A former writer for The Onion regrets the gentleness of their satirizing of Uncle Joe. Isn’t just the fact that “Uncle Joe” has become one of his nicknames telling enough?
I can’t speak for my colleagues, but at the time, I didn’t take him seriously enough to think we were doing anything wrong. I thought of him as little more than a political necessity: the older, more conservative white guy who softened Barack Obama’s image in regions where the prospect of a black president was too radical. A deeper dive on Biden never felt necessary.
I’ve since changed my mind. Today, Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, despite women calling him out for touching them in ways that made them uncomfortable at public events, and despite objections from the left wing of the party. He has said he has “no empathy” for the problems millennials are experiencing and claimed that Republicans will embrace bipartisanship after Trump is defeated. As I watch him campaign as an old (-fashioned, -school, -old) centrist, I realize how badly we screwed up. Instead of viciously skewering a public figure who deserved scrutiny, we let him off easy. The joke was funny, but it didn’t hit hard enough.
A Biden nomination by the Democratic Party would be another out-of-touch catastrophe. He generates no enthusiasm, except by comfortable older white people who like the fact that he’s not going to change a goddamn thing — smug confidence in the status quo might make him the Democratic nominee, but I don’t see him winning when all he can instill is apathy, and he’s going to be an easy target. Trump is going to claim that Biden is in the pockets of the bankers (not that Trump isn’t), that we can all see that patronizing women is fine and nice, that he’s the Establishment that the populists want to bring down.
If he does win, all we get is a right-of-center centrist who will waltz before congress thinking his affability gives him an edge, and the Republicans will just say “NO” and eat him alive. He’s the lose-lose candidate.
I’m just hoping he’ll commit some terrible gaffe and go down in flames before he’s the nominee, and I expect he’ll oblige. He usually does. Right now, though, the media seems to be anointing him as the right and electable candidate, so he might get the kind of pass no other Democrat would receive.