In conservative “humor,” only the words “Joe Biden” elicit more laughter than “teleprompter” or mentioning “Al Gore” when it’s cold. Just his name makes Republicans giggle the way most of America would if we were watching Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin and Miley Cyrus attempt to pass the U.S. naturalization/citizenship test.
In actual humor, Joe Biden is a ’70s-style icon who is so American he perspires Budweiser all over the leather upholstery of his freshly waxed TransAm.
Thus when the vice president said he was likely to run for president in 2016, everybody smiled. But Republicans became giddier than a Romney after two Frappuccinos. Bill Murphy — who worked on the Romney campaign and is now on the staff of the National Republican Senatorial Committee — tweeted this:
— Bill Murphy (@billmurphy) February 7, 2014
Biden is such a joke that he might as well run with a Twitter account that exists to mock Republicans. Instead of wit, this “joke” relies on a Pavlovian trigger that requires you to believe the subject is laughable before the joke is made. It’s the same mechanism by which any utterance of #Benghazi provokes right-wing outrage, just because it does.
But what the right doesn’t get is that to anyone who isn’t in the Fox Newsosphere, where anyone who upsets Democrats — from George Zimmerman to the Duck Dynasty guy — is a hero, there isn’t one GOP frontrunner who is taken even remotely as seriously as Joe Biden.
Need proof, Republicans?
Mitt Romney — star of a new movie about how he genially lost the presidency by 5 million votes — is leading the GOP pack in New Hampshire. This was a guy Republicans spent six years trying not to nominate and will only ever be the president of the Vladimir Putin fan club.
Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) has destroyed his position as the media’s favorite for the Republican nomination with a flurry of scandals that now have him doing damage control on his damage control. Bridgegate broke just days after the governor signed his DREAM Act as his first step toward an actual Republican campaign that flirts with centrism. And what did Christie’s head-fakes to the center — in between cutting services, defunding Planned Parenthood and cutting taxes on the rich — earn him? Few Republicans stepping forward to defend him.
Now, as head of the Republican Governors Association, Christie’s traveling the country, raising money and forcing Republican governors to change their schedules to avoid him. Who wants to be the guy standing next to him when the next scandal hits?
But let’s say he does recover. Now the GOP has a Romney with hollow support from the base, and whose chief qualification is yelling at teachers in public. And he would still be a better candidate than his nemesis Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has disqualified himself from the presidency in so many ways that Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) lost track months ago.
Bloomberg‘s Jonathan Bernstein believes the senator’s non-interventionist foreign policy views will disqualify him from the GOP primary, despite the vast presidential campaign machine Paul inherited from his father. The Tea Party hero also inherits his father’s history of racist newsletters and connections to fringe groups that are now fair game, thanks to the way Paul has attacked Bill Clinton.