A man you don't meet every day
Best commentary so far on Joe Biden comes, not surprisingly, from mad Scotsman Alex Massie:
I sort of had half a sneaky hope that Biden might actually somehow fluke his way to the nomination itself, but that's largely because since I don't expect to agree with any of the candidates on most of the issues** that matter most to me there's something to be said for supporting the fella most likely to provide quality entertainment. In the Democratic race that was, by a mile, Biden.
He's the sort of man I've met many a time in Irish pubs. Biden will tell you, at some length for sure, all about his plans for the future, how he's on the cusp of greatness just waiting for that last piece to fall neatly into place. The fact that - stubbornly - it has never yet done so deters him not a bit. Next time, lads, next time...UPDATE: See what I mean! Priceless!
He'll often seem as though he's auditioning for the position of Official Pub Bore but then every so often there'll be a flash of wit or a moment of self-deprecation that punctures the bluster and bombast, rendering Biden warm and human.
You can picture him propping up one end of the bar for thirty years; long enough for all to be forgiven, all ancient battles and blunders forgotten as we grow older, more charitable, more sentimental. Biden's the sort of fellow who'll make a wildly inappropriate and suggestive comment about your wife. To your face. On your wedding day. But he'll do so in such a guileless fashion free from any hint of malice that, dash it and almost half despite yourself, you forgive the silly old fool. He was, you realise, probably trying to ay something complimentary.
Heck, even his 1988 disgrace was so preposterous - plagiarising Neil bleedin' Kinnock! - that it seems utterly artless. So bizarre there had to be an innocent, brain-frying explanation for it. Despite all those years in Washington, there's an endearing child-like quality to Biden. Or, to put it another way, observing Biden in full flow is a glorious sight; it's like watching a labrador bound after a bouncing ball even though, being a puppy, it doesn't quite have the co-ordination to grab the ball cleanly. Instead there's a frenzy of yelping delight as the ball carroms around the yard, always tantalisingly just out of reach...
Of course, I immediately thought of this immortal recording from my favorite Pogues album, Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. YouTube doesn't have a good video of the Pogues doing it, but this is a fairly serviceable rendition by . . . some random guy on the internets.