Say it ain't Joe
By Tom Purcell
Published: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Maybe he's just what America needs. Then again, maybe not.
I speak of Vice President Joe Biden — who, according to Politico, is “intoxicated” by thoughts of being inaugurated as president in 2017. He'd be delighted to “finish what Barack Obama started.”
Well, who better to finish what President Obama started than Uncle Joe? I'll bet he'd be even better at runaway government spending, lack of budget discipline and total disinterest in addressing entitlement growth, tax reform and other essentials for getting our economy going.
I'm certainly no fan of Obama's policies, but here's one area where he really falls short: He's not funny.
Bill Clinton was funny. He reminded us, said Dennis Miller, of the guy in the college fraternity who used to tap the keg.
President George W. Bush was plenty polarizing during his two terms, but he was funny, too. The press filed reports every time he bumbled his words. And Bush gave late-night comics almost as much material as Clinton.
“As you all know,” said Jay Leno after Bush left office, “George Bush is no longer president, so they'll be no monologue (tonight).”
There was a lot of truth in Leno's statement. Obama doesn't make good fodder for late-night comics. That's partly because late-night comedy writers tend to skew left and largely agree politically with him.
But it's also because there's not much funny about him.
During the last presidential campaign, says the Daily Beast, citing a study by George Mason University, late-night comics did twice as many Romney jokes as Obama jokes — David Letterman did five times as many.
The Romney jokes pulled no punches. With the exception of Leno, however, the Obama jokes hardly ever made Obama the butt of the joke. Here's a typical example:
“Yesterday, Mitt Romney's son Tagg said that during the debate he wanted to punch President Obama for calling his father a liar,” said Conan O'Brien. “He also wants to punch his father for giving him the name Tagg.”
Which brings us back to Biden.
If there's anything most people agree on in these polarized times, it's that every time Biden speaks, he delivers gifts from the comedy gods:
“If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there's still a 30 percent chance we're going to get it wrong.”
“When the stock market crashed (in 1929), Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here's what happened.'” (FDR's first inauguration wasn't until 1933, and nobody had TVs to watch in 1929.)
“Stand up, Chuck, let ‘em see ya,” said Biden to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is confined to a wheelchair.
Yes, old Joe is a tremendous source of humor, though here is something that is not so funny: He actually could become president — and could continue the spending, government expansion and lack of leadership Obama has started.
Obama's machine was skillful turning out new voters — many of whom don't worry about things like debt, deficits and potential economic collapse. That machine just might put an old political character like Joe into the nation's highest office.
My preference is for a bold, results-oriented reformer, such as Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — someone with the guts to attack our problems boldly and ideas that will get the needed results.
I worry that the majority will reject such ideas, however, and that our transformation into a slow-growth, high-tax, high-debt, European-style state is inevitable.
Ah, well, if old Joe becomes president, at least we'll get some decent late-night jokes out of it.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- MLB notebook: Dodgers ace Kershaw pitches simulated game
- Penguins notebook: Gibbons day-to-day after Game 2 injury
- Cole’s strong outing wasted in 14-inning loss
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Fix the 2nd Amendment with 5 words
- Pirates notebook: No rush to judgment by Hurdle
- Egg decorating turns to fight, charges in Brookline, police say
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- I-279 crash injures motorcyclist
- Three ejected after Pirates, Brewers brawl