“Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D. Jill Biden should think about dropping the honorific, which feels fraudulent, even comic.” And with that title, Joseph Epstein set off a tempest with his Wall Street Journal piece on Joe Biden’s better half. It’s misogynistic to criticize her use of the title because, well, because she’s white, so it can’t be racist, and that’s the next best thing. Critics, including the second gentleman, retort without evidence that this would never have been written about a man. Or would it?
Tanya Akim in Forbes called Epstein’s piece “an informal cease-and-desist letter to First Lady-elect, Dr. Jill Biden, demanding that she stop using her earned doctorate title. The reason? Dr. Biden is not an M.D., and therefore she should not feel an entitlement to her title, despite completing a dissertation.” While community college retention is a serious topic, what does it have to do with our language?
Biden was awarded her Doctor of Education, or Ed.D., in “educational leadership” by the University of Delaware in 2007. Her dissertation is titled “Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs,” and Biden has spent many years teaching at a community college.
Racist Sexist Attack
A popular comedian once had a bit long before Biden’s level of education became a topic of concern. His rule was if someone collapses and people scream, “Help! Doctor!” if you don’t go running toward the problem, you shouldn’t call yourself a doctor as you go about the world. Somehow that is now sexist. Kamala Harris’ white male husband Doug Emhoff trips over himself to reveal how inspiring Biden is to him and tells us plainly, “This story would never have been written about a man.” Why? That part is never explained.
Mr. Emhoff, excuse me – it’s Dr. Emhoff. He does, after all, hold the degree of Juris Doctor, as does his wife Kamala, as does Joe Biden, as well as the author of this article. And it would be preposterous to call any of us doctor, as it would to call Biden one. It’s appropriate for Biden to have her title reflected in any and all academic settings when it is relevant. There’s a damn good reason we elevate medical doctors, and we all know why. Medical doctors can and do receive all kinds of special treatment due to their healing powers.
The Doctor Will See You Now
Their developed skills and applied knowledge literally save lives in a way that no Ed.D. could dream of. That’s not to diminish Dr. Biden’s degree in the field of education. It simply acknowledges the much more vital and consequential medical degree over the less so Ed.D., no matter the sex or gender identity of the graduate.
Whoopi Goldberg, on what sadly may be the primary source of news for millions of Americans, announced the good doctor would make a fine choice for the nation’s leading health-care authority. She told her panelists on The View:
“I’m hopin’ Dr. Jill becomes the Surgeon General.
“She’s an amazing doctor.”
One does wonder why a person with a healthy sense of self-esteem would want to be addressed in a way that gives her an unearned title. Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden is accomplished; she doesn’t need fake respect for healing powers she does not possess and never worked for. According to the Daily Mail, Northwestern University, where Epstein taught, has ”wiped“ his presence from the school’s website. And surely it would have done the same thing if Mr. Epstein was Ms. Epstein.
Fun fact: When she was awarded her degree from the University of Delaware, Dr. Biden’s husband was the senior U.S. senator from Delaware. Her stepson Beau was the Attorney General for the state.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.