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Susan Sarandon, Smear Artist

From The Scrapbook

Oct 31, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 07 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Obama can’t run on his record and hope to win. So the alternative he’s adopted is a campaign of mangled facts, dishonest numbers, and baseless charges. “I just want to be fair,” he said in North Chesterfield, Virginia. He hasn’t come close.

 

Raping the Truth

Vice President Joe Biden also hit the campaign .  .  . whoops, the official business trail last week, touting his boss’s “jobs bill.” Early in the week, at a stop in Flint, Michigan, he  made a rather novel argument in support of the $35 billion bill that Democrats want to use to shore up the salaries of teachers and first responders: “Murder will continue to rise. Rape will continue to rise. All crime will continue to rise.” That’s a bold and frightening assertion, though it reeks of such desperation that we feel no real need to refute the ironclad logic of “pass this bill or they’ll rape your daughter.”

However, The Scrapbook will never tire of reminders that Joe Biden long ago ascended to the pantheon of buffoonery and has tirelessly committed himself to remaining a national embarrassment ever since. 

This latest incident is particularly illuminating in one respect. Most people assume Joe Biden is generally well meaning in his doltishness. The Great Amtrak Commuter just likes to hear himself talk, and once he gets on a roll he’s prone to say some inadvisable things. 

But the rape and murder charge was different—Biden cited crime statistics for Flint to back up his claim that the federal government needs to spend billions more subsidizing public employees:

Let’s look at the facts. In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on the police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes—just to pick two categories—climbed to 229.

Biden later used some, uh, stimulating math to argue that these numbers show how rapes in Flint had “quadrupled.” Let’s take a competent look at the facts. According to factcheck.org, Biden was comparing the first figure of 91 reported rapes with 229 incidents filed under the much more inclusive heading of “all cases of criminal sexual conduct.” So the two numbers are not comparable. According to FBI statistics, rapes in Flint actually declined 11 percent from 2008 to 2010.

But this brief foray into fun with numbers illustrates the real problem. The national press corps tends to excuse or ignore Biden’s ramblings out of pity. However, as this incident demonstrates, Biden is the Lennie Small of American politics. He isn’t just daft—he’s mean.

Make no mistake, the $35 billion jobs bill is explicitly partisan legislation. Note that public employee unions gave Democrats well in excess of $100 million during the last election cycle. Of the $35 billion in the current jobs bill, $30 billion is going to teachers, with just $5 billion for cops and firefighters. If public safety is such a big issue, why are cops and firefighters getting such short shrift? We might cynically suggest that cops’ and firefighters’ unions didn’t pony up as much campaign cash as the teachers’ unions, which spent nearly $70 million electing Joe Biden vice president in 2008. (Police and firefighters’ unions also occasionally have the temerity to back Republicans.) 

So heading into an election year, Biden takes a piece of legislation specifically designed to reward Democratic campaign benefactors, flies to the American city with the highest violent crime rate in the nation, accuses the legislation’s opponents of being accessories to rape and murder (multiple times), and has somebody on staff cook up a bunch of bogus statistics to buttress his case.

In a just world, the press and the American people would see Biden for what he is: a guy who has consistently lied, including multiple instances of plagiarism, to advance his career. It may be easier to laugh at Biden than accept how nasty and dishonest he can be. But as long as he remains a heartbeat away from the presidency, the joke’s on us.

Puppy Love

The Scrapbook would like to extend hearty congratulations to New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson on the stunning critical reception of her new memoir, The Puppy Diaries. The book, which chronicles her adventures raising a young and rambunctious golden retriever named Scout, received not one, but two honest-to-goodness rave reviews last week. Way to go, Jill!

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