Media Blog

The Real Problem with Biden’s Rape Gaffe

Nando Di Fino of Mediaite writes in defense of Joe Biden:

1. Biden’s comments aren’t really that big of a gaffe. Yes, he does put his foot in his mouth fairly often, but the points that he made weren’t that crazy. He was basically showing that as you cut police, crime goes up. Murder and rape are two issues that lead many crime reports. Biden has to make as compelling a case as possible to gain support for the job bill, and bringing up two harrowing sets of numbers helps the cause.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Here’s what Biden said to make his case:

In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes, just to pick two categories, climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers’ll be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.”

Is crime analysis this simple? No it’s not, says the FBI. From Forbes and their annual “America’s most dangerous cities” piece:

The FBI warns against simplistic analyses of its local crime data because the factors affecting crime rates are so complex and vary by area. “Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction,” reads the warning that greets every visitor to the Bureau’s website where the statistics are compiled.

And what Biden did, to score cheap political points, is exactly what the FBI warned not to do. Flint’s problems are complex. In 2009, the New York Times reported that Flint was trying to “shrink” itself to a more manageable size that better mirrored its current population. That’s a very tough thing to do. But, to Biden, the problem can be solved with something as simple as a 100 or so more cops on patrol.

Yes, Biden’s use of the word rape was, to me, inappropriate, but his real gaffe was to manipulate actual rapes for his own political advantage with no facts to back it up.