The Second Banana

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Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden attended a fundraiser for Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). During the course of his predictably bizarre and occasionally worrying (This is the guy the Democrats feel comfortable allowing within a heartbeat of the Oval Office?) remarks, Biden claimed: “Republicans have changed the law so you get arrested if you do vote.” To be fair, anything that falls out of Ol’ Plugsy’s blowhole has to be taken with a grain of salt the size of the Superdome; but he’s not exactly breaking new rhetorical ground for the Democrats. All he’s really doing is giving the Biden treatment to a talking point the Democrats have deployed in order to frighten the less — ahem — aware among us back onto the liberal plantation.

But Biden’s latest verbal miscue — which the liberal-constructed pool reports suggested was “apparently” a joke — is miniscule in comparison to the Democrats’ miscue in letting him mingle with unprotected citizens unsupervised. If the endless parade of scandals, failures and outright crimes that have defined President Barack Obama’s tenure to date don’t give voters a case of the shivers, the fact that Biden’s name will probably remain on the ticket ought to. Biden is Dan Quayle with worse hair, or John Edwards with worse hair and fewer “baby mamas.”

There’s an old saw in American politics: “Your running mate can’t help you, but he can hurt you.” Ask George H.W. Bush, whose decision to promote then-Indiana Senator Quayle from the golf course to the Naval Observatory actually made the ridiculous Michael Dukakis seem slightly less like a practical joke. What the saw leaves out is the modern corporate media’s virtually absolute obedience to the Democratic Party. Biden is the biggest public train wreck to even sniff the Vice President’s digs since Senator Thomas Eagleton (George McGovern’s running mate for just over two weeks in 1972) endured his last round of shock treatment. And yet, Biden’s buffoonish antics — be they racist remarks, half-witted attempts to explain away academic fraud, public profanities in grossly inappropriate moments or even his notoriously poor grasp of basic spelling and history — are seldom reported by the corporate media. When they are, they’re usually treated as pure entertainment, like a sideshow at an old-school carnival.

The 2008 election featured the most witheringly misogynistic assaults on a major party Vice Presidential candidate in my lifetime. Even Geraldine Ferraro, who couldn’t have damaged the already laughable Walter Mondale’s Presidential aspirations, was subjected to fire over her politics, not her gender nor her children; a statement which certainly can’t be made about the Democrats’ repugnantly anti-woman treatment of Governor Sarah Palin (jokes about her grandson’s Down syndrome? Where’s the punch line?). And the person presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney taps for the second banana spot should prepare himself to run a gauntlet that makes a visit to the proctologist seem like a dinner date by comparison.

To be honest, Biden isn’t so much frightening as he is embarrassing. He’s a living testament to the abject lack of respect Obama and the Democrats have for America and Americans. The idea that such an oaf would be allowed anywhere near the “nuclear football” without a visitor’s badge and an armed guard ought to embarrass the Democrats — not the rest of us. Romney can’t do worse; but he can do much, much better. He can choose a running mate who doesn’t make us pine for Quayle — or, God save us — Mondale. Sometime in the near future, I’m going to examine the field of potential Romney running mates in my own inimitable style — presuming Mr. Livingston doesn’t replace me with some syndicated gossip columnist. In the meantime, enjoy Biden’s floor show. Maybe he’ll do another one of those “duets” with Neil Kinnock.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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