Jonathan Chait

Biden's West Virginia Pander

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Joe Biden appeared at the West Virginia mining funeral the other day, and drew wild applause by taking a shot at departed coach Rich Rodriguez (around 2:20):

This probably struck most outsiders as bizarre. And it was. If you don't know the backstory, let me fill you in. Rodriguez was a highly successful football coach at West Virginia University. After the 2007 season, fed up with an incompetent and uncooperative athletic director, he left to coach at a more prestigious program (the University of Michigan.) The whole state of West Virginia promptly went nuts. The local press started printing wild allegations -- that Rodriguez shredded every copy of the football program's files (false) and that he called a mysterious cell phone number while still coaching at West Virginia for some dastardly purpose that turns out to be that it was the number for his voice mail. The whole state descended into a wild frenzy of bitterness.

Granted, I'm a huge Michigan fan. But college coaches change jobs all the time. Did Biden really have to pander to that particular pathology? At a funeral?

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