Joe Biden Should Be the Star of This Week’s Convention
If I were running this week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, I’d make it all about Joe. Following a week in which the Republicans reached new heights of inauthenticity, culminating in an actor’s conversation with a man who wasn’t there, Vice President Joe Biden offers the ultimate counterpoint.
There is nothing Biden can do or say to obscure his regular-Joe-ness. Among the quartet at the top of the two party's tickets, he’s the only working-class hero of the bunch. Neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan has ever known financial insecurity. Barack Obama didn’t grow up wealthy, but his parents were intellectuals and his mother a cultural radical to boot -- so his family finances don’t count. Biden, on the other hand, comes across like a guy whose house is underwater.
If party conventions are all about pretending we can shape the future to mimic a mythical past, Biden’s the man for the job. His motor mouth bespeaks (and bespeaks) an era when Americans had sufficient leisure to indulge a loquacious neighbor, especially a guy like Biden, who would doubtless lend a hand and some prized tools if the furnace broke down.
With Democrats on a roll with blacks, Hispanics and women, Biden is the ultimate ambassador to the land of white guys, matching the Republican team in sheer whiteness while surpassing them in guyness. Ryan dissembles, and seems unnervingly cunning. Biden exaggerates, and seems endearingly clumsy.
Americans might not thrill to the prospect of a Biden presidency, but that’s OK -- another guy heads the ticket. He’s no Joe, though.
(Francis Wilkinson is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board. Follow him on Twitter.)
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