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October 29 2012

How Not to Console a Grieving Father

Charlotte Hays

When Joe Biden was called upon to console Charles Wood, father of a former Navy Seal who died in Benghazi, he said this in “an extremely loud and boisterous voice:” “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?”

Perhaps Mr. Biden regards this as a flattering way to greet a grieving father. It is not.

But it is characteristic of the way the Obama campaign has been talking to us. First, there was the call to “vote our lady parts,” and more recently there is Lena Dunham’s ad comparing voting for Obama to having sex for the first time. Biden’s remarks were worse. They are beyond indecent. Did he stop to think how Mr. Woods, who comes across in interviews as a devout Christian, would react to such a crass way to call his son courageous? How about something like, "Mr. Woods, your son was a courageous man, and a grateful nation appreaciates his sacrifice"?

George Weigel writes:

Yet another gaffe, the latest in the administration’s post-Benghazi thrashing? No. Ugliness, of the sort that illustrates the truth about a man’s character, or lack thereof.

It is simplistic to say that the language we use shows how we think. But it’s true: this remark by Biden shows who the man is, and how he thinks. I’m afraid he is quite similar to the clown we saw laughing and mugging for the camera as un-funny issues regarding our nation's future were discussed during the vice presidential debate: it turns out that that wasn’t an act.

In an excellent piece on the current reign of vulgarity, Michael Ledeen addresses both the vice president’s utterance to Charles Woods and the president’s characterization of his gentlemanly challenger as a “bulls******”. Here is what he says about the latter:

[I]t shows the shrinking vocabulary of our political life.  There are plenty of usable and powerful synonyms of “buls*****r,” but a graduate of Harvard Law School didn’t have any of them on the tip of his tongue.  Or perhaps he just preferred the vulgarity.

Ledeen labels Biden’s remark to Mr. Woods “disgusting.”

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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