Verner column: Honk if you’ve seen Joe Biden
Random rants and observations: I don’t know which is more through-the-rabbit-hole funny ó the Republicans trying to paint themselves as the “outsiders” girding to wage war on establishment Washington or the Democrats campaigning mightily against a sitting president who can’t succeed himself. Poor President Bush. In his waning days in office, he’s finally become a uniter. Both parties are united in their belief that he’s the real opponent they have to run against ó or at least run from.
All the talk of change and reform is typical politics, I suppose, but it’s also wonderful theater of the absurd. Believing that either mainstream party will reform politics is like believing turkey vultures will resurrect road kill.
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Anyone who doubts there’s an inherent bias in the mainstream media’s coverage of this election isn’t following what’s happening to a certain vice presidential candidate.
The bias is pretty obvious, don’t you think?
How else to explain the media acting as if Joe Biden doesn’t exist? This guy is drawing less attention than a load of chicken guts spilled on Jake Alexander Boulevard.
When was the last time you gave serious thought to Joe Biden’s talking points on Alexander Putin or the federal bailout of our financial system? When have you considered the political ramifications of Joe Biden’s hair style or his reading glasses? Do you know whether he ever goes moose hunting? Has his spouse ever driven a snowmobile? Has he ever harbored fantasies of naming one of his children after a tree or a branch of higher mathematics?
These are important issues the American voter hungers to know more about, yet, when it comes to covering Joe Biden, the media is clearly wandering in the wilderness.
Want further proof? The non-partisan Pew Research Center tracks coverage devoted to each candidate. In its most recent weekly analysis, Obama was mentioned in 61 percent of the campaign coverage. Sarah Palin was mentioned in 53 percent of all stories. John McCain was mentioned in 49 percent.
And Biden? He was mentioned 5 percent of the time ó just slightly ahead of Millard Fillmore.
How bad is it? Last week, I got a campaign call from someone trying to gin up interest in the Obama-Biden ticket ó and I’m pretty certain the call was actually from Joe Biden.
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Instead of Founding Fathers, couldn’t we just as accurately call them our Founding Elitists?
Think about it.
Some of the most hallowed among the pantheon of 1776 ó Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton etc. ó were much wealthier and better educated than their buckskin-clad countrymen. Many of the founders were landed gentry who held considerable estates. They collected and read books while much of the citizenry (especially in the South) had at best a basic grasp of literacy. They may have had a Bible in the house, but not Thucydides or Plato.
In some cases, the founders were not only bilingual but multilingual, able to read Greek, Latin and Hebrew, while also being conversant in French and German.
They were intimately acqainted with history, philosophy and geography. They avidly followed the latest scientific advances, especially in the case of Jefferson and Franklin.
They were, after all, progeny of the Age of Enlightenment.
Whether they were self-made men (such as Franklin) or sons of privilege (such as Madison), they were without doubt the most brilliant, intellectually curious, creative thinkers of their age ó or any age to have followed. And while they may have believed in the inalienable rights of the common man (so long as he was white, and not a woman), they had an uncommon fear of the tyranny of the mob and the obtuseness of the majority.
So where did we get the absurd idea that elitist leaders are somehow untrustworthy ó perhaps even un-American?
I don’t care whether a candidate would be comfortable having a beer with the boys. Give me somebody who knows how to run the brewery.
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Chris Verner is editorial page editor of the Salisbury Post.