Let’s face it: As long as Uncle Joe has been campaigning, his foot’s been in his mouth as often as not. Heck, given his repeated plagiarism, sometimes it’s someone else’s foot. …Or is that him being creepy? I lose track. But that’s O.K., I guess, because so does he.
In any other campaign season, the candidates would need to be out on the road drumming up votes. They’d be giving their stump speech six times a day in as many states. The battlegrounds would be at competing rallies; the winners and losers would be judged by talking heads based on attendance.
But not this year.
Which, arguably, is a damned good thing for Biden, who managed only two campaign events in the final week of the New Hampshire primaries — and even then, his gaffes were legendary. Keene is not in Vermont, and there’s still some doubt out there about… well, what exactly is a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” anyway?
I know this is a dangerous topic. When socializing these days, to suggest or even imply that Uncle Joe isn’t really on top of his game any more is strictly taboo. Which is missing the point, rather; Biden’s never been at or even near the top of his game. That’s not his selling point.
And yet, the Republican press and the meme farms keep attacking him there. It’s pretty silly; they’re hitting where it doesn’t hurt. They’re aiming at his brains, and there’s nothing there to hit.
Think about it: You can call Joe Biden senile all you want. Bring out evidence, if you like: doctor’s visits, the anti-dementia drugs, video of him falling asleep on stage during campaign events or even, famously, in the middle of an interview. It doesn’t matter. Nobody’s relying on Uncle Joe’s mental acuity for one single damn thing. As far as the D.N.C. is concerned, all he needs to do is wake up once a week just long enough to sign legislation, and as for the voters… to be frank, a lot of us prefer things this way. Joe’s quiet and comfortable, like old bedroom slippers, a broken-down recliner, and a stretched-out cardigan full of holes. We’ve had enough excitement, thanks.
Besides, he’s relatable like nobody else. Joe Biden is Mr. Mediocrity. He’s not one of those legendarily corrupt D.C. insiders; poor old Uncle Joe has never been clever enough to be crooked. The only real stains on his character — aside from that lingering creepiness, but surely at nearly eighty he’s too feeble to be getting himself into that sort of trouble — are a few counts of plagiarism. And what could possibly shout “mediocre American” more than that? We all know the story of the quarterback who cheated on his finals; heck, some of us may know the quarterback. Some of us may be the quarterback.
Which is kinda my point.
His opponent is a billionaire blowhard. The Donald embodies everything about humanity we detest, all hairspray and cheap tan, glitz and glitter without even a hint of class or style. He’s universally, uniformly hated; the only thing he inspires is disgust. He has a following largely due to his deplorable excess of personality.
And opposing him is the only figure who can defeat his cult: the shadow of a man who never was, a politician’s politician running without a brain, the obvious puppet of a thousand brilliant party hacks and handlers.
So is Uncle Joe senile?
Who knows? Hell, at this point, who cares? Biden will get votes because he’s not Trump.
As an aside: It’s not so much the “lesser of two evils” mentality that gets me down these days. That’s bad, but I’d adapted to it. It’s more that they don’t even seem to be trying, as if the voters aren’t worth even the slightest of efforts, the emptiest of gestures. I know true substance is out of the question, but can’t we at least have some semblance of style? Just, ya know, for a change?
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Then again, perhaps not thinking has some advantages…