Joe Biden is the least formidable front-runner ever

Inevitably, he arrives late, by SUV or van. The former vice-president is thin and, yes, he’s old. He dresses neatly and always in blue. Staff envelop him. There’s the body man, the advance man, the videographer, the photographer, the digital director, the traveling chief of staff, the traveling press secretary, the local press secretary, the adviser, the other adviser, the adviser’s adviser, the surrogate, the other surrogate, and the bodyguard.

The looming presence of the last guy, Jim, is especially important for optics. Jim is tall and official-looking. He greets the world chest-first, his hands resting in a dignified clasp, his expression even, his mouth unmoving. Most people assume that he’s a Secret Service agent. Which he was.

But ex-VPs don’t get security for life the way ex-presidents do. Most people don’t know that, not even the politically savvy types who attend these sorts of things. And that’s all for the best, because Jim — or whatever local guy they’ve got filling in for him in Iowa or New Hampshire or Nevada or wherever else — is a necessary component of the vibe they’re trying to generate here, the Big Presidential Energy, if you will, that powers this production.

And it is a production. This is true even when the event is small, which it often is, because the stakes never are — Joe Biden speaking off the cuff is something the entire campaign seems focused on preventing at all costs. Inside the community center or union hall or college auditorium, the stage is crafted just so. The red and blue letters — each roughly the size of a 9-year-old — spell IOWA 4 BIDEN. The American flag is stretched taut and stapled to the plywood. The lawn sign is stapled to the lectern. The delicate panes of teleprompter glass angle to meet his hopeful gaze, so that he may absorb the programmed speech as he peers out at his audience, which usually skews quite old and white, unless he’s in South Carolina.

This first part — the reading of the speech — he almost always gets right. Even when he makes changes, rearranging the order of the words, skipping over a few, adding others, how could he not get it right? He’s been delivering some version of it for more than 40 years and living it for longer. He could deliver it in his sleep, if he ever sleeps. It’s like my father always said: Joey, a job is about more than just a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, “It’s gonna be okay …” There is an undercurrent of shame that pulses throughout, this idea that the unequalness of our society is embarrassing for those who have access to less, rather than embarrassing for those who have more than anyone could need.

Folks … Not a joke! He’s always saying something rather solemn, about cancer or immigration, and then adding, “Not a joke!” as if anyone thought it might be. I’m being serious here … Come on … The bottom line is … I’m not kidding around … The fact of the matter is … Barack and me … Folks … Folks … Folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … FOLKS … folks … FoLkS … fOlKs … F. O. L. K. S. … 
And this next part — the greeting of the voters — he gets right, too. In this context, he possesses an almost mystical quality that, for whatever reason, does not come across when filtered through the kaleidoscope of newsprint or television. It’s the way he focuses his eyes, which are as blue as the seas, except for (yikes) that time the left eye filled with blood on CNN a few weeks back.

He is swarmed. Women reach out to him, linking their arms in his. He bows his head and lifts their hands to his mouth for a kiss and, later, when you ask them if that makes them uncomfortable, they look at you like you have three heads. This is the best day of their lives. Are you insane? There are men, too, who embrace him, wrapping their hands around his neck. He calls every male-presenting human he encounters “man.” I watched him call a baby “man.” As in, Hey! How­areya, man?! He is as skilled a selfie-taker as any influencer, and in the span of 30 or 40 minutes, he snaps hundreds, leaning his body against the rope that separates him from the crowd, straining it one, two, three feet forward. He really does connect with every living being this way, talking about their jobs or their health care as he listens, sometimes crying with them, whispering in their ears, taking their phone numbers and promising to call them. He does, in fact, do that.

Everybody is Joe Biden’s long-lost friend. Every baby is Joe Biden’s long-lost child. A little girl in Iowa City called him her uncle Joe. On the Fourth of July in the town of Independence, he took off, running through the parade like a dingo with somebody’s newborn. As hard as it might be to believe that anything in this realm could not be bullshit, it’s simply true that this isn’t.


Read More...
 

 Read more at NY Magazine

Current News

Population Control Is a Critical Part of Climate Fight, Scientists Warn

Population Control Is a Critical Part of Climate Fight, Scientists Warn

Forty years ago, scientists from 50 nations converged on Geneva to discuss what was then called the “CO2-climate problem.”  Read more

Justice Department seeks info on 'Anonymous' author of soon-to-be-published insider book

Justice Department seeks info on 'Anonymous' author of soon-to-be-published insider book

The Justice Department is demanding identifying details about the senior Trump administration official who has written an anonymous book, warning in a letter to the publisher...  Read more

NBC News Asks Voters About Impeachment, Doesn’t Go As Planned

NBC News Asks Voters About Impeachment, Doesn’t Go As Planned

NBC News approached voters in early voting states — Minnesota, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — and asked them about Democrats’ attempt to impeach President Donald Trump...  Read more

Giuliani subpoenaed by House Dems for Ukraine docs in impeachment inquiry

Giuliani subpoenaed by House Dems for Ukraine docs in impeachment inquiry

The chairmen of three House committees subpoenaed President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Monday for key documents related to the Ukraine controversy...  Read more

Democrats Declare War on Trump

Democrats Declare War on Trump

With House passage Thursday of a resolution formalizing their blatantly partisan impeachment witch hunt against President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow crazed radical Democrats have declared war...  Read more

Lawmaker Warns On Impeachment: ‘About To Push This Country To A Civil War’

Lawmaker Warns On Impeachment: ‘About To Push This Country To A Civil War’

Rep. Louis Gohmert warned Democrats on Thursday that their continued push for impeachment and actions over the last three years were putting the country on the brink of a “civil war.”  Read more