. And that is something neither side can afford.

So tomorrow, there will be a new gaffe for which we are supposed to feign outrage and tsk tsk our opponents for their insensitivity, or stupidity, or evil intent. It won’t put the 16 million unemployed or underemployed people back to work. It won’t save the middle class. It won’t help us confront Iran, fix the Middle East, save Europe, or solve our health care crisis.

But it will give us the childish emotional satisfaction of saying “Gotya!” to our opponents.

Will we grow up in time to save the country? Don’t bet on it.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member