Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Injured exceptionalism

Interesting choice for the world's most super-important story, isn't it? Not just the content (or the syntax) of the "Always the bridesmaid" phrase, or the propriety of the "one has to wonder," but the story itself:

It's not unheard of for Vice President Biden to get lost in the moment, but during a speech earlier this month to the European Parliament his flattery of the host may have gone a bit overboard, ceding Washington, D.C.'s role as the world's center of liberty.

Think of all the things that have to be true -- at least, understood to be true -- for the lede to make sense.

The U.S. vice president, opening his address in Belgium, argued that Brussels -- considering its rich history and abundance of international institutions -- could well be the "capital of the free world."

He suggested that Washington, D.C., his home, is undeserving of that title -- notwithstanding its wealth of global organizations and the countless international summits that take place there. [Ready for the quote that supports this?]

"As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, D.C. as the 'capital of the free world,'" Biden said. "But it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title."

Biden's trip to Europe in early May came in the immediate aftermath of the attempted Times Square bombing and his comings and goings were not widely reported. The above comment was made during his May 6 address to the European Parliament.

Well, it's 2010, and almost nothing that doesn't blow up or have its own TV show is "widely reported." You can certainly see why Fox overlooked the 500-word newser AP filed on Biden's address:

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Washington remains determined to deploy its planned anti-missile system in Europe to counter the danger of Iran's nuclear program and its long-range ballistic missiles.

... or AP's follow-up (and UPI's spot coverage) the following day, or the States and AP precedes. More or less everyone else did too. Given all the actual news from Europe that might have made the paper 20 years ago but barely rates a snicker from the wire editor today, that's not surprising.

So what brings a three-week-old story back from the abyss? (Aside from the chance to revive the "Biden's Political Blunders" tale.) Wow, that's tough. The cluelessest vice president EVAR missed a chance to point out that everything about America is the best there ever was! And this was a good way to get through a slow afternoon, until the delusional nutjob Darrell Issa* gave them a chance to say IMPEACH!!!!!! in big type.

* Keep an eye on this character. He's genuinely evil. He actually got an NIH grant at my university yanked last year on grounds that we'd already spent enough damn time studying how people got AIDS, and foreigners are evil anyway.


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