Thanks to an overly accommodating news media, former Vice President Joe Biden is often thought of as a Mr. Nice Guy – a man who cares about people. He is characterized as everybody’s Uncle Joe. That’s a wonderful public image, but behind that Madison Avenue, crafted persona lurks a pugnacious Irish politician with a short fuse.
Given how little Biden has come out of his bunker to face the public, there are a surprising and disturbing number of … shall we say … “incidents.” His most recent involved a snappish exchange with Black CBS reporter Errol Barnett.
Barnett wanted to clarify if Biden had taken cognitive tests, as he claimed in June, when he said that he was being tested “all the time” for cognitive issues. Baden later seemed to be hedging on that statement.
When presented with the question, Biden shot back, “No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?” Of course, that answer was contrary to his earlier claim. Maybe he forgot he took them.
But Biden did not stop there, He went for a full five-star gaffe. He said, “Come on, man. That’s like saying to you, before you got on this program, if you had to take a test were you taking cocaine or not. What do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?”
That was not only a cheap shot, but by today’s standards, that was politically incorrect and downright racist. Of all the retorts the angry Biden could have concocted, why reference a Black man as a hypothetical junkie. Why was that the first thing that came to Biden’s 77-year-old White mind. Was he harkening back to those days when that stereotype had gravitas among White politicians?
Before the dust even had a chance to settle on that very telling exchange, Biden entered racist gaffe-land again when he explained that Hispanics are very diverse compared to Blacks. When the backlash started to roll in, Biden said that he did not mean to imply that Blacks were monolithic. Actually, he did not imply it at all. He said it straightforwardly. Biden was just stating what Democrat leaders have believed for generations. They are no shades of Black in the Democrat playbook.
Biden also stepped into the racial doo-doo when being interviewed on “The Breakfast Club” by host Charlamagne Tha God. Biden declared that any African American who votes for Trump is not Black. (The old monolithic Black theory again?) That resulted in a backlash and an apology. He said he was just joking – being a “wise guy.” Why was no one laughing?
Those gaffes go in the file along with his description of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama as an “articulate and clean” Black man. And when he said that “poor kids are as smart as White kids.” Was that another Biden attempt at humor?
These comments have offended some Black voters – assumedly those failing to live the monolithic Black life. Many Blacks recall what he said when sponsoring legislation that threw a disproportionate number of young Black males into prison for so-called victimless crimes. Other Black voters are unforgiving of Biden’s treatment of Anita Hill when – as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — he presided over the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas.
But all his flip-flops, gaffes, and contretemps are not always racially biased. Biden’s hot-headedness was seen when he angrily responded to a young female student. When Madison Moore had asked Biden why he thinks he can win in view of his poor showing in the Iowa primary, Biden explained that Iowa is a caucus state – and he inquired of Moore, “Have you ever been to a caucus?”
When she said she had, the irate Biden shot back, “No you haven’t. You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier.” The “pony soldier” was what Native Americans might have called the U.S. Calvary in the 1800s – and was the title of a 1952 Canadian Mountie movie, “Pony Soldier” starring Tyrone Power.
The “pony soldier” reference seems to be a meaningless name-calling insult — but “dogface?” Referring to a woman as a dog face is one level below the b-word. Again, by today’s standards, that exchange brands Biden as a sexist. Biden – as he did about his statement on “The Breakfast Club” – said his comment to Moore was just jest. (My God, the guy is a regular standup comedian.)
But the Moore put down was not an outlier. The “Uncle Joe” epitaph has been replaced in recent years by “Creepy Joe” – a nickname he earned as a result of his weird habit of playing touchy-feely with female politicians and supporters – with a bit of hair-sniffing on occasion. And then there is that case in which he is accused by a former staffer of sexual battery.
Biden’s pugnaciousness was also evident when a Michigan voter asked Biden how he stood on gun control. Biden lost his cool. Shaking his finger in the man’s face, Biden said, “you’re full of shit” — and then suggested that they go outside to settle things. The Biden response was so out of line that the possible need for anger management comes to mind.
In Iowa, Biden called a farmer a “damn liar” and challenged him to an IQ test and a push-up contest. Hmmm. Biden seems to talk a lot about mental acuity tests but shows little interest in actually taking one. And as far as his threatening barroom combatant behavior, Biden should pick on guys (or gals) his own size (and age) instead of those who could toss him around like a Punch and Judy puppet.
Biden’s temper routinely flairs up almost any time anyone questions the Ukraine activities of his son, Hunter. Since the Senate investigators are still looking into that situation, we may see more of Biden’s dark side rage.
So … it is not only the fear of gaffes and senior moments that has the Biden handlers keeping the boss on political quarantine in a cellar in Delaware. They do not want the public to see any more examples of the hot-headed Mr. Hyde … I mean Mr. Biden.
So, there ‘tis.