Democrats had one of the jokers shuffled out of their deck this week when Joe Biden, who really, really wants to be president, really, really stepped into a pile of stuff that won't easily be scraped from his shoes.
Biden did a face-plant while talking about other Demos in the race, most of whom he holds in little esteem.
Then Barack Obama came up.
"... you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean that's a storybook, man," Biden told the New York Observer.
And, finally, the shoe everybody was waiting to hear drop hit the floor.
Race was sure to become an issue the moment Obama expressed his interest in the Oval Office. It was sure to become an issue when New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic, tossed his hat into the ring.
To dodge it would be foolish because it is there, smack-dab in all our faces.
So, I'd like Biden to fully explain what he meant by "mainstream" and "clean."
Does "mainstream" mean Biden thinks Obama has cut ties with his black roots to become more electable in the minds of white Americans? And what on Earth did he mean by "clean?" I don't buy his explanation that he meant to say "fresh" with "new ideas," when interviewed by Jon Stewart after the story broke.
Biden blew it with the progressives who really don't give a tinker's dam about a candidate's ethnicity. Especially when the reference disparages some lovely and bright human beings who Biden either forgot about or was also trying to disclaim.
There's the late Shirley Chisholm, a New York Congresswoman who, in 1972, was the first black person to make a bid for the White House. She was a feisty, courageous woman who didn't let gender or race get in her way back when necks were redder and women were supposed to be barefoot and pregnant.
Then there was Jesse Jackson, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement, then ran in 1984, winning five Democratic primaries.
Most recently, there was Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate, and social activist Al Sharpton who both gave it a try in 2004.
Whether Biden's remarks were a slip of the tongue or whether they were more deeply rooted doesn't matter.
Presidential candidates these days don't have the luxury of blowing a line.
Because of today's new media, everything they say gets out there fast.
And this does not bode well for Biden's ambitions to higher office because he now becomes a liability with minority voters.
Biden may be good with foreign policy. He may have valuable experience from his years in the Senate. But he's certainly not somebody I would like to see sitting in the Oval Office.