If Vice President Joe Biden didn’t exist, you couldn’t invent him. You couldn’t invent him because no one would believe such a character possibly could exist. No Hollywood producer ever would believe someone that dumb could rise to that level without an “R” after his name.
But if someone did attempt to pitch a TV show with a character like Joe Biden, here is how it might go:
We’ve got this guy, and he’s an idiot. But he’s also vice president of the United States. Stay with me. He says things that are provably untrue, and he does it constantly. And not just untrue but outrageously so.
For example, he tells a crowd of black voters that his opponent is “going to put y’all back in chains” in the south. Then he mocks the woman doing sign language for the crowd with a bunch of hand gestures. But he’s not done.
See, he’s in Virginia, but like a member of Spinal Tap, he tells the crowd he’s in North Carolina. And he does all of this not over the course of a campaign, but in one speech.
As background on his character, this sort of stupidity is nothing new for him. In fact, he’s sort of legendary for gaffes like this. See, he’s VP for the first black president, and when he was running for president himself he called the future president “clean and articulate.” He could end it by saying something even dumber, such as, “That’s a storybook, man.” Even I admit that sounds a bit crazy, that no real human would say that, so maybe not that last bit. Still…
But anyway, we could make him saying dumb things on race a part of his history too. He could say something about going into a 7-Eleven or Dunkin’ Donuts and needing a “slight Indian accent,” or some other stereotypically stupid thing.
Obviously, we’d have to make it an absurdist farce so it would be believable, but that’s doable.
As such, we could give him a full history of lies and saying dumb things.
One option would be to have a scene, years earlier, where he chews out someone who asks him about how he did in college and law school. His answer could be like someone really worried his attempt to come off as intelligent could come crushing down, so he snaps at the guy.
He could say something absurd, such as “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect.” Then he could rattle off a list of academic scholarships he earned, how he didn’t really care his first year of law school but then started to and graduated in the top half of his class, etc. Only it’s all a lie. He eventually has to admit it was all a lie. His scholarship was based on need, not academics, he didn’t graduate in the top half of his class – he was 76th out of 85 … stuff like that.
Better yet, it’s the New York Times that calls him out on it. Years later the Times will defend him when he’s running for VP because Democrats must be protected, so they paint him as some sort of foreign policy genius. But actually, he will have advised against the raid that kill Osama bin Laden. Absurd, I know. But that’s this character. That’s what makes it a farce.
Just to make it so over the top, so no one would ever think this caricature is real, we can sprinkle in some plagiarism in law school that he’ll pass off as not being sure how to cite things properly. For good measure, we’ll even have him plagiarize a biographical passage from a speech of someone else, because who would believe that?
What do you say? Are we in business?
The producers would look at you and say, “No one’s going to believe that character exists. There’s no way someone with that baggage, that many gaffes, that stupid, could ever become vice president of the United States. But we like the idea, so here’s what we suggest. We change his name to Quayle, make him a Republican and change it from a comedy to a drama.”
That’s about how it would go, but everything I’ve written about the fictional Joe Biden was said and done by the real one. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So as you watch the media “vet” Rep. Paul Ryan, just remember how little vetting they did of Joe Biden in 2008. Yet what little vetting the media did of Biden was like a colonoscopy compared to the vetting they did of Barack Obama.
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