In one regard, Vice President Biden's numerous gaffes are a boon to Democrats. The best and goofiest of them distract from the more mundane policy comments that he and other administration spokesmen make -- the ones that deserve more scrutiny, "y'all."
"Folks, the middle class is coming back," Biden told a Minnesota crowd on Tuesday. "They have been ravaged, they have been ravaged. But they're starting to come back."
He got the ravaged part right, but the comeback part? If only it were so. As if the 8.2 percent unemployment rate didn't make things clear enough, the following day the Pew Research Center issued a report, "The Lost Decade of the Middle Class." The title says it all. The report notes that since Barack Obama has taken office, the average median income of middle-class households has fallen marginally, not risen. Their median net worth has fallen from $113,000 to $93,100.
And the overall effect of the administration's failure to create a recovery has been harsh on all families, not just the middle class. A study by Sentier Research reported that from June 2009 -- the end of the recession -- to June 2012, the nation's median household income dropped to $50,964, a nearly 5 percent decline, even after adjusting for inflation.
When it comes to middle-class recovery, there is no "there" there for this administration -- nor is there any "there" in sight. The ongoing recovery, if it can be called that, is the weakest comeback in recent history. It is a jobless recovery in which median household income has fallen nearly as much as it did during the actual financial crisis and recession of 2008 and 2009.
The administration's defenders continue to blame George W. Bush. As Madeleine Albright recently put it, they will keep blaming him "forever."
But nearly four years into the current administration, this excuse just doesn't fly anymore. The Obama team has had plenty of time. This is the same administration that passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill), and whose economic wizards promised that the package would drive unemployment down below 6 percent today.
Two years ago, the administration was already claiming it had turned the economy around. Biden spearheaded the administration's 2010 "Recovery Summer" push, telling reporters: "We have turned this economy around. Instead of falling off the abyss, it is on firm ground. It is heading in the right direction. And every aspect of the economy is growing."
It's no wonder the administration would rather talk about Mitt Romney's tax returns, Swiss bank accounts, abortion, rape or anything else that distracts from the current state of the economy, which it owns and has no way to defend.