A Noun, a Verb, and 9/11

Alex Massie, who watched last night’s Democratic debate so you wouldn’t have to, awards Joe Biden Best Line honors for his quip that Rudy Giuliani “uses three words in a sentence: A noun, a verb, and 9/11.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez calls it “low, crass line” and thinks “it’s disturbing it got laughs.” But why is pointing out that a candidate continually harps on one event in his career more crass than said candidate repeatedly exploiting the deaths of nearly 3000 innocents for political gain?

UPDATE: I hasten to add, however, that the broader context of Biden’s remarks, that Giuliani “is genuinely not qualified to be president,” is absurd. Giuliani’s executive experience more than stacks up with Bill Clinton’s, Jimmy Carter’s, or John Kennedy’s — the last three Democratic presidents — at the time of their election. The population of New York City dwarfs that of Arkansas and Georgia combined and Kennedy never ran anything larger than a PT boat before getting elected.

UPDATE: Jay Tea notes that I omitted Lyndon Johnson from the list of Democratic presidents in the update above. So I did. Johnson had experience comparable to Biden’s — a long, distinguished career as a legislator — in addition to 1000-odd days as VP before Kennedy’s murder.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    K-Lo’s crush on Giuliani is of long standing, tho I could probably google up several male Republicans with even bigger crushes on him.

    Anyway, good line. Too bad there’s not a Cabinet counterpart to the court jester, Biden would be a shoo-in.

  2. Anthony says:

    “But why is pointing out that a candidate continually harps on one event in his career and more crass than said candidate repeatedly exploiting the deaths of nearly 3000 innocents for political gain?”

    Um… it’s K-Lo. Nuff said.

  3. Steve Plunk says:

    Why is it more crass? Come on.

    9/11 (and subsequent security concerns) is a defining event for this country and certainly one of the largest if not largest policy issues for the next President. It is a worthwhile topic for any candidate. To make light of it exposes Biden for the juvenile that he is.

    This is serious folks. Candidates who are not serious deserve little respect. The press seems to be less serious as well, the Rasmussen poll concerning Colbert is a good example.

  4. >9/11 (and subsequent security concerns) is a
    >defining event for this country and certainly
    >one of the largest if not largest policy issues
    >for the next President.

    Except Guliani brings up in unrelated contexts. The worst I remember was one instance where someone asked him a question about the minimum wage and Guliani answers by talking about all the minimum wage workers who died in the 9/11 attack.

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  6. cian says:

    Except Guliani brings up in unrelated contexts.

    Remember the phone fiasco? As soon as it became obvious no one was buying his phoney love talk with Julie, and called it what it was, up popped 9/11.

  7. Mark Jaquith says:

    It is a worthwhile topic for any candidate. To make light of it exposes Biden for the juvenile that he is.

    Biden wasn’t making light of 9/11… he was making light of Rudy using 9/11 for political gain, often in cases where 9/11 has little to no relevance to the topic at hand. He Was There On 9/11™ and relevant or not, Rudy knows that it makes him look good, so he’s going to use it. He has, by some accounts, an Absolute Moral Authority™ card — and it plays with the target demographic.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    Bill Clinton’s, Jimmy Carter’s, or John Kennedy’s — the last three Democratic presidents —

    I think you’re missing a Johnson in there…

    J.

  9. Eneils Bailey says:

    Think about it.

    Rudy lost 3000 US citizens which included around 400 city fire fighters and police men. Biden makes light, the audience chuckles, as people forget.

    I have not made up my mind that he is the best candidate for the Republicans, but he beats the hell out of a group of lefties who think 9/11 is a punch line and HRC is a savior.

  10. Derrick says:

    Punch Line? That’s the epitome of what Rudy does. If questioned about a crazy phone call from his wife at a speech. Answer? 9/11. His change in 2nd amendment rights for which he once sued against gun manufacturers. Answer? 9/11 How much you should give his campaign. Answer? $9.11

    If that’s not using 9/11 as a punchline, I don’t know what to tell you.

  11. […] field for the nomination. Yet he ran a joke of a campaign — literally — “A noun, a verb, and 9/11.” As he moves further and further away from the 9/11 attacks, his light […]