I Knew Bob Packwood. Bob Packwood Was a Friend of Mine.

If you thought Joe Biden couldn’t top his “Shylock” performance, you were wrong. Speaking to none other than a Democratic women’s conference, Biden reminisced fondly about the good old days in the Senate, when he got to work with great guys like Bob Packwood. Yes, that Bob Packwood.

You know what this reminds me of? Trent Lott. Lott, as you probably recall, was delivering a 100th birthday tribute to Strom Thurmond when he said that if Thurmond had been elected president–he ran as a Dixiecrat in 1948–“we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years.” A dumb thing to say? Sure. But it was part of an impromptu birthday congratulation, not a considered verdict on the Dixiecrats. Nevertheless, it cost Lott his position as Senate Majority Leader.

If a Republican praised Bob Packwood as the kind of senator we need more of today, as Biden did, it is hard to imagine the hysteria that would result. War on women? It would be Armageddon! Some marvel at how Joe Biden can get away with one offensive or idiotic remark after another. There is at least one in almost every speech, it seems. Supposedly Biden gets a pass because everyone knows he is gaffe-prone and finds it lovable.

But I don’t think that is the explanation. I think that many, many Democrats say stupid and offensive things all the time. I think that they almost always get a pass, just like Joe Biden. As a Democrat, he is the rule, not the exception. Heck, Ted Kennedy got a pass for drowning a young woman; why would the Democratic Party press give Biden (or any other contemporary Democrat) a hard time for saying something offensive or dumb?

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