WASHINGTON -- It has happened again! Our gaffe-prone president has filed another blunder on his presidential record. At the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library he invoked history with his usual mastery of detail. He placed President John F. Kennedy in Air Force One, "On the flight back from Russia, after negotiating with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War."
Actually the flight was returning from Vienna, not "Russia," and not much "negotiating" had been done. Truth be known, it was one of the lowest points in JFK's presidency. As Kennedy himself recalled, "He [Khrushchev] treated me like a little boy." And more: "Worst thing in my life. He savaged me," said our 35th president. Well, at least President Obama did not claim anyone at the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit spoke "Austrian." That was the language our learned president attributed to the citizens of Vienna back on April 6, 2009. No philologist has ever heard of it.
As I have noted before, President Barack Obama will be remembered as America's gaffable president. He nicely complements Joe Biden, America's gaffable vice president. Remember back at inauguration time when Joe addressed the Iowa State Society Inauguration Ball with "I'm proud to be president of the United States." By now there have been scores of happy blunders committed by both of these public servants.
I am relatively certain that I am the first to say this in a public forum: Barack Obama and Joe Biden are the most gaffe-prone leaders of a presidential administration in modern times. I cannot think of any conceivable groups of presidents and vice presidents in recent history who could surpass these two in cloddishness -- not Warren G. Harding and Jimmy Carter, not Dan Quayle and Al Gore, not Laurel and Hardy. No, strike that last pair. They never ran for high office. Yet, were they today upright and with all their vital organs functioning, they might have presented a formidable duo, particularly if one, say, Laurel could have presented himself as suffering a trendy modern affliction, say gender ambiguity, and the other, that would be the portly Hardy, could have claimed an eating disorder.