The Wilderness | Issue .55 | 8 . 3 . 2015 |Tweet
There has been a lot of talk early in the 2016 cycle about “Making America Great Again.” Candidates are belching smoke all around the country, promising to take America back and make America great again because only they can make America great again and America needs to be made great again. But what if that’s not what America needs? Perhaps America doesn’t need a President who can make it great again. Perhaps what America and the world needs is a President who can guide it to its imminent demise. Someone bold enough and brave enough to ensure that this country is buried under a nuclear ash-heap, yet amusing enough to still be able to make us laugh at the remnants of what used to be our trivial everyday lives.
One thing has been foreordained in the Democratic primary process: despite all the crowds and adoring media coverage and Facebook shares, Bernie Sanders will never be an electorally viable choice. Sorry Bernie-Bots: the country just isn’t ready for a President who believes that a lack of orgasms causes cervical cancer (*SCIENCE!*). Thanks to two brutal midterm electoral massacres, the Democratic bench heading into the 2016 (and possibly the 2020) election has been rendered nonexistent. That is the party Barack Obama will be leaving in ashes as he walks out of office, brushing the dust from his shoulders and sliding smoothly into the ESPN timeslot left vacant by Keith Olbermann’s firing. What has become crystal-clear over the past seven years is that Barack Obama was an electoral supernova; a complete anomaly on the map of historical electoral politics. The election of 2016 is looking more and more like it’s not going to resemble 2008 or 2012 at all, but will more likely look like the elections of 2004 and 2000. To a shocking extent, both up- and down-ticket, the Democrats are fielding a slate comprised largely of pre-Obama candidates turfed out of office in 2010 or 2014. The path of destruction Obama has left behind him has forced the Democratic party to take a long look in the mirror at its pasty old white self and face its own mortality. The future is going to have to wait, because the Democrats don’t have anyone younger than 60 groomed enough yet to walk onto the big stage.
They’re going to be stuck with a familiar face heading into 2016…it’s just not going to be the one people are expecting right now. Democrat voters do not want Hillary Clinton. They have tolerated her up until this point, as the “inevitable” choice, all the while glancing nervously at the door and hoping someone else would walk in. The combination of a pending electability implosion, the collective breath-holding over each week’s new distracting scandal, the cringe-inducing vines and falling likability numbers in polls, it all has them on a nervous edge where they are screaming out for any old crazy kook to support as an alternative.
And no, it’s not Bernie Sanders they’re waiting for.
There is no cavalry to save them from their own worst political instincts this time around. But there is hope. And hope, in 2016, is arriving behind the revved-up engine of a cherried-out red white and blue political Thunderbird pulling donuts all over the map of the country while “The Final Countdown” blares from the stereo and the steely inevitability of America’s impending doom gleams out from behind the reflection of Ray-Ban Aviators.
That’s right: It’s Joe time.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it’s abundantly clear that there is only one man who can save the Democratic Party, America, and probably the world (by ending it), and that man is not Hillary Clinton. As the fog rolls down from our majestic purple mountains like a patriotic smoke machine, so too will Joe Biden walk onto the stage, take the podium, punch the microphone in the face, push the button and announce that he is here to save us, completely oblivious to the fact that pushing the button was supposed to come last.
And he just might be able to pull it off. He’s already Buzzprepped, deemed Upworthy, and is beyond Voxplaining.
But wait, you might argue: Biden has never polled well nationally and is basically America’s own real life “Hugo, the Abominable Snowman.” True enough, but then again the Democrats have consistently billed themselves as the party of “vibrance and youth,” and in Biden’s case there were always two to three better alternatives. That’s not a luxury they have this time around. Few voters under the age of 30 have heard the name “Neil Kinnock” and the rest get their political consciousness from SNL or The Daily Show. Biden would be the first post-media President. Furthermore, with Donald Trump honking his clown horn all over the country and leaving bags of crap on the front porch of every GOP candidate, he has also pulled off somewhat of a miracle unseen before in American politics:
Trump has made Biden look somewhat coherent and seasoned on the national political stage of a country that finds itself far more interested in the cameos on television sitcoms than the ones in ISIS beheading videos.
