As Kathryn noted, the Obama campaign is now hawking “BFD” T-shirts. The Romney campaign jumped on the tweet. “Still not presidential. Kids, earmuffs,” tweeted Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom in response.
I’m not against swearing exactly. (I’ve certainly been guilty of swearing myself!) But there is a large difference between accidentally swearing (I’m assuming Joe Biden didn’t intend to blurt that word out) and embracing usage of a swear word. True, the T-shirt doesn’t spell out what the “F” means. But the shirt makes no sense unless you get what it does stand for.
Nor did I think it was appropriate — or witty — when Sarah Palin said “WTF” in response to Obama’s 2011 State of the Union.
It’s easy to get a cheap subversive edge with these BFDs and WTFs. But what exactly does it ultimately accomplish? It just coarsens our language further and makes it increasingly permissible for everyone to swear publicly. Politicians are supposed to represent something better. Of course, politicians are human beings with as many (or more!) flaws than the average Joe. But in their roles as representatives, as recipients of trust from voters in their districts/states/nation, they ought to try to behave in accordance with the character standards our society aspires to, not the standards we actually live by.
UPDATE: The NRCC should also be better than this: