It’s Joe Biden’s turn to be president, so let’s give it to him and see if he can remember where he left the nuclear football and what the codes are. He’s been waiting long enough: he was born in 1903. And he just oozes presidentiality, doesn’t he?
I don’t know if it’s Joe’s facelift, his hair implants or his false teeth or the way he walks like he’s on castors, but geriatric Joe looks the picture of youthful vigor, especially in the aviator shades that make him look like he’s waiting for a cataract operation or has advanced macular degeneration. For there’s nothing degenerate about Joe, is there, or the health of a party and political system that would recommend him as the next president of What Remains of the United States?
I’m all in favor of old people. They are repositories of historical experience and, unless they’re feeling drowsy after lunch, collective wisdom. Those thousands of graduate-schooled white Bernie Bros who turned out for Comrade Sanders on Boston Common at the weekend might learn something from old-timers who remember the horrors of socialism, visions from the distant past like Fidel Castro forcing the Corleone family out of Cuba in The Godfather II. But a man of Biden’s age or condition simply isn’t up to the physical and mental demands of the job. And neither is Bernie Sanders, who shuffled onto the stage in Boston dressed like an elderly widower who smells of pee and lives on cat food.
Parents of young children keep the elderly as pets. The better trained ones are able to collect the kids from school and babysit on date night. It is not advisable, however, to ask too much of them. Before voting for a clapped-out dodderer, ask yourself three simple questions:
Would you ask Joe Biden to reverse-park a minivan in a crowded schoolyard?
Of course not. The result would be carnage: crushed children, screaming teachers, Biden carefully levering himself out of the captain’s chair and asking what the heck was the fuss about.
If Joe Biden was a guest in your kitchen, would you feel it advisable to ask him to climb up a stepladder and remove a tin of baked beans from a high cupboard?
Touch and go. You might want to check your third-party insurance first. If you do chance it, you’ll probably stand behind the ladder in case the old boy misses a step, falls backwards and chokes on his dental plate. If you’re not prepared to put your hand down his throat to retrieve it, don’t ask for his help.
If you wanted to porn-proof your home internet, would you seek Bernie Sanders’s advice on how to do it, because he’s great with computers?
No way. Bernie Sanders knows more about which faction held which front on the Republican lines in the Spanish Civil War that he does about the wars of Silicon Valley. As for Biden, he’s more Corn Pop than porn cop.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton implied that she, not Barack Obama, was better equipped to take that ‘3 a.m. phone call’. Biden may well be up and about at that hour, old men’s bladders being what they are. But his slow, slurring turn on Chris Wallace’s show on Sunday suggests he’s sleeping on the job by breakfast time.
Wallace: ‘Thank you, thanks for your time, and please come back in less than 13 years.’
Biden: ‘Alright, Chuck, thank you very much.’
Wallace: ‘It’s Chris, but anyway…’
Biden: ‘Chris, I just did Chris. No, no, I, I just did Chuck. I tell you what, man, these are back-to-back…’
Wallace (compassionately): ‘It’s OK…’
Biden: ‘…anyway, I don’t know how you do it early in the morning.’
Wallace (genuinely concerned): ‘Safe travels on the campaign trail.’
Biden is ‘gaffe-prone’, which is the medical term for senile dementia, but that’s no reason not to put him in the White House. He’s obviously the best candidate for the Democratic nomination, especially because he’s not Bernie Sanders. He’s more than capable of dealing with jetlag and back-to-back meetings. He’s obviously capable of remembering the names of foreign leaders: he might not be able to find the remote, but he can recite the speeches of Neil Kinnock and on ABC, this survivor of the Spanish Flu correctly remembered Ebola as ‘a transpandemic disease that existed’.
A frightened party and its tame pundits are now pushing Biden as the firewall against a Sanders nomination. They can’t all be ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldiers’, can they?
Dominic Green is Life & Arts editor of Spectator USA.