We have become a culture of memes. Well-intentioned thoughts are now whittled down to 140 characters and conversations are merely the brief interludes we have between scrolling through our Twitter follows. We have doomed ourselves to half-thoughts, unfinished cognitions and distracted contemplations, far more interested in the party going on inside our own heads than the distraught realities right in front of us. And no presidential candidate in the 2016 race better exemplifies who we’ve become than Joe Biden. He is America’s walking meme. A single picture of Biden looking out a window or groping another man’s wife spawns a thousand different captions and quotes and creates content for dozens and dozens of hungry clickbait farms. He’s the voice inside our heads doing and saying the things we know we could only get away with if we also were a heartbeat away from the nuclear football. If politics has truly interbred with popular culture as a result of Obama’s celebritization, and the country is in fact on the road to a permanent self-inflicted dementia, then we can do no better. Joe Biden is who we deserve.
But Joe Biden won’t be able to permanently retire Hillary Clinton to the nursing home and People’s Court reruns simply by walking onto a stage to the Conan the Barbarian theme, wrapping his tie around his head like Rambo, buttoning his blazer around his neck like a Superman cape, and proudly declaring he is Shiva, The God of Death before doing a header off of it into the crowd. Biden — always the goofy inflatable tube guy waving his arms around the used car lot that is our blessed land — must dig in, get serious, put the tinker-toys away and become the ruthless killing machine he was when he tracked down a bully and beat the ever living crap out of him for stealing his bicycle.
Hillary Clinton is that bully and the Oval Office is Joe’s bike, handle bar tassels and all.
Hillary cannot be his old long-lost pal. This past weekend Biden may have finally gotten the shove he needed to save the country from four more years of Clinton controversies, as New York Times Anti-Clinton diva (and notorious reggae headshop connoisseur) Maureen Dowd did everything short of digging up the grave of his recently deceased son to convince him that now is the time to run. There have been whispers and pushes from secondary columnists to get him into the race, but mainly only as a tomato can to prepare Hillary for the grand finale. But Joe Biden, our Joe Biden, will not be anyone’s tomato can, goddammit.
He has to bring all 650 horses under his hood out roaring and leave the kind regard for Grandma in the dust–and it won’t be nearly as hard as the national media is making it out to be.
The pro-gay marriage movement has already recognized the importance of Biden’s leadership, beyond those two or three times he was caught stumbling into the Blue Oyster Bar accidentally. In 2012, as the great communicator anguished over how best to pontificate about traditional marriage and gay marriage and how that applied to all voting demographics, the voices inside Biden’s head had other ideas. It took a little bit of nudging from David Gregory on Meet The Press — and face it, that pair of jorts he was secretly wearing probably helped too — but Biden’s pro-gay marriage blurt lit a match under the rear of Obama to come out and endorse it as well, as angry administration insiders later admitted. The astroturfers may shout “Queen” and “BAE” at @HillaryClinton whenever she tweets about Beyoncé, but make no mistake: the far-Left rainbow coalition owes Biden an enormous debt of gratitude which will pay off in primary elections versus Clinton, and they’re not the only ones. It also unequivocally goes without saying that Joe looks better in leather chaps.
#BBAE – Biden Before Anyone Else.
As Sanders and Martin O’Malley fumbled their attempts to get down with the struggle of the #BlackLivesMatter movement at Netroots Nation, while Hillary ignored them altogether, much whispering has occurred on social media that Biden is in fact that movement’s candidate of choice. If the activist leaders, teamed with a narrative-hungry media, throw their weight behind Biden either before or after Obama does, any rumors of a disenfranchised black youth vote sitting home would be dispelled almost as fast as you can say “malarkey.”
Biden also has the potential to rally the blue collar union base around him unlike perhaps anyone in the field on either side. This would help strengthen the electoral majorities that Democrats hold on the northeast and prevent any GOP incursion into the weakened population centers in Pennsylvania (a key state heading into the election) and Michigan, to say nothing of blue collar swing-states like Wisconsin and Iowa. A Joe Biden vs. Scott Walker election would motivate every local AFL union boss to pull terrified people out of their cars at intersections and force them into a voting booth…and, rather curiously, the AFL CIO has refused to endorse Hillary Clinton as of yet. Veterans young and old would happily have a beer with Joe and beg him to “kick Hillary’s ass.”
