"My mother believed and my father believed that if I wanted to be president of the United States, I could be, I could be vice president!"
— Vice President Joseph R. Biden, campaigning in Youngstown, Ohio, on May 16, 2012
Yes, that much is true: The plagiarist with the slow-grow hair plugs and the chipmunk fake teeth and the made-up stories about heroics on the football field who quietly won five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War really did become vice president. And this much is clear: He took the gig, after something like 87 years in the Senate, because he knew in his tiny heart of hearts that that was the end of the line.
But no, Ma and Pa Biden were wrong: Their wunderboy Joey, despite his hardscrabble Scranton roots and spectacular work ethic (he did hold an actual job for some 18 months before going on the government dole 43 years ago) will not grow up to be the president of the United States. He's already tried twice, in 1988 and again in 2008 (the latter after giving voters a full generation to forget why they didn't like him the first time around).
Still, something odd is happening. Despite Jumpin' Joe's now-forgotten assertions that he has no intention of running for president, everyone has started talking about whether Jumpin' Joe will run for president.
The chatter started right around the time then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton got sick, fell down, bumped her head and disappeared for six weeks. (You skeptics out there can just stifle: She really DID bump her head; didn't you see CNN report that the blood clot that sent her to the hospital was "related to a concussion she suffered this month, her spokesman, Philippe Reines, said." We're getting it straight from her spokesman, people, how can it not be true!?)
Suddenly, all this talk swirled that Joey was going to run in 2016, you know, pick up the mantle of his mental mentor and try to see if he could top the $10 trillion in debt his boss is on pace to rack up. "Biden not shying away from 2016 speculation," gasped MSNBC. "Need Proof That Joe Biden Is Running for President?" wondered National Journal (note to budding editors out there: Question marks bring clicks — Well, is he? Is he!?!).
Blue-Collar Joe even popped over to Iowa during inauguration weekend, no less, where he hobnobbed with players at the Iowa State Society's inaugural ball and tossed out this gem: "I'm proud to be president of the United States." He regrouped, and clarified: "I'm proud to be vice president of the United States but I am prouder to be Barack Obama."
At 70 years old, the Gaffe Machine won't have time to wait another 20 years so America can forget all the stupid things he says and does. And they're piling up faster than Indians at a 7-Eleven.
"They're going to put y'all back in chains," he said to a mostly black audience in Virginia.
"Do you know the Web site number?" he asked his staff.
"Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya," he said to his crippled "friend."
And: "You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent." Just in case you thought he was joking, he added: "I'm not joking."
Of course, he has great advice for Americans: "If you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door." (The few people who took the advice wound up in jail).
Sure, those are pretty funny. But then there are the gaffes that aren't simply the result of a brain misfire and are truly terrifying. Like: "Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive," and, during the last campaign against Republicans, "How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that has been buried the last four years?"
This week brings more to pile onto the horror that the working-man's vice president charges rent to the Secret Service to use a cottage adjacent to his waterfront home in Wilmington, Del. He and his entourage spent $460,000 for a single night in London earlier this year. And they spent another $585,000 for a night at a five-star hotel in Paris. The stays came amid the crisis in Washington over the budget.
What's more, he flies to Delaware nearly every weekend — first from his taxpayer-funded home in Washington on a chopper to an Air Force base, then on Air Force Two. The weekly jaunts have cost Americans more than $4 million so far (according to an article on the Newsmax website).
No, Joe's free ride is about to come to an end. And it's about time.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @josephcurl.