Over the weekend, I found myself slightly miffed at my colleague Lorie Byrd. On Saturday, she wrote a piece about a certain video featuring Joe Biden about 20 years ago. I had planned on writing about it Sunday morning, and felt a certain sense of proprietary interest — after all, it had been shot in Claremont, New Hampshire, and I feel like I should have “first dibs” on any New Hampshire stories.
Anyway, Lorie did her usual superb job, and my idea set aside.
But not for long. There is a wealth of information to be gleaned from that short video clip about the man who wishes to be one heartbeat from the presidency, and I think that I can mine even more from it than Lorie did.
But first, the video:
What this shows us is how Joe Biden reacts when he is challenged: he tends to resort to what I call “three B’s.”
The initial question is how he did in law school.
First up, he Bullies.
“First up, I think I have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect.”
Assertion of superiority. Dominance. “I’m smarter than you are; how dare you question me!”
Next, he Blusters.
“I went to law school on a full academic scholarship, the only one in my class…”
“I ended up in the top half of my class…”
“I won the international moot court competition…”
“I was the Outstanding Student in the political science department…”
“I graduated with three degrees…”
The problem is that his Bluster ends up flowing into the third “B:” Bullshit.
Fact: Biden attended law school on a partial, needs-based scholarship.
Fact: he graduated 76th out of a class of 85.
Fact: he now says he was “considered” for the Outstanding Student in Political Science.
Fact: He graduated with two degrees.
The only thing that is remotely true is the Moot Court competition, where he was part of the winning team.
So, what does this tell us about Joe Biden?
Well, I will freely admit that judging a man’s entire character based on a minute or two of 20-year-old video is armchair psychology of the most amateur sort, and I’m hardly an expert, but I think it is borne out by other observations:
When Joe Biden feels threatened, he reacts at a gut level and lashes out at his challenger, and will do whatever it takes to claim superiority — even making up credentials and honors to which he is not entitled. in order to silence his critic.
In other words, when he gets angry, he just plain makes shit up. The more worked-up he is, the less you can believe what he can say.
Now that I think about it, though, perhaps this is the best argument for putting Biden in as vice president. The two primary duties of the veep are to preside over the Senate, voting only in the event of a tie, and “inquiring daily as to the health of the president.”
Biden’s already in the Senate, so effectively this would nullify most of his voting privileges. And Obama is young and healthy (at least according to the one-page summary of his health issued by his doctor), so the likelihood of Biden ascending to the presidency are pretty slim. Making him vice-president might actually be the best thing for America.
But damn, it seems like a hell of a price to pay. Especially since his current term (he’s been in the Senate for almost 36 years, well over half his entire life) is up this year, and I don’t know if Delaware, like Texas and a few other states, allows him to run for both his Senate seat and vice-president at the same time, so there’s a good chance he’ll be out of office either way come next January.
And good riddance.