Perhaps the only institution in America whose approval rating is beneath that of Congress is the media.
Both have won their reputations the hard way. They earned them.
Consider the fawning indulgence shown insider Joe Biden with the dripping contempt visited on outsider Sarah Palin.
Twice last weekend, Biden grimly warned at closed-door meetings that a great crisis is coming early in the term of President Obama:
"Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. ... Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said … we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
A "generated crisis"? By whom? Moscow? Beijing? Teheran?
This is an astonishing statement from a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee who has access to the same intelligence as George Bush. Joe was warning of a crisis like the Berlin Wall of July 1961, where JFK called for a tripling of the draft and ordered a call-up of reserves, or the missile crisis where U.S. pilots like John McCain were minutes away from bombing nuclear missile sites in Cuba and killing the Russians manning them.
Is Russia about to move on the Crimea? Is Israel about to launch air strikes on Iran's nuclear sites? What is Joe talking about?
If one assumes Joe is a serious man, we have a right to know.
Instead, what we got was Obama's airy dismissal of Joe's words as a "rhetorical flourish" and a media -- rather than demanding that Joe hold a press conference -- acting as Obama surrogates parroting the talking points that Joe was just saying that new presidents always face tests.
Had John McCain made that hair-raising statement, he would have been accused of fear mongering about a new 9/11. The media would have run with the story rather than have smothered it.
Contrasting McCain with his hero, Joe declared a few weeks back, "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and ... said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"
Nice historical reference. Except when the market crashed in 1929, Hoover was president, and there was no television.
Can one imagine what the press would have done to Sarah Palin had she exhibited such ignorance of history. Or Dan Quayle?
Joe gets a pass because everybody likes Joe.
Fine. But Joe also has a record of 36 years in the Senate.