Vice-President Joe Biden, known for being gaffe-prone, recently said this.
“Your job as president is to promote the common good. That doesn’t mean the private-equity guys are bad guys. They’re not,” Biden said. “But that no more qualifies you to be president than to be a plumber.”
Biden quickly reassured his audience that he meant no disrespect to the profession.
“And by the way, there are a lot of smart plumbers,” he said. “All kidding aside, it’s not the same job requirement.”
In an interview shortly after Biden finished speaking, [Joe the Plumber] Wurzelbacher [Ohio candidate for Congress] said Biden’s comments were divisive and amounted to pandering.
“I have a question to Biden: Why does he think he can decide who can be president and who can’t? It very much seems like he’s practicing class warfare,” he said.
Biden’s comments were very condescending and elitist. His comments assume that the only people who are suitable to govern others are privileged law school graduates and career politicians like himself. According to Biden’s comments, you can forget about public service if you are a plumber or a craftsman in a trade with a two-year junior college degree regardless of the unique knowledge and care you bring to the table.
We cannot have a legislature and an executive in America that come exclusively from law schools, corporations, and political machines. Such a system becomes an oligopoly where the only people allowed in the inner circle are the people who dress right, talk right, graduated from the right schools, and have unfettered access to power and privilege.
While it may seem culturally accepted that America will be governed mostly by an oligopoly of legally-trained Harvard and Yale types, the American Dream in public service built on humble beginnings does still exist.
Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) only graduated from Glendale Community College. President Jimmy Carter (D-GA) was a humble peanut farmer who got elected as a State Senator, Governor, and then President.
Critics of Joe Biden will say that he should look at himself and not be so quick to declare other people unqualified for office.
Biden’s comments about plumbers not being qualified to be President during his attacks against private equity betray the American spirit. His poll numbers are also dropping fast.
How long will it take until President Barack Obama dumps Biden and puts Hillary Clinton on the ticket? (Please make it happen!)
Easley, Jonathan. (May 23, 2012). “Poll: Biden’s favorability sinks.” The Hill. Retrieved from http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/polls/229165-poll-bidens-favorability-sinks
Lederman, Josh. (May 22, 2012). “Biden quip irks Joe the Plumber.” The Hill. Retrieved from http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/228907-joe-the-plumber-biden-practicing-class-warfare