- - Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If it is true that a sucker is born every minute, then there simply are not enough minutes in the day to account for all the suckers around here. And nothing brings these suckers together in agreement more than the canard that Vice President Joseph R. Biden is some kind of fountain of “authenticity.”

His “utter incapacity for phoniness,” as one of the most highly esteemed journalists and political observers in America calls it.

Seriously? Joe Biden? Only in this crowd does a plagiarist with hair plugs get venerated as “authentic” and original.

Remember how Mr. Biden ripped off some 15 pages of his law school exam? He got busted, failed but was allowed to retake the exam. With that kind of potential for the profession, there was no way they were going to deny Mr. Biden a law degree.

Not to mention a career in politics, where he has continued his tendency to take things other people say and claim them as his own.

The whole law school exam scam came to light only after he got busted stealing lines from someone else’s speech and lying about his grades.

Then there are all the crazy things Mr. Biden makes up on the campaign trail, such as warning black voters that Republicans would put them “back in chains.”

Anyone who has covered him for any period of time knows that in all his garrulous enthusiasm, Joe Biden will say or claim absolutely anything to make whatever point he is trying to make at that very moment.

It is how he winds up opining in public about how 7-Eleven clerks are always Indian and marveling over how “articulate and bright and clean” then-Sen. Barack Obama was.

According to the press and shrewdest political observers, this amounts to authenticity. In a recent magazine article, vaunted political journalist John Heilemann describes this as the vice president’s “utter incapacity for phoniness.”

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina lauds Mr. Biden thusly: “He has an ability to connect and communicate in a clear and effective way.”

Really? He is a walking gaffe machine.

Only in the warped world of politics is buffoonery embraced as authenticity and unending verbal fumbles heralded as eloquence.

No, the truth is the White House does not keep Joe Biden around because of his authenticity or eloquence. They keep him around because they think he effectively reaches a demographic in important swing states that Mr. Obama struggles with. These are white, working-class voters in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

If you wonder what Mr. Obama thinks of these people, well, he thinks they are all just like Mr. Biden.

That is why Mr. Biden cannot be booted from the ticket. He is the mascot for blue-collar swing states. In short, Joe Biden is Mr. Obama’s token white.

Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com.