All of this becomes almost insurmountable for a soft, unapproachable frontrunner who won’t face questions, whether from her own party or the press, and who is swarmed every week with new shady (or illegal) allegations regarding her practices at the State Department or her foundation. The Democrats are on the verge of declaring their Underwood trophy couple to be completely dried up, and meanwhile Uncle Joe is guarding the keg.
There is also the political phenomenon of opposing party doppelgängers, and success or failure usually follows them like an evil twin separated at birth. Mitt Romney couldn’t shake his resemblance to a GOP John Kerry, and their Presidential fates were identical. Marco Rubio can’t help but draw comparisons to another well spoken one-term junior Senator, and a grassroots groundswell of campus support solidifying itself around Rand Paul harkens back to Howard Dean, both of whom are considered madmen by some in their own parties. Which brings us to Joe Biden, the Democratic party’s George W. Bush. A figure who is mercilessly attacked for his perceived lack of intelligence but endlessly praised for an affable likability that voters take far more into consideration than aptitude. This is why the Right cannot just simply write Biden off and point to his past failed campaigns or all the goofy shit he’s prone to saying. Sympathy for the passing of his son Beau from a malignant brain tumor rallied the political culture around him like almost nothing seen since 9/11. Democrats put their arms around him and conservatives stood guard.
All political snark aside, Joe might be an ignorant goofy bastard, but he’s our goofy bastard.
There’s a part of every American — the Thunderbird-revving, Tomahawk missile-riding America — Biden can tap into that Hillary Clinton simply can’t, not even if she unhinges her jaw and swallows her granddaughter whole in an attempt to absorb her innocent youthful soul. “Amtrak Joe” can speak to the union heart of the populist wing of the party. Hillary Clinton cannot. Her mansions and her $200,000 speeches (not to mention her worldwide slush fund) put her on an ice-encrusted pedestal, looking down at the Scranton auto mechanic who hasn’t serviced an automobile of hers in 25 years. An increasingly hard-edged tendency toward socialism has infected, if not overtaken the Democrats, but they still know Bernie Sanders is unelectable in the general election and that Elizabeth Warren is happy to roll in piles of confiscated corporate cash for years in the Senate. Biden is the perfect middleman to bridge the Occupy/union wings and the establishment DNC donor class still coming to grips with a party chairperson who seems to be actively torpedoing their shot at a third straight White House term.
As the media obsesses over every single misinterpreted word out of the mouths of top-tier Republicans, Biden has spent an entire career building an armor forged from gaffe-proof Kryptonite. Hillary Clinton can barely get through a prepared speech without the cold sweat of a new Kate McKinnon impression creeping into her mind. Meanwhile Biden can caress another man’s wife on national television, several times, and hum a soothing siren song ever-so-gently into her ear while feminists magically turn the other cheek. He somehow can even pull this off with minors as well. The media writes it all off under the same goofy rubric — it’s just “Joe being Joe” — and maybe the country is ready to do the same.
Joe Biden is the politician that Donald Trump thinks he is.
On top of all of that, there is then of course the Obama factor. Or rather the Obama dagger.
Obama maintains (and will maintain until the end of his term) somewhat personal favorability ratings thanks to an adoring media and Hollywood infrastructure that simply just refuses to see his stature diminished. It’s almost inevitable therefore that Obama will not only campaign for the Democratic nominee like he’s running for another term, but believes he has a strong say in who that person will be.
It doesn’t take much imagination to assume Team Chicago was none-too-pleased at the revelations piling up at the State Department over Madame Hillary’s use of private emails. It’s already been revealed that the use of private E-mail was an almost administration-wide practice to avoid Congressional oversight, and it’s also probably safe to assume Axelrod, Jarrett and the brand spokesman Obama knew about her non-governmental address. But it’s also safe to assume they did not know about oleaginous (and specifically Obama-banned) Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal continuing in an advisory role on the Clinton Foundation payroll while also doubling as a freelance mole for her at the State Department and sifting through classified intel he was never cleared to handle. There will be a desire among Team Chicago to demonstrate that, even if Hillary is no longer a part of the administration, there are still consequences for defying the one true king. In the deep chasm of love lost between the Obamas and the Clintons, at no point is that chasm wider or deeper than when it intersects with Sid Blumenthal, a 2008 Clinton campaign figure at the heart of much of the racial and religious ire pointed at candidate Obama’s direction. There has to be a consequence for the Clintons at the hands of Barack Obama. He cannot abide standing aside while the people who told him to fetch coffee attempt to reclaim the party and his legacy from him.
