The real Biden speaks

During the campaign season, it was something of a game to see what would happen when Joe Biden went off script.  The joke becomes less funny when we realize that, off-script, Biden's default setting is mean — and that this mean man will be America's representative in important, stressful situations both at home and abroad.

If he really is president-elect, the whole world will hang on Joe Biden's words.  If President Trump is unable to secure an immediate second term, in about a month, Biden will occupy the most powerful position in the most exceptional country in the world.  Every utterance will be dissected, parsed, scrutinized, imbued with meaning, and probably cause the occasional bar fight.  But as Andrea Widburg reminds us, Joe Biden is weird, racist, disconnected, and drooling.  He's all that, and it all comes out of his mouth. 

Reading from the teleprompter, as long as it moves at the correct speed for him at that moment, he sometimes sounds okay — a bit robotic, totally scripted, but okay.  Trying to recite from memory or engage in a logical train of thought on his own, though, Biden often falls into the argy-bargy.  It's awful listening to him trying to claw his way from there into rationality.

Is there a real Joe Biden somewhere in between?  Clearly, when he's speaking from the heart, with passion, with anger, he speaks from his core self, where he truly lives.  That's when and from where we get "hey, fat," "dog-faced," "are you a junkie," and "you ain't black."  Honest words, completely in character for Joe.

Some might be inclined to chalk these recent comments up to the stress of the campaign or to his obviously increasing dementia.  It was no mistake, though, in 1988 when he used a black criminal to get a few laughs as he joked he might be mistaken for Willie Horton's attorney. 

Now imagine him as president in normal times.  Chairing the National Security Council, hosting White House dinners, meeting privately with dozens of world leaders during the U.N. General Assembly, guiding overall military, financial, and foreign policy for the country, and talking and talking and talking, off the cuff and from the heart.  Makes your American shoulders hunch up and your patriotic soul just cringe, doesn't it?

Last, take a look at this video:

In 2012, Biden, orating like a preacher on a roll, criticized candidate Mitt Romney by saying he was going to "unchaaaain Wall Street."  Then he pauses for just a moment; looks out across a mixed audience; and, with the air still ringing with the word "unchain," gives us that immortal phrase "gonna put y'all back in chains."  That's where his mind immediately leaped and what his heart saw.  Joe Biden opened his mouth like usual, and out it poured. 

Such a thing would never have occurred to Romney.  It came naturally to Biden. 

Anony Mee is a retired public servant.

Image: Joe Biden by Gate Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.