I am beginning to wonder whether the Democratic Party will be able to field a credible presidential candidate this year. What got me onto this question? Well, as I have grown old, I have become fascinated by words. The pursuit of words (since they don’t run away) is a sedate activity suitable for creaking old bones.
The answer, surprisingly, is no. Consider the etymology of both words.
“blunder,” 1909, perhaps from French gaffe “clumsy remark,” originally “boat hook,” from Middle French gaffe (15c.), from Old Provençal gafar “to seize,” probably from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *gaf-, which is perhaps from PIE root *kap- “to grasp.” Sense connection between the hook and the blunder is obscure; the gaff was used to land big fish. Or the Modern English word might derive from British slang verb gaff “to cheat, trick” (1893); or gaff “criticism” (1896), from Scottish dialect sense of “loud, rude talk” (see gaff (n.2)).
1580s, “elderly rustic,” apparently (based on continental analogies) a contraction of godfather (compare gammer). Originally a term of respect, also applied familiarly; from “old man” it was extended by 1841 to foremen and supervisors, which sense carried over in early 20c. to “electrician in charge of lighting on a film set.”
I suppose we can call Biden an old gaffer, but “gaffer” is a title of respect, not derision. Surprise! Surprise! Only a Brit would have known for sure.
So, that led to another question.
Question: Just how serious a problem are Joe Biden’s gaffes?
At this point Biden is the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, but Biden is a notorious gaffe machine. Even Biden’s reputation for corruption does not outweigh his notoriety for outrageous gaffes. That said, is Biden a good choice for the Democrats? Can he win the presidency?
Let’s look at Biden’s latest gaffe, his argument with a Michigan autoworker over the 2nd Amendment and the AR-15 rifle. Here are different perspectives from Fox News and CNN.
- Jill Stein calls out Joe Biden’s gaffes, questions his mental capacity on Twitter ((foxnews.com)). Jill Stein was the Green Party’s candidate in 2016. While Democratic Party regulars are “stepping up” to endorse Biden, others are scratching their heads, trying to understand what Democrats are thinking.
- Why Joe Biden’s confrontation with an auto worker in Detroit is probably a good thing for him (cnn.com). Meanwhile, this CNN story illustrates what Democrats want us to think of Biden’s gaffes.
Are Biden’s gaffes new, something we have only just become aware of? No. Even Time Magazine has a list that seems to have come out in 2010, Top 10 Joe Biden Gaffes (content.time.com).
So what should we make of Biden’s gaffes? Well, instead of trying to answer that question, in the next post I will present a list of Biden’s most recent gaffes. Then you can judge for yourself.
Meanwhile, contemplate this thought. Because Bernie Sanders is effectively a Communist, the Democratic Party’s establishment (including the elites we call superdelegates) considers him an unacceptable candidate head their ticket. Sanders’ sins include complimenting the likes of Castro (see here (thefederalist.com)) and Hugo Chavez (see here (washingtonexaminer.com)). So, the Democratic Party’s establishment is backing Joe Biden instead. Yet Biden is best remembered for his gaffes. If Biden is the best the Democrats can come up with, who will those who refuse to vote for Trump give their votes? Biden? Or a third party candidate?