Sunday, September 28, 2008

The King of Gaffes

Someone apparently got an F in history class (or should have).

Joe Biden's denunciation of his own campaign's ad to Katie Couric got so much attention last night that another odd note in the interview slipped by.

He was speaking about the role of the White House in a financial crisis:

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the
television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed, Biden told Couric.
He said, Look, here's what happened."

There are a number of problems here

First, FDR never addressed the nation in 1929. He wasn’t President until 1929, and didn’t address the nation as its leader until he took office in 1933. Herbert Hoover was the President in 1929

As for addressing the nation via television, FDR did make his “fireside chats” famous during his administration. But he did them via radio, which is a tradition that continues with a weekly radio message recorded by Presidents up to and including George W. Bush. Television, while in existence in 1929, wasn’t commercially available until the late 1930’s. And even then, televisions weren’t common in the home until the late 1940’s, early 1950’s

This gaffe, combined with Obama’s suggestion that his uncle liberated Auschwitz (he’d have had to fought with the Red Army in order for that to be true), makes me wonder if the Obama/Biden ticket isn’t just the first Presidential ticket in decades to feature not a day of military service but also the one most bereft of historical knowledge.

No comments: