Joe Biden

Joe Biden: The Ted Baxter of politics

By Richard Jack Rail

Joe Biden’s people say that Joe is “gaffe prone” and always has been, and shrug it off. That’s just who he is, no big deal. It’s perplexing how they casually dismiss Biden’s verbal miscues but adamantly insist on Donald Trump’s as revealing deep, dark, ugly things.

Actually, Joe’s gaffes are more like lies than gaffes. They pop out of his mouth as gaffes, but when he hears them and realizes what he just said, he doubles down rather than laughing at himself and rephrasing on the spot. “Did I really just say that? That’s probably overstating. Let me try again.” Or smacking himself upside the head with a grimace. “There I go again. Gimme another go at that.” In such a way, he could actually turn mistakes into advantages, the fundamentally decent old guy who can take the issue seriously without taking himself too seriously.

So there are ways to say what Joe wants to say without just lying and refusing to back down, but he’s too proud to do that. It’s true that he has always had a runaway mouth. It’s also true that he’s insecure about whether he’s smart enough to fit in with all the others he thinks are smarter than he, which would be just about everybody in D.C. This insecurity probably accounts for his peculiar insistence on referring to his wife as Doctor Jill Biden. He gets to bask in the reflected glow of her professional smarts, indicated by the title.

Joe’s real problem, apart from just not being very bright, is a lack of acting ability. We’ve known since at least JFK that presentation, including physical appearance, may matter more in public life than any other single attribute. Joe Biden has the physical appearance part down but lacks any sense of what to do after that. So he is gradually talking himself out of any shot at being president.

Which is what Hillary did. The more she ran her mouth, the more people saw what a petty, sad, nasty piece of work she was. Not Joe; he’s just modeling mental midgetry as the Ted Baxter of politics.


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