Pols Cursing Isn’t a ‘Big F*****g Deal’

Why is it such a scandal when Joe Biden or John Boehner swear?

By SHARE
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Vice President Joe Biden, with Majority Leader Harry Reid, arrives for a Senate Democratic caucus meeting about the fiscal cliff on Capitol Hill.

So it turns out that elected officials swear. You got a #$@(*&! problem with that?

Yet again, some media personalities have expressed what can only (hopefully) be faux outrage over the fact that House Speaker John Boehner told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to "f--- off. It was during a particularly heated time, when the country was hours away from diving off the manufactured fiscal cliff, and emotions were high. Was it a tad rude? Sure. Is it news? Hell, no.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

What is this fascination with the use of profanity by elected officials—particularly when the remarks were made in private, or when the speaker thought no one else could hear? Then-Vice President Dick Cheney told Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, "oh, go f--- yourself," as members assembled for a class photo. That was noteworthy because it was a sign of how low relations between the Bush White House and congressional Democrats had sunk, and it was, by accounts of the episode, more or less unprovoked. But it's not a scandal.

Vice President Biden caught flak for leaning over to the president during the bill-signing for the Affordable Care Act and saying it was a "big f---ing deal." Well, it was. And Biden had the misfortune of having his comments picked up by a microphone, when he thought he was making a private aside to President Obama.

[2012: The Year in Cartoons.]

Even more baffling is the fact that the verbiage is referred to as "the F bomb." Bomb? Really? Is that not a bit of an (f---ing) overreaction? There are real bombs being dropped in the Middle East, and people are getting far more than their feelings hurt. The word is question in considered obscene. Yes, it's rude, especially when used in a direct insult, and it's not a word one would employ in polite conversation. But these elected officials didn't use the word in front on kindergarteners or in a stump speech. You want to know what obscene is? Obscene is a mentally disturbed person being able to get a hold of assault weapons, then going into an elementary school and killing 20 first-graders. Obscene is being so unable to compromise that you set a penalty for yourselves to force yourself to come to a budget agreement, then still fail to do that. Obscene is millions of children living in poverty. Obscene is making Northeasterners wait and wait while Congress figures out if—and how much—the government will help Hurricane Sandy victims. Maybe elected officials could spend some effort watching their language. Or maybe their energies would be better spent getting their #$@&*^ act together.

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