Joe Biden as nominee: a terrible f—— deal

“Morning” Joe and partner “Mika” Brzezinski is have evolved since the days when their MSNBC morning show turned into a Donald J. Trump telecenter in 2015-2016. They acknowledge the impacts of gerrymandering and James Comey’s FBI announcement on the 2016 election; they accept that the new Democratic coalition comprises women and people of color; they pay lip service to the environment; Scarborough gels his hair, keeps the sides shaved, and wears the occasionally chic sweater. Willie Geist, who looks like Michael Shannon playing Jason Isbell, has a quiet, mordant wit.

But whenever talk turns to who can run against Trump in November he, Mika, and former plagiarist Mike Barnicle swoon at the thought of Joe Biden, chin a-tremble, accepting the Democratic nomination. It’s as if their brains leak out their ears, clearing out two years’ worth of wisdom. Scott Lemieux gives succinct reasons why Biden should stay in and watch Netflix: “he’s a white guy who would be 78 when he was inaugurated, his record on financial industry issues make Cory Booker look like David Graeber, he was a major architect of Clinton’s crime bill, his two previous primary runs were gaffe-ridden disasters.” He not only voted to authorize the Iraq War, he spent hours on green room sofas in 2006 parsing the nuances of partitioning Iraq into three states as if he were Mark Sykes. Most importantly for our contemporary purposes, Biden presided over a Senate Judiciary Committee that did bodyguard work for Clarence Thomas when it looked like the unqualified appointee would get pilloried by witnesses prepared to offer their own stories of sexual harassment. He can apologize as much as he likes. I accept his apology. It doesn’t change facts: he’s old, out of time, and out of step.

As vice president for eight years, Biden exploited his undeniable chemistry with Barack Obama, transforming himself into a a cool dad with ridiculous hair whose tendency to run at the mouth foiled Obama’s sometimes painful punctiliousness; the Constitution gave Biden nothing else to do (he joins the inauspicious list of eleven other veeps who cast no tie-breaking votes, which says nothing about the collapse of comity). I grant him this: he was the first and last person in the permanent Washington aristocracy who treated Paul Ryan like a shoe stain.

Biden, I suspect, attracts white people who think the rest of us chatter too often about class, race, and gender, consider themselves “moderates,” and dislike Hillary Clinton for being “controversial.” To imagine that even a subset of the Democratic National Committee gerontocracy wants a white man inching toward his eighties against a white man inching toward his eighties is to abandon hope in the ice caps holding it together long enough for me to visit Australasia.

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