Emmett Tyrrell

When Vice President Joe Biden rolls into a room to talk politics, frankly I am ready to laugh. He is, for me, the gaffable Joe Biden. Remember when he told the perky Katie Couric that during the great stock market crash of 1929 President Franklin Roosevelt immediately "got on television" to reassure the American people. Biden apparently reassured Miss Couric; yet others in the audience who knew their history and recognized his blunder got a huge laugh at Joe's expense. The president in 1929 was, of course, Herbert Hoover, and there was no television.

Or what about the gaffable vice president declaring, "The number one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be as Barack says, a three-letter word, jobs, j-o-b-s, jobs"? Good old Joe!

One could fill an entire chapter of a book with Biden's mistakes, possibly a whole book, possibly a whole bookshelf. By the way, for those of you who rely on Wikipedia, you will find just one gaffe attributed to Biden in his entry. Yet I must admit, I do like Biden.

Even when he speaks acerbically, his tongue has no sting. In fact, when he does, he invariably pauses to come up with a propitiating grin. I remember when he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he grilled some Republican nominees with the utmost stringency, but he rarely meant it.

On the occasion of Ed Meese's nomination for Attorney General, he was particularly sharp. Afterwards, he greeted Ed, and Ed's formidable wife Ursula, in the hallway. He put his arm around Ed to show his stinging language was not personal. Ursula lit into him with the disdain that only a lady of quality can muster. Joe withdrew like an injured pup. He is not built for combat, only BS-ing. Later his questioning of Judge Samuel Alito moved Mrs. Alito to tears. Once again, he was shocked. Biden is really a lot of fun, at least for those who do not take his guff seriously.

That is why when it was reported this week that a CNN poll conducted with ORC International found a significant number of Democrats ready for a candidate that was not President Barack Obama, I thought of Biden. Fully 27 percent -- slightly more than one in four -- Democrats queried affirmed that they "think the Democratic Party should nominate a different candidate for president in 2012." Biden, this is your chance. You have always wanted to be numero uno. You have put your name forward more than once. Now is the time to leap to the defense of your country, even if you did get five deferments from your draft board and in 1968 were disqualified from future disruptions of your schedule for asthma. Asthma, why did you not think of that earlier?


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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