When it comes to exercising his duties as vice president, Joe Biden's main role is to put his boss in a positive light.
Last week while addressing a fund raiser in Milwaukee, Wis., however, his commentary on history sounded a bit more like an early April Fool's joke, especially to members of the Greatest Generation who lived through the Great Depression and World War 2.
Biden said he watched Obama "make decisions that would make another man or woman's hair curl." He talked about Obama's decision to authorize the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, stating that he was the "one person in that entire apparatus" that said go.
We can never diminish the scope of any military engagement regarding American troops and this administration can take credit that bin Laden was taken out during its watch, but hearing Biden somehow equate the current president's position with President Franklin Roosevelt's leading the nation through the Great Depression and World War 2 is hard to take.
"No president, and I would argue in the 20th century and including now the 21st century, has had as many serious problems which are cases of first-instance laid on his table (than President Obama)," Biden told the crowd. Franklin Roosevelt faced more dire consequences, but in a bizarre way it was more straightforward."
Straightforward indeed, Mr. Vice President. For starters, how about a president having to make decisions in the midst of a world war that was the deadliest military conflict in history a war that killed over 60 million people, including 418,000 Americans?
In recent years, we've all seen or experienced some hardship or even suffering, but most of it is nothing on the scale of what the Great Depression of the 1930s was like in this country. There is no comparing present economic conditions over the last three years with those of the 1930s.
During the worst years (1933-1934) the overall jobless rate was 25 percent that's one out of every four people while another 25 percent took wage cuts or were reduced to part time work.
At the height the most recent downturn, joblessness rose to 8.3 percent.
It's been estimated that nearly 50 percent of children during the Great Depression did not have adequate food, shelter, or medical care.
"Losing the farm" was no idle threat during the Great Depression. Between 1930 and 1935, nearly 750,000 farms were lost through bankruptcy or sheriff sales.
If, as Joe Biden suggests, the current president has such an overwhelming workload and the magnitude of his daily grind is so great, why is he spending so much time on the golf course? Obama will go down as the busiest golfing president ever he's already hit the links 93 times during his term, including 13 straight weekends last spring and summer.
In fact, Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, took a swipe at that fact during a recent debate. Numerous times, the president promised Americans he "would not rest" until businesses were producing jobs and people were back to work.
"You've got a president who's played 90 rounds of golf while there are 25 million Americans out of work," Romney said while trying to assess Obama's job performance on the U.S. economy.
Even a pro like Joe Biden will have trouble spinning that one.
By Jim Zbick