Last week, Vice President Joe Biden summoned his decades of political experience and well-seasoned public relations acumen in support of President Obama’s jobs bill. In front of a friendly crowd in Flint, MI he said if you didn’t support President Obama’s job bill, you should be robbed or raped, preferably by a 200-pound man.
Okay, he didn’t actually say that. What he really said is if you didn’t support the President’s bill, he wished that you would be robbed or raped by a 200-pound man. That’s better, right?
As you can imagine, quite a few of us took umbrage with Biden’s wishes. There are many Americans, as it happens, who believes that while political dissent isn’t exactly the highest form of patriotism, it’s certainly no reason to be press-ganged into the role of Ned Beatty in the Joe Biden Players’ gala performance of Deliverance.
Jason Mattera, editor of Human Events magazine was one of those who felt Biden’s remarks went over the line, and he went to the Senate building to ask the Vice President if he really meant what he said. What resulted would would have been the top story on every news cast on the planet if the Vice President’s name had been Cheney. As you can imagine, Biden was not happy with what happened and, like a petulant child, he went running to the nearest authority figure to demand that they punish his tormentor.
No, seriously. He really did sic the Senate press gallery and the committee that oversees the gallery on Mattera.
Joe Biden’s office has complained to the Senate press gallery about a confrontation the vice president had with a conservative journalist last week on Capitol Hill.
Biden aides asked whether Senate rules were broken in the wake of the contentious exchange between the vice president and the reporter.
Biden’s office has also contacted the standing committee of correspondents, which oversees the gallery, regarding whether Mattera broke the rules by ambushing him.
Heather Rothman, the chairwoman of the gallery’s standing committee, said the matter is under review.
This is a whole lot of nothing to most of us, but it could carry career-damaging consequences to Mattera. The committee could pull his credentials, which would restrict his access to members of the Senate and damage his reputation as a journalist. Political reporting, moreso than many other types of journalism, relies on access to members of Congress. You could argue that Mattera, as the editor of Human Events, would have all the access to Republicans he could want, and you’d probably be right. However, good reporting requires access to both parties, especially the one that controls the Senate and the White House and without that credential, Mattera’s work will suffer.
Biden is a loudmouthed churl who needs to realize he stepped in a big pile of gaffe and that his best bet is to shut up for a while. He won’t gain anything by running off and crying to the Senate press gallery except a petty and vicious feeling of glee that he used the power of the Vice Presidency to stomp on the career of a journalist. I guess that’s something he prizes, but it’s not something we should allow him to do free from consequences.