Terms of Endearment
When, say, Trent Lott makes a “racially insensitive” remark (even one I happen to believe, despite my noted dislike for Lott, he did not intend), Democrats and the mainstream press depict those comments as a kind of slipping of the mask, behind which lurks the ugly manifestation of a black-hearted racist.
Yet when Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s ubiquitously Brylcreemed VP pick, makes “racially insensitive” remarks of a far less roundabout nature, that, according to NYT reporter John Harwood, is a sign of strength and character — and, best yet, suggests that Biden is at heart just a regular Joe:
He is not somebody who is infused with political correctness, the verbal equivalent of putting his pinkie up when he opens his mouth. So this is what, the way ordinary voters are as well. They’re not always worried about sort of calibrating every single word by “ooh, is this racially insensitive?” That’s something that Joe Biden brings as an asset to the ticket. The gaffes actually show one of his strengths.
Now, it will probably not come as a shock to some of you that I actually agree in part with Harwood: I think that political correctness has done the hard work of shutting down critical speech by allowing those who cannot survive on ideas to in turn thrive on policing the way ideas can “legitimately” be expressed.
But what troubles me about Harwood’s comments is that they are, I’m willing to bet, not the expression of some broad belief in freedom of speech, but rather are a pragmatic rhetorical attempt to rescue Biden from the very kinds of criticisms Harwood would be loath to defend were the target someone like Trent Lott.
– All of which points back to the animating tenet in “liberal” ideology — namely, that, simply by virtue of adopting the left-liberal agenda, one is good, and so his “mistakes” are but minor slip-ups, hiccups in a life of sublime goodliness. Whereas any kind of minor slip-up by those on the “right” (classical liberals included, these days) are to be seen as brief inadvertent flashes revealing their grubby souls — even when those flashes are either admittedly unintended, or else have to be run through a special code book to prove visible to the watchdogs of all that is good and righteous.
BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!
update: More, from Allahpundit