Joe, Harry and Nancy Enlighten Us


Barack Obama addressing a joint session of Con...

Barack Obama addressing a joint session of Congress (State of the Union-like) on the night of February 24, 2009. Standing in front of Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (right). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve heard occasionally about the “senior moments” of Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Some might attribute their senseless utterances to advanced age but to be fair, these three have been dim bulbs for a long time and may even be called lifetime nitwits. So it’s rather dirty pool to imply they may be suffering from dementia or senility just because they should have retired years ago. Many seniors prefer to stay active and engaged. Certainly getting themselves up and dressed every day, and having a place to go and a purpose, could keep Joe, Harry and Nancy feeling perky for a long time.



Those who accuse the happy threesome of being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease should be made aware that Alzheimer’s is but a subset of a broader spectrum known as dementia, which literally means “deprived mind.” Hmmm. Now we’re getting warm.


It reminds us that Uncle Joe has taken his lumps for saying stuff like “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” back in 2007 about Barack Obama. But we probably don’t move in the same circles as Joe, who would know if this was the first such mainstream black male he had seen. Possibly he didn’t see any mainstream African-Americans who looked bright and clean when he went for a late-night run to the 7-11, where he also said you feel real funny unless you meet certain criteria: “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” Presumably you should also look clean.


Let’s not leave the king of bland, Sen. Harry Reid, out of this fun-fest. If the man looked any more washed-out, he’d be turned inside out for a little more wear before ending up at Goodwill. But Harry’s mild appearance may hide a true sage. The book Game Change points out that Harry was beside himself about candidate Obama’s speaking skills, praising him as a light-skinned African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” A remark he later apologized for, saying he regretted his poor choice of words. One can’t help wonder if he had noticed early on that Sen. Obama had a remarkable ability for droppin’ his “g’s” depending on the audience. Maybe he learned that from Hillary “I’m just an Arkansas gal” Clinton.


Nancy “we have to pass [the health care bill] to find out what is in it” Pelosi of course doesn’t show her advanced age except when she opens her mouth to speak. Thanks to modern dermatology and other face saving technologies, the woman could pass for Julia Roberts in dim light at closing time. Nevertheless, we sometimes question whether this grandmother should join a weekly book club that meets at the local library rather than continue to serve in the House. Since Nancy’s already pointed out that she “believes in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels” we’re sure the reference librarians could point her to some material that explains that natural gas is indeed a fossil fuel. Just to catch her up.


Please, let’s not jump to conclusions and apply tired stereotypes to these three leaders. It may not be senility at all that makes them say these things. At least Uncle Joe has explained the need for President Obama’s proposed Buffett Rule tax on millionaires by posing this question, “Do we pay down those deficits, cutting wherever we can, as we’ve been doing, while at the same time investing in things we know we must invest in, in order for the economy to grow and create good middle-class jobs?” If anyone can explain what this means (one suspects it’s a rhetorical question), please comment below. I beg you to keep it short. My concentration is not what it used to be.

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