When I first came to live in the U.S., there was the usual delay while my application got processed. I wasn’t able to work (and I wasn’t going to do any sub rosa work because a.) it was illegal and b.) if discovered, I feared being tossed out of the country).
So I watched TV. All day and every day, for months. As soon as the banality of daytime TV got to me (rough guess, about four days in), I looked for something else to watch that wasn’t going to bleed me of brain cells faster than a medieval doctor, and discovered C-Span TV. Yup, live coverage of the daily business of Congress.
I watched it obsessively, as much from fascination as from wanting to discover exactly how my soon-to-be-adopted country worked.
And one of the highlights of that time was when proceedings of the Senate Judiciary and -Foreign Relations Committees came on. I knew hardly anything about the judicial stuff, but more than a little of world politics. A common speaker was Sen. Joe Biden, about whom I knew nothing, and as I watched more and more of his appearances and his speeches and questions, I soon realized that this was the most stupid man I’d ever seen on TV. When he was reading from a prepared speech, Biden was fine: articulate, witty and engaging. As soon as he wandered off-script, and especially when he was interrogating witnesses appearing in the Senate, his stupidity and ignorance were always in evidence. What he said sounded plausible and in keeping with his speeches; but the substance of what he said was vacuous, ill-informed and often devoid of any kind of logic, let alone rhetoric. I actually started to cringe whenever he was handed the microphone because I thought that surely, surely he would embarrass himself. And he did, constantly — but he never once realized that he had. (In this regard, Biden was very similar to how Socialist Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is today, incidentally — and he’s only better than she is now because of his many years’ experience in politics.)
When Biden ran for president back in 1988, I actually had an outside opportunity to work for the outfit handling his polling in Texas (Longtime Readers may recall that I was a researcher back then). I turned it down because I couldn’t face the thought of working for this guy, no matter how peripherally.
Given all the above, I was perhaps the only man in America who was unsurprised when the equally-vacuous Barack Obama chose Biden as his VP — anyone brighter would have shown up Obama’s intellectual vapidity, and Biden’s superficially-plausible-but-intellectually-empty speechmaking was on a par with the future president’s.
So I don’t care about all the current brouhaha surrounding Biden’s current presidential prospects: his fondling of women, his political platform (such as it is), or his age. I do care that we only recently emerged from eight years of a stupid president (Obama), and I have no wish to be subjected to the same weapons-grade presidential stupidity all over again.