Joe Biden's embarrassing 'Despacito' moment is instructive
If there were an "Embarrassing Moments Museum," Joe Biden's campaign would deserve a wing of its own. His inane statements, his chronic confusion about his campaign, his word soup, and his straining for relevance (Cardi B? Really?) create a mountain of humiliation. The only reason Biden keeps going is that the bubble in which his caretakers envelop him prevents him from seeing himself.
But the worst thing Biden's ever done has to be playing "Despacito" for a Hispanic audience. People immediately noticed that the sex-saturated lyrics were wildly inappropriate for Biden. It was also a pander so blatant and crude that one hopes the audience was offended. And finally, because it is such an over-the-top example of pandering, it creates a spectacular contrast with Donald Trump. Think about this: Trump never panders. He is always himself.
"Pander" is not a nice word, for it originally referred to a pimp or procurer. Or, as the Online Etymology Dictionary discreetly phrases it, an "arranger of sexual liaisons, one who caters for the lusts of others." When politicians "pander" to various voting groups, they're not stating their principles. They are, instead, denying their identity and values to cater to the audience's political and social desires.
I've written before about Biden's struggling with the Hispanic vote, especially in Florida. President Trump offers them the promise of unlimited economic opportunities, low crime communities, and freedom from the government's heavy hand. The Democrats offer them a fight to the death with other special interest groups for whatever bones the Democrat politicians choose to throw their way (all of which are taxpayer-funded). Other than that, it'll be the same old stagnant economy, the same crime-ridden communities, and the same heavy-handed government.
If that's all you've got to sell when you step up to the podium at Kissimmee, Florida, for Hispanic Heritage Month, you've got to offer something fresh and exciting. And so 77-year-old Biden shakily pulled out his smartphone and rocked out to a three-year-old hit song:
Joe Biden steps to the podium and plays Despacito from his phone.— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) September 16, 2020
I wonder why he’s struggling with Hispanics?! pic.twitter.com/0b3FpoR0Lm
Someone might have wanted to look up the English-language lyrics before letting Biden do that. "Despacito" tells of the singer's desire to seduce someone, and it has two lines that are very Biden-esque:
Why Joe Biden chose Despacito. Check out the lyrics. pic.twitter.com/WcwuyKfoUT— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 16, 2020
That's really not a good look for a presidential candidate — and it's a worse look when paired with the real objects of Biden's olfactory obsessions:
If that wasn't disturbing enough, in this clip, Biden not only touches a young woman but smells her hair, kisses her, whispering something into her ear, only to tell her "see you back home, I hope" after visibly creeping out her and who I assume is her mother. pic.twitter.com/WrFLWmAPFJ— RAM (Richard Armande Mills) (@RAMRANTS) November 13, 2017
But enough about the fact the Biden is the last, and maybe the worst, in a long line of pandering Democrats who must hide the fact that their policies will not benefit the various victim groups to which they're selling their snake oil. Let's talk about Donald Trump.
Have you noticed that Donald Trump does not pander to specific groups? He is always himself. He is a man so comfortable in his own skin that he doesn't need to wear African kente cloths (associated, ironically, with the slave trade), put on fake African-American accents, dress up in rainbows, or speak in a foreign language.
Trump definitely reaches out to different groups, but he does so in ways that are substantive, not crudely theatrical. Unlike past Republican presidents, Trump has pushed hard, through policies and community outreach, to convince blacks and Hispanics that they will fare better under a Trump administration than a Biden one. However, no matter the group to which he speaks, he's always Donald Trump, the guy from Queens with the tie that's too long.
Maybe I'm cutting Trump too much slack, but I find it refreshing that he doesn't try to be hip, Hispanic, black, gay, fashionable, or anything else that diminishes him as he grovels for votes. Fundamentally, Trump tells Americans that he is who he is, and he's not going to give away pieces of himself. The important thing is that his policies will raise everyone, no matter his group identity.
Image: Biden rocks to Despacito. Twitter screen grab edited in Pixlr.