Yesterday, millions of Americans received an important email (subject line: "This is important") from no less a personage than the vice president of the United States. Here it is:
From: Joe Biden email@example.com
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2013 11:38:20 -0400
Subject: This is important
There's never been as much distance -- at least since I've been alive -- between where the mainstream of the Republican Party is and the Democratic Party is.
It's a chasm. It's a gigantic chasm.
I'm not talking about the character or even the quality of the minds of the Republicans in Congress -- they're not bad guys. But they don't get it.
It's never been more important to elect and support Democrats who are going to have Barack's back, both in D.C. and across the country. Chip in $5 or more to do just that before tomorrow's fundraising deadline.
This isn't your father's Republican party.
When I asked several Republican senators after they voted against background checks, not one offered an explanation on the merits of why they couldn't vote for them. But almost to a person, they said, "I don't want to take on Ted Cruz. I don't want to take on Rand Paul. They'll be in my district."
We need people in Washington who are going to listen to their constituents -- not to Ted Cruz. Help support Democrats before midnight tomorrow:
Apart from its general amusement value (and even though he was just repeating lines he delivered weeks ago), there's one striking thing about this email:
It's undoubtedly a lie. It's inconceivable that "several Republican senators" would have told Joe Biden they'd voted against background checks because of fear of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. That might be the kind of thing you'd say to a close colleague of your own party—though even then, most senators have too much self-regard to say it to anyone, even if it were true. But there's no way Republican senators would say this to Joe Biden.
And the proof is in the alleged quotation. Biden claims GOP senators told him Cruz or Paul "will be in my district." But they're senators. They don't have districts. They would have said, if they'd said anything at all, "they're going to be in my state."
Lesson: If you're going to invent a quotation, at least make it a plausible one.