Man… if Obama picks Biden, the McCain camp will be able to point to one eye-opening statement after another. From theHuffington Post/Slate, “Democratic Candidate Mashup”:
Q: “Senator Biden, forgetting about the upcoming Iowa caucus for just a moment, which would you honestly say is more likely to contribute to the death of your average American: a terrorist strike or high fructose corn syrup and air that has too much coal in it?”
SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Air that has too much coal in it, corn syrup next, then a terrorist attack – but that is not in any way to diminish the fact that a terrorist attack is real. It is not an existential threat to bringing down the country, but it does have the capacity still to kill thousands of people. But hundreds of thousands of people die and their lives or shortened because of coal plants – coal fired plants and because of corn syrup.”
That answer is literally true, in terms of what is more likely to contribute to the death of your average American. (By the way, among three choices, the option should be “most” not “more.”) But the death rate for terrorist attacks ratchets up when we’re talking about terrorists getting their hands on a nuke, blowing up a nuclear or chemical plant or releasing a bioweapon — then we could be talking about deaths in the hundreds of thousands. And while the events depicted in the 2002 faux-documentary are a worst case scenario, they depicted a global spread of the bioweapon killing 60 million people.
There’s not too much I can do to stop a smuggled nuke or smallpox. That’s up to the federal government and state and local police, intelligence agencies, the military, etc. It’s primarily a federal government responsibility, and only the federal government can lead that effort.
But individuals can control how much high-fructose corn syrup enters their body. They have to read the label and eat accordingly. The idea that the three factors should be on equal footing in terms of a potential president’s duties is silly, and Biden’s ranking puts an item which is far from a president’s responsibility — corn syrup consumption — ahead of a threat which is precisely a president’s responsibility – stopping terrorists.