Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Was it Over When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?

I was going back and forth on using this title versus one of my favorite quotes from Back to the Future: "Who the hell is John F Kennedy?"

Apparently, VP Candidate Joe Biden said this during a recent Katie Couric interview:
When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, "look, here's what happened."

This is kind of sad. Almost Gore-looking-at-busts-of-our-founding-fathers-in-a-museum-and-saying-something-along-the-lines-of-"So who are these guys?" sad.* I'm still looking for a full transcript so I can see if this makes sense in some sort of context. If you have that, feel free to post it.

So out of curiosity, which glaring mistake hit you first? Most people I saw on the blogs were focused on the TV angle but Roosevelt jumped out at me so hard I almost missed the TV part.

* I really wish I could find that video. The only place I saw it was on Limbaugh's TV show way back when he had one. I wish my 24/7 wasn't expired.


Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Slate has this cute article about Biden's gaffes.

I think this stuff comes down to overexposure. We spend so much time focusing on inane candidate gaffes (like McCain confusing Spain with Latin America while answering questions from a reporter talking faster than the micro-machine man) while we make the same kind of gaffes every day.

Dealing with thousands of reporters and campaign staffers and issues and people and locations every day must be mentally exhausting. I made dumb mistakes when I was teaching and dealing with 80 complaining students every day. I'm worthless after traveling for several hours. And if I have to read the same presentation more than three times in a row, I've been known to try and add a thing or three to mix it up a bit (without realizing that the audience is seeing it for the first time).

Thing is, with so many reporters attempting to find that thing they can take back to their editors, any little thing can become a gotcha moment. Between FDR on television (Biden), the Founding Fathers reciting the Pledge of Allegiance (Palin), mixing up the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam (McCain), all our folks at the top are sounding kinda confused. But I'm not worried, I can overlook stuff like this.

But it is funny.

Dante said...

I think there's a big difference between mental mistakes and an actual lack of knowledge. I'd chalk up McCain's gaffes listed below and Biden's FDR on TV to mental mistakes. Roosevelt was filmed plenty of times and was on radio. To say TV when it wasn't actually TV is pretty minor. You saw him. You heard him. Close enough. To mix up Sunni and Shia in the heat of the moment doesn't mean that much either. The meaning based on the context was clear. I won't get into Palin's "gaffe" because I believe she was taken waaaaaay out of context (which is why I looked for the complete transcript for the posted quote). At the very least, there's a rather large grey area in what she meant.

However, to be in a position to preside over the Senate when you think Roosevelt was President during the stock market crash is a lot bigger deal in my mind. There's going to be a lot of economic legislation being passed around next year in the Senate. I'd like the VP to at least have a passing knowledge of what led up to the Great Depression, especially the bits that gave his party so much political clout for a couple of generations.

patsbrother said...

Is anyone else amused by those who are reporting on this issue who helpfully point out that television did not exist? Since, well, it did. What they should have said was that commercial television did not exist, so there would have been no one to talk to.

Added amusement points: Roosevelt was still president when Biden was born!