In Defense of Joe

Since Romney has picked his running mate (Congressman Paul Ryan, in case you were not aware), I have seen a lot of crowing over what a doofus Joe Biden, our current vice president, is.

I have seen it predicted that he’s going to get his ass handed to him in the VP debate. I have seen him called a joke, a goof, an idiot.

In my opinion, there’s a lot of premature gleeful hand-rubbing going on.

Why don’t people take Biden seriously? Sure, he’s prone to gaffes, he sticks his foot in his mouth — name one politician who isn’t and doesn’t. He’s got a lot of passion and goes off message (though, ultimately, not to his party’s detriment). He doesn’t use a lot of high-falutin’ rhetoric.

In some ways, he’s both the perfect foil and the perfect partner to our serious, calm, and articulate president. According to an article in Politico, Obama says, “The best thing about Joe is that when we get everybody together, he really forces people to think and defend their positions, to look at things from every angle, and that is very valuable for me.” From what I’ve read of the man, he plays devil’s advocate in the Administration. He’s not a lick-spittle.

Joe Biden is well-liked on Capitol Hill. He has more than 30 years experience as a politician. He’s been chairman of two Senate committees and a caucus. He’s written laws, and was the youngest senator with more than 10,000 votes in the Sentate. He is smart, savvy, plain-spoken, and bipartisan.

And he’s been through some shit. He lost his first wife and a daughter in a car accident. He was a single dad for five years. He’s been married to the same woman, his second wife, since 1977. He’s had some serious health scares.

Paul Ryan is 42 years old. He’s served as chair on one committee. He has no foreign policy experience. He’s a Tea Party favorite, which is the direct opposite of bipartisan. He’s probably no dummy, but come on. You really think he can hold his own against Joe Biden?

Because I don’t. Not that I’m going to discourage Republicans (or libertarians or independents) from underestimating Biden. Oh no, underestimate him all you want. I think he’s going to surprise you.

I’ll go make some popcorn.


Updated to add: Since the Bush/Kerry run off (was it the 2004 election?), there’s been this “beer test” for the candidates, as in “Who would you like to have a beer with?” As much respect as I have for our President, out of the four candidates in this race, I think I’d enjoy sitting down with Joe the most. He seems pretty humble, pretty funny, and pretty smart. He seems to be in touch with the electorate, and he seems like he’d go to bat for the middle class. Paul Ryan has dreamy blue eyes and all, but he also seems like, on a date, he’d prefer to listen to the sound of his own voice. Plus, he wouldn’t drink beer, he’d drink really pricey wine.

10 thoughts on “In Defense of Joe

  1. I also like VP Joe. I remember when he was running in the 2008 primarys, I saw him do a town hall and I agreed with most everything he said. Made a lot of sense to me. And I like that he doesn’t use a lot of $20 words, when a dime word will do.

    I hate the “Beer Test.” I want our President to be the smartest guy in the room, not Norm from Cheers. We tried the amiable doofus; I prefer the Professor.

    • Seconded on hating the “Beer Test.” It is unlikely that I will ever hang out with the President, so how fun that person is to hang out with is far from my highest concern. Actually for me the beer test is synonymous to the intelligence test since I don’t like hanging out with idiots.

      That said. Joe’s a good guy. If he’d like to have a beer with me I’d happily get a babysitter.

      • Kim and Bluz, I agree that the “beer test” is just dumb. But to Kim’s point, I like sitting around and talking with smart people. If beer or wine is involved, that’s just a plus! Although if we would find ourselves hanging out with Biden, looks like (as per Carperbagger, below) we’d have to have coffee. Or O’Doul’s. 🙂

  2. Thanks for writing this. Biden definitely gets a bad rap and should not be underestimated. He knows shit. He’s lived through shit. Plus, he can really connect with regular people. But he’s a teetotaler because of rampant alcohol abuse in his family legacy. Things I love about Joe:

    His son served in Iraq. (Mitt?)
    He commuted to and from Congress 1.5 hours each way by train to be home for his young sons.
    He overcame stuttering by reciting poetry for long hours in a mirrors.
    He comes from a long line of working people in Scranton—auto salesmen, car dealers, people who know how to make a sale.
    His last financial disclosure form in Congress listed his net worth at $59,000 to $366,000. i.e. he knows middle class because he is middle class.

    He’ll be prepared to debate. Even when he makes gaffes, he tells the truth.

  3. I love this post so much! And everyone is making a big deal out of Paul Ryan being Catholic? Guess what, so is Joe, but he doesn’t shove it in everyone’s faces. I recently read an article where Joe traveled to Mexico and while he was there, he visited a Marian shrine in honor of his mother and asked the media to take a step back from him while he did so. I think his humble faith is so much more endearing than, “I’m wonderful, faithful and that makes me better than all the other lousy scum” mentality that comes from the right.

    Great post.

    • Another great point! I had forgotten about Biden’s faith — because he is so humble about it. Doesn’t the Bible say something about praying in a closet instead of a street corner?

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