"Hey, after dinner let's go shoot some bottle rockets in the backyard. Don't tell your Mom."
When Clint Eastwood said, “We all know Joe Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party,” I’m pretty sure he meant it as a diss, but in the debate on Thursday it looked like Biden actually was the intellect of the Democratic Party – as well as the balls. And the teeth. And the part that laughs in your fucking face when you try to lie on national TV.
I have always liked Joe Biden, dating back to a Daily Show appearance in 2007 when he was just a presidential candidate. Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit the dude has got some serious charisma. A lot of people have referred to him as America’s weird uncle, which I consider to be high praise – I would be thrilled to one day be someone’s Weird Uncle.
Unlike the Creepy Uncle, who has to take a long route to work in order to stay more than 1000 feet away from schools and playgrounds, the Weird Uncle just does whatever the hell he wants to whether it’s a good idea or not. Weird Uncle buys a stolen motorcycle on Craigslist because it was cheap. Weird Uncle sets his garage on fire trying to distill his own whiskey. Weird Uncle gets drunk off said whiskey at Thanksgiving and starts telling awesome dirty jokes that make your parents nervous. I was born to be the Weird Uncle, but I can’t because I have no siblings, so instead I live vicariously through Joe Biden as he Weird Uncles all over the political establishment.
In my recurring fantasy where I go out to a bar with President Obama and Vice President Biden, I imagine Obama closing out his tab around 11:00, joking that Michelle is going to have his ass if he isn’t home ASAP. Turning around, Biden grabs my shoulder and leans close. “There’s a guy selling cocaine in the bathroom,” he whispers. “Order us some Jagerbombs. I’ll be back in five minutes.”
I think that Joe Biden and I are of a similar temperament – we both say a lot of stupid shit that we ultimately regret later, but we both mean well and are passionate about our convictions. The difference is that Joe Biden has somehow managed to have a long and fruitful political career and I’m just sitting here masturbating.
This is why I was worried in the leadup to Biden’s debate against Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s chiseled, tax and women’s reproductive rights-hating Adonis from Wisconsin. Because I feel a certain kinship with Biden, I was afraid that he would handle the debate the way I would – get frustrated after Ryan’s first rebuttal and spend the rest of the debate dancing back and forth across the stage, third fingers held aloft.
Because in my admittedly cynical worldview, I think that’s the only option left in this circlejerk of an election. I mean, Romeny and Ryan are just lying all over the fucking place and their constituents don’t seem at all concerned that the guys who want to run the free world for four to eight years can’t even maintain consistent and transparent policies for one. Shit, if facts don’t matter anymore why not just have the election be decided by sumo suit wrestling or competitive eating? At least that’d be one hell of a lot more fun to watch.
I usually leave work at 6:30, so I turned on the debate at 6:00 on the office TV, figuring I’d watch for half an hour, drive home, and finish the rest on YouTube. Instead I wound up sitting alone in the office until 7:30, too riveted by Biden’s performance to walk away.
One of the big reactions I saw on Fox News the following morning was that Biden was ‘unprofessional’ or ‘impolite’ because of how often he laughed, rolled his eyes, and talked over Paul Ryan. And honestly, I sort of agree – those theatrics wouldn’t fly in a high school speech and debate competition.
You know what else is unprofessional, impolite, and wouldn’t fly in a high school speech and debate competition? FUCKING LYING.
The Republicans wanted a professional, mature debate? Well, tough titties – you sacrificed any claim to civility or decency when you made PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year™ a talking point and publicly admitted that your campaign wouldn’t be dictated by fact checkers. If you get to play fast and loose with the truth, we get to humiliate you on television for doing it. You’d think a party full of warmongering gun owners would have fewer crybabies, but apparently not.
You’ve got to fight assholes with assholes, and fortunately Joe Biden is just the asshole for the job – he’s smart, he knows his facts, he isn’t afraid to be crude or unprofessional, and thankfully he’s on our side. I wish there was another vice presidential debate – or a debate matching Biden up against Romney. Hell, if Joe Biden was a Duck fan I’d want to put him on ESPN Gameday.
Joe Biden is pretty good at lying himself – he once lifted a substantial portion of a 1987 campaign speech from a British politician without attribution, and claims to have had a private verbal altercation with President Bush that, by all accounts, probably didn’t happen. Even his performance in the debate, while more truthful than Ryan's, wasn't entirely on the level.
I guess it’s probably unfair for me to favor the lying politician I agree with and hate the lying politicians I don’t agree with. The best argument I can make is that Biden lies less, and when he does it's more through overzealous exaggeration than anything else. In this election, having the least combustible pants is about as close as you can get to honesty.
Truman Capps very nearly titled this update, 'Biden His Time'.