This is where loyal soldier Joe Biden willingly plays the part of a Lannister for Cersei Jarrett. In many ways, Biden has been the most rock-steady part of Obama’s administration. Always at his side, acting as a pep-talking toady whenever President Scut Farkus needs a cheering up. At every major announcement or address, Joe is there, acting not just as mindless assassination insurance, but rather as a loyal servant willing to take the bullet himself.
But what makes him different than Obama is there are times when it feels like he’s in on the joke with us. When Obama turned his reverb up to eleven at the State of The Union, Biden pointed and clowned with a colleague in the audience, perfectly mirroring the county’s own amusement at an over serious President constantly telling us how important he is. As often as Obama has seemed to be mere seconds away from fetching the genital cuff for Biden, he knows in his heart that ol’ Joe is the guard-dog of his policies, and his loyalty will be rewarded with the red meat of a 2016 endorsement. Obama can travel the country talking about the times Biden stood with him and how friendly their families have become through good times and bad. That’s not a campaign speech Obama can give, will give, or would ever want to give for Mrs. Clinton.
And Obama’s team probably also thinks of Biden as malleable — happily swiveling around in Obama’s Oval Office chair humming “Hail To The Chief” or the theme to “Blues Clues,” lost in daydreams about what pizza toppings he can stump the White House chef on having in stock — while Valerie Jarrett and her schemers select Cory Booker, Julian Castro or Kirsten Gillibrand as his demographically-appropriate running mate. Obama’s key instruction will be clear: “Don’t make me look bad.” This is something Biden, as the calm chewy nougat center of an administration caramel-whirled in scandals, has yet to ever seriously do in seven years.
If Biden, with the guidance of Obama and Jarrett, can take off the toon mitts against Hillary, the fight won’t even be close. Biden has spent seven long years learning the ways of the master. Hillary’s war chest is offset by Biden’s ability to use AF2 whenever he needs it, and his Secret Service entourage will more closely resemble the ’85 Bears than Hillary’s Visiting Angel detail. Biden will deploy his bellowing-clown debate tactics against a dour old woman flop-sweating over her desperate last chance for relevance, and then when the time is right, he’ll descend in for the kill by laying blame for the September 11th Benghazi attacks squarely at her feet (conveniently exonerating Barack Obama’s legacy in one fell swoop as an added bonus). Hillary can grin through her fangs, listing off how many miles she’s traveled as Secretary of State, but Biden can end her campaign with one devastating statement:
“In fact Mrs. Clinton, on the night of September 11th as our Embassy was under attack, you assured me and the President that you had the situation under control and that our Ambassador was safe.” Checkmate: nomination Biden.
Will it matter if it’s true? Fuck no it won’t. Will people believe giggling Joe Biden over Hillary’s deer-in-headlights response? 100% yes. This of course would mean that Biden would have to drop the Verbal Kint façade just long enough to dispatch the Clintons forever, and if this country has learned anything it’s that the Party Boy will not go down quietly…er, go away quietly. Hillary, on the other hand, will go back to her $1oo,ooo speeches and Joe will carry the sympathy of the country over his veteran son Beau with him to the DNC Convention. Biden would then use the same rope-a-dope tactics to dispatch a younger and more serious Marco Rubio or Scott Walker, much the same way he confused an overeager Paul Ryan with ballooning whale-calls and water-gurgles in 2012.
Hillary Clinton is going to spend millions upon millions trying to convince half of the country of who she really isn’t (again). Joe Biden can spend half that and be himself and let the Buzzfeeders do the rest.. This is a no-brainer for Democrats, and a literal no-brainer for the country. We’re already fucked, America. We might as well be awesome. We’re speeding down the hill toward impending catastrophe. America doesn’t need a President that will pull the emergency brake and risk wrecking the car. We need a President who will sack up, adjust his glasses and floor it. All that’s left for Joe to do is get behind the wheel and get in the race.
Move over, Grandma — there’s a new frontrunner.
– SM –