Britain’s Labour Party Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is in an uphill battle to retain a majority in the House of Commons. His party may pull him across the finish line in this week’s election.
He’s certainly done nothing on his own to endear himself to British voters. You can’t really rally the voters with a stirring cry of: “It could have been worse.”
Just as he headed into the climactic week of Britain’s mercifully short campaign season, Gordon Brown was caught in a Joe B*Den moment. He did not realize that his microphone was picking up his nasty comments about a woman voter, a Labour Party backer, even. Brown had just finished sucking up to Mrs. Duffy, complimenting her on her red jacket, when he ducked back into his limo. There, he was overheard denouncing the woman as “bigoted.”
Why? Because Mrs. Duffy dared to express her concerns over Britain’s broken immigration process. Over the past forty years, Britain has admitted hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former British Empire. Many of these immigrants become fine British subjects. But a disturbing number are jihadists who have converted large swaths of English towns into “no go” areas for local police. They want to create Londonistan.
Mrs. Duffy has every right to be upset about it. Gordon Brown, when confronted with his “off-the-record” comments, put his face in his hands. It may be the killer gaffe. In British politics, there is a lower tolerance for such than in the U.S.
Americans willingly tolerate low buffoonery by high-rankers. Vice President Joe B*Den memorably stepped on his sword at the White House signing ceremony that celebrated the passage of ObamaCare. Unaware that his mike was so sensitive, B*Den was heard worldwide saying: “This is a big f***ing deal.” Joe is often unaware.
B*Den’s gaffe ranks right up there with John “Cactus Jack” Garner, FDR’s Veep.
Garner said the vice presidency was “not worth a bucket of warm spit.” Or, was it spit? FDR quickly dumped the garrulous Texan. Garner has not been seen since outside of the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. The vice presidency does not require much of a man. No heavy lifting. But it does require a minimum of dignity. He ought at least to know enough when to keep his mouth shut.
As “Mister Dooley,” the creation of nineteenth century humorist Finley Peter Dunne, once said:
“It’s the function of the vice president to run over t’ the White House every mornin’ and inquire after the President’s health.”
President Obama’s health is just fine, thank God. And he doesn’t have to face voters until 2102. By then, he may find other pressing work for his perennially hoof-in-mouth vice president to do. There’s already talk of dumping Jumping Joe for Kathleen Sebelius.
It was an early indicator of Mr. Obama’s lack of preparation that he didn’t even hang around the Senate Cloakroom long enough to learn what every Democratic senator already knew: Joe is a loose cannon. That’s why even the Democrats never dreamed of making him Majority Leader in all his 36 years in the U.S. Senate.
No. 2 Joe made light of his B*D gaffe while appearing on the left-wing gabfest, “The View.” All laughed and were merry. He didn’t put his face in his hands as the remorseful Gordon Brown did. But that incident may have served to underscore Barack Obama’s buyer’s remorse. And the president may decide he has to strengthen the ticket before voters can exercise their own buyers’ remorse.
If Joe B*Den is undone by his on-mike gaffe, and Gordon Brown is ruined by his, it would be TransAtlantic poetic justice. B*Den’s 1988 run for president imploded when it was revealed he had cribbed his entire speech from the Labour Party’s charismatic leader, Neil Kinnock. Joe was knocking them dead at Democratic fund-raisers with that powerful presentation. In those days before the Internet, before Google, it took months for the truth to catch up with our plagiarizing politico. In those days, too, Joe was holding Kangaroo Court in the U.S. Senate for Judge Robert Bork. If Bork had ever done something half so outrageous, he would have been run out of B*Den’s Judiciary Committee.
It would be too funny if Gordon Brown went down for committing a B*Den. So, hold onto your hats folks, the show has just begun.
Ken Blackwell is the co-author of the book The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. Bob Morrison, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, collaborated with Mr. Blackwell on this post.