Frank Rich today (11.2.08) and Joe Biden’s alleged gaffe –“articulate, clean”.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Frank Rich has a wonderful piece today about Barack Obama and “The Man who came to Dinner” movie of 1967, which I think you might enjoy, if you haven’t already seen it.

I had just one disagreement with him, which I commented on, as follows:

“Dear Frank Rich,

Thank you yet again. Among pundits –and, hey, let’s throw in those punDINTS as well– you are the best, our NE PLUS ULTRA.

The one who, week after week, picks out the over-riding theme or point for his Sunday Sermon, that emerged from the week’s business, the real as well as all the “straining at gnats”, lip-stuck (lip-stuck?) pig-swill ephemera.

All of it, by the way, information, clearly, that was available to all your fellow-pundits. But only you got it.

(My FRANK RICH theory is –it’s all those thousands of plays you reviewed before you ever even picked up a political pen. I imagine you saw good plays and bad, and fine as well as execrable performances.

And developed a fine ear for “how this play is going to turn out?”

Well, I’m prepared to bet that not even you ever saw a play like this one, the Final Curtain of which comes down on Tuesday. Or should we call that just The First Act?. (Not to mention the performances of all those actors –the one stellar, the others often skirting execrable. Even the totally different plays that the candidates thought they were in, etc.etc)

So — let’s hear it for Frank Rich –Scourge-of-Bloviators, Authoritative, insightful, hard-edge, metaphor-spotting, poetic, mythic. If I have to pick only one adjective, it would have to be Unrelenting. Just like Barack.

Frank Rich, Unrelenting!

But I do disagree about your Joe Biden point. Strongly. I believe you are wrong on this. And my first clue is that you, too, used the media-created Biden-related cliche: I refer of course to “Gaffe”, in the sense of labelling Biden as “gaffe-prone”.

Who did not make gaffes, both meaningful and slip-of-tongue? Bitter-clinging? Or a certain Alaskan moose-skinner who just yesterday “only” joked about being President herself in, oh, 8 years?

When Joe Biden referred to Barack Obama as “clean” and “articulate” he was speaking of MAINSTREAM candidates, candidates who by the lights of 2008, had a reasonable, not a fringe, shot at getting elected.

Why, to show us what he meant, Biden even put the word “mainstream” before all the other words.

To make my point: Nobody who knows the meaning of the word “articulate”, and who is in their right mind, would accuse Al Sharpton of being “inarticulate”.

But –Al Sharpton is not MAINSTREAM! (Sorry about that, Al. You are more worthwhile –dare I say even more ‘colorful’?– than many of the pathetic pols out there. And I love that James Brown dance you do. But.)

Or, Jesse Jackson. Jesse may have been a fine candidate. Jesse,in the opinion of many, was superior to quite a few of the mainstream nebbishes who have showed up over the years –goodness knows, we had our fair share of them this year.

But Jesse was not “mainstream”.

Nor, by the way, was Ron Paul –good and refreshing as he was. Or Ralph Nader. Or Bob Barr. Or Ross Perot.

Oh dear –now I’m going to have to mention all their names…

— Malachi McCormick, Staten Island ”


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