The presidential and vice-presidential debates provided us with two snapshots of two different and yet very similar men.
But Obama and Biden showed once again at the debates that they have more in common than anyone would give them credit for. Obama was surly while Biden was belligerent, but both men behaved the way they did out of an innate sense of entitlement. With their every word and gesture they made it clear that they were too good to be here.
While Romney and Ryan have often been accused of elitism, both as a personal accusation and as a class accusation, they behaved with dignity and discretion. Obama and Biden on the other hand treated their opponents with contempt beginning with their lack of preparation for the debates and their lack of grace in the debate.
Obama believed that he had won the debate after he lost it and Biden believed that he won the debate before it even began. Biden’s braggadocio and Obama’s disdain both came out of their own exaggerated senses of self-worth that made them feel that they were too good for the forum and too good for their opponents.
Biden and Obama may not have race, religion or age in common, but they both share a common narcissism that leads them to believe that their innate specialness transcends competence and that their rhetorical gifts can overcome their laziness and lack of preparation. Neither man bothered to hide their belief that their opponents are inferior to them in every possible way.
Strip away the years and races, the experience and the capped teeth, and you have two petty egotistical men who believe that they are destined for greater things than whatever thing they happen to be doing at the moment, even if what they happen to be doing at the moment is occupying the two highest offices in the land.
Their thin skins and fake smiles go together, along with their contempt for each other and the whole world. They are men who live oblivious to other men, who occupy a current of their own imagining, who are always certain that life has not rewarded them sufficiently for all that they have done, even though they have done nothing. They are men of ambition, but not talent. Their only gift is one of imagining themselves in greater and greater positions and the accompanying talent of convincing others that their imaginary abilities should be rewarded with real positions.
They are glib, but not smart men. They have a facility for speaking off-the-cuff, but that facility betrays them as often as it rewards them. Like actors they love the sounds of their own voices so much that they never notice when their own song becomes a siren call dooming them to the crash of their own stupidity.
They can tell stories, but they are always the stars of their own stories, the “I’s” of the legends that they build around themselves, the gods who stride from their own temples, the heroes who come to their own rescue and then marry themselves and cheer themselves on.
Both men have come out of political machines where rhetoric was more important than competence. Political machines disguise their mechanisms of corruption with high-flow rhetoric and tribal appeals that convince their audiences that while may be thieves, they are ‘their’ thieves who steal on behalf of their race, their community and their group.
Obama is the new face of the Democratic Party, the perfect public face of its coalition between the government upper class and their minority voters, while Biden is the face of the old Democratic Party, the one that played on the working class Irish, Italian and Jewish vote in urban centers on behalf of the social planners of the New Deal and the New Frontier.
The Democratic Party is losing its grip on the Reagan Democrats, the loss of manufacturing jobs and the growing conservatism of small business is leaving less and less room for the kind of barstool campaigns that Joseph Robinette Biden was once good for.
The 2012 election is the last hurrah of the Biden class, those grinning senseless storytellers and glib millionaires with hard-luck tales and rolled up sleeves pretending to be working class, shaking hands with union steelworkers, mill workers, factory workers, telling them, “Oh boy that’s tough, but lemme tell you about the time my wife almost caught me with Cindy. Don’t worry the Democrats have your back. Stick with us and we’ll take care of you.”
Those voters are vanishing, falling through the cracks of EPA fascism and globalized outsourcing. If Obama wins another term, there may still be room for a few thousand of them to put together solar panels and windmills from China, but even those jobs will go to the new face of America. To Somali refugees and Mexican immigrants, and those workers will not need Biden to stand outside their bar and shake their hands. Some of them won’t have bars and most of them won’t care about anything but the benefits package they get through their local cultural center.
That’s the new face of America that Obama represents. It’s the same old story of the urban political machine which caters to the revolving door of new immigrants, stocking up front men who speak their language and know all their customs, only to give those front men the boot when the demographics of the alleys of Slumville and Immigrant’s Row change.
Tammany Hall’s leadership went from English to Irish to Italian, Jewish and Black in some 170 years. The process has since accelerated and Joe Biden with his fake working class mannerisms and outdated jokes doing his best to be everyone’s fun crazy uncle is almost done.
Biden’s currency, like Obama’s currency, was his identity. Not a real identity, but an artificial identity. Crazy Uncle Joe is as authentically working class as Barry Hussein is an African-American. Neither of them was chosen for anything but their ability to mimic the identities of others in order to project a lower class sensibility that they have no part of.
Debating Ryan was Biden’s last hurrah, it was the thunder of a dinosaur crashing through the trees, snapping his teeth and roaring at the sky, without understanding that the big fire above is a meteor coming down on top of him. The world in which Biden might have aimed at the top job is long gone. Biden’s function today is to snap his teeth, to roar and remind the youngsters that old time political crooks didn’t need to call themselves community organizers or bolster their credentials with fake teaching gigs. All they needed was a barstool and a great deal of nerve.
Biden has ushered in that new world, and yet he has no apprehension of it. Joseph Robinette Biden imagines that the future still belongs to him and that he can keep hold of it so long as the hair plugs keep hold of his skull. And while he may be an object of fun back at the White House, his boss should carefully consider his fate as an object lesson.
The only thing really separating Obama from Biden is a generational shift and the shift is driven by the political agenda of the left. It is not too difficult, although quite horrifying, to imagine an America in the year 2037 where Barack Hussein is as much of an anachronism as Crazy Joe. The Democratic Party has reinvented itself numerous times and the stresses that it imposes on the country come out of the left’s program.
The smirking fake working class pol was not the endpoint of the Democratic Party, though in his own time the creature seemed every bit as radical as a man with Muslim roots in the White House. There is no reason to think that Barack with his Third Culture image and his fake veneer of culture is going to be the endpoint either. If the left has taught us anything, it is that its narrative of cultural destruction is always able to conceive of more and more horrifying worlds than anything we might behold today.
Obama has already gotten his, and so has Biden, though the corrupt Senator still fantasizes about a White House he cannot have. The difference between political ambition and political success is often timing and luck. As a child, Obama used to tell his classmates that he was an Indonesian prince. That position wasn’t open to him, but he lucked into a political career that coincided with a wave of Muslim terrorism and an accompanying wave of appeasement by his party.
Had that not happened, it’s quite possible that Obama’s exotic bio would have meant nothing and he would be sitting in the Illinois Senate watching Cory Booker making his acceptance speech in the race to unseat President McCain. And conversely, had the Democratic Party not swung so far to the left and stayed focused on the American working class instead of an artificially imported diversity overseen by a college educated upper class. Had it embraced tariffs and protected American manufacturing, then the country might be a very different place and President Joe Biden might be inveighing against Republican elitism while boasting of showing Chinese products the door.
But these worlds are not places that narcissists like Obama or Biden, who believe in their own specialness, rather than the random chance of world events and the influence of ideological movements, can visit or appreciate.
But though they play different roles, that does not make them different men. It is the accidents and plans of the machine that made them fit only for these different roles, that left Biden no choice but to play the loud buffoon, while Barack got the star part of the new JFK.
Barry and Joe are the same man because the machine they serve is the same machine and though they imagine that they rule the machine, it is the machine that chose them, it is the machine that uses them and it is the machine that will throw them away when it is done.