The Yin, The Yang, and The Yuck of VP Biden
He?s Just So Bad That He Fascinates Me
Famous Physicist Enrico Fermi once described a paper he was grading as “so bad that it wasn’t even wrong.” Something similar perhaps describes the fascinating career of Vice President Joe Biden. He’s awful. He’s gafftastic. Picking Joe Biden for any important position would be like having Rex Grossman at QB in the Super Bowl! That would never happen.
Except that Rex Grossman really did QB a Super Bowl and Joe Biden is our Vice President. Peter Principal and Dunning-Kruger Effect aside, we know Joe Biden is awful and beneath the bluff exterior; Joe Biden has to look at the mirror some days and truly understand that he does in fact suck. So what I wonder about Joe Biden is this: How exactly could Wesley Mouch exist in life life?
Some attribute Biden’s career to fortunate (or unfortunate) happenstance merged with a jugular instinct when it comes to self-advancement. He came out of Harvard Law just in time to run as a Democrat right after Watergate. He inhabited the US Senate for over two decades. He then began to set his sights on The Presidency with an oblivious lack of self-doubt. Like Bob Uecker, Joe Biden was convinced that he must be headed to the front row. Despite his professional incompetence, personal nastiness, complete lack of empathy and class all merged with racial insensitivity that would have publically embarrassed Nathan Bedford Forrest, he’s one stray moment of regrettable happenstance from actually getting that front row seat.* It’s storybook.**
A man with that set of characteristics should get trounced at the polls and unelect anyone even remotely willing to associate with him. Geoffrey Fieger and Alvin Green should have been more likely to win elected office than Joe Biden. And yet people actually have positive things to say about Joe Biden.
Despite his call for “hard-headed diplomacy” with Iran, and the three-way partition of Iraq, he’s considered a foreign policy expert. Despite his plagiarism of a speech from British Labour Party Member, Neil Kinnock, Vice President Biden is considered by some to be a loquacious Public Speaker. Maybe they would feel the same about Buddy Hackett.
Yet Vice President Biden may not find all the praise he is receiving right now beneficial. When David Axelrod was asked if President Obama intended to drop Joe Biden from his ticket, Mr. Axelrod said the following.
“Listen, I have a great affection and respect for Joe Biden,” Axelrod said, according to a rush transcript. “I think he’s been a great vice president. He’s taken on a lot of tough assignments for our administration. … from administering the recovery act — and he did it very, very well — through being the point person on the Iraq war and getting our troops home and doing that — the politics of that over there. he’s done a great job for us.”
Great job or not, it may well be that Joe Biden is finally done. Rudy Giuliani openly questioned if Biden was still mentally fit to hold office. This was kinder than I would have been. My question would be whether Joe Biden was ever mentally fit to hold office. Even if today is the day President Obama does for Joe Biden what he has done for 8.3% of the US workforce, it will be a while before Joe Biden is forgotten. There is something bizarre and fascinating about somebody who manages to be that bad and yet still do so well.
UPDATE: As of 13:05 (CST)- Joe Biden (Like Rex Grossman) still remains employed.
Correction: I’m no Harvard fan, but what I’ve done today is grievously wrong and unfair. In a bid to restore my own blogging credibility, I humbly apologize to the Crimson Men of Harvard for falsely impugning thier fine university by inaccurately stating that they would admit Joe Biden to their law school. Mea culpa.
*- That may not any longer be the case. He’s been called to the Principal’s Office to explain how his cranial-rectal inversion problems can be resolved without sabotaging The Obama re-election effort.
** – If you enjoy Franz Kafka.