Learnings from Joe Biden

November 24, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, POLITICS, THEATRE | 0 Comments |

As we look forward to a hilarious four years of the Biden Administration (the last 3/4ths of which will probably be completed by President Harris), it is apt to consider the wise words of a statesman whose eloquence rivals that of Pericles, Cato, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, Asoka, Jefferson, Lincoln, Disraeli, Churchill, FDR, De Gaulle, Mandela and Obama. We’ll set aside the instances of Joe being touchy (either in a tetchy way or a creepy way) or difficult matters like his 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that consigned millions of African Americans to life behind bars (“what I support is a three strikes and you’re out”), Iraq, or Anita Hill, and concentrate on those moments when Joe spreads poetic wings and soars. Joe is a tailor-made trope for American decline, so we’d best start aping Kevin Rudd and learning Mandarin (only unlike him, learning it properly). So here is our compendium of The Audacity of Dope:


“I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect. I went to law school on a full academic scholarship, the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship. … [I] went back to law school and, in fact, ended up in the top half of my class. I won the international moot court competition. I was the outstanding student in the political science department at the end of my year. I graduated with three degrees from undergraduate school and 165 credits, only needed 123 credits, and I’d be delighted to sit down and compare my IQ to yours, if you’d like, Frank.” [Joe’s riposte to citizen Frank in New Hampshire. In fact he was 76th in a class of 85 at Syracuse Law School (where he was cited for plagiarism), and Newsweek reported that Biden does not mention the moot court competition on his resume, and did not win the political science award at University of Delaware.] (3/4/1987)

“I think the concept of busing…that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride, is a rejection of the entire black-awareness concept where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied, and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity, their own individuality.” [Biden voted against busing] (1973)

“I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.” [Joe on Roe v Wade] (June 1974)

When I marched in the Civil Rights Movement…” [He didn’t.] (1987 campaign advert).

“I started thinking as I was coming over here, Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?”  [Whether he was or not, he was the first in his family to plagiarize this statement by former leader of the UK labour party, Neil Kinnock.] (23/8/1987)

“Find enough beautiful women and enough guys will show up…The Hill newspaper is here, and they’ll think that’s a sexist remark.” [Explaining his fundraising strategy] (31/10/2005)

“The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m gonna shove my rosary beads down their throat!” [Magazine interview] (March 2006)

In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” (17/6/2006)

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” [Referring to Obama in his storybook of racism.] (31/1/2007)

I spent last summer going through the black sections of my town, holding rallies in parks, trying to get black men to understand it is not unmanly to wear a condom, getting women to understand they can say no, getting people in the position where testing matters. I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS.” [Democratic Primary debate] (28/6/2007)

“A man who will be the next President of the United States—Barack America!” [Springfield, Illinois] (23/8/2008)

I’m told that Chuck Graham, state senator, is here. Chuck, stand up Chuck, let ’em see you. Oh, God love you. What am I talking about. I’ll tell you what, you’re making everybody else stand up, though, pal.” [Chuck Graham is confined to a wheelchair.] (9/9/2008)

“When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’” [TV interview, casting TV and FDR well before their time] (22/9/2008)

“It happens to be, as Barack said, a three-letter word … jobs … J-O-B-S, Jobs!” [Ohio speech] (15/10/2008)

“When we kicked—along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, “Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know—if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.” [Weird history lesson, VP Debate] (2/10/2008)

74 Biden Senate Staffers Say They Never Experienced Or Heard About Misconduct


Barack Obama was “the first African American in the history of the United States.” (17/3/2010)

Well, look, I don’t …Who cares what … Well, let me put it maybe … Yeah, yeah, I know. I can see the headline now. I’m getting better, guys. I’m getting a little bit better, you know what I mean?” [Responding to criticism by Dick Cheney ] (23/10/2009)

”I refuse to accept the notion that the United States of America is not going to lead the world economically throughout the 20th century.” [Speech in Michigan] (16/2/2010)

“I’ll answer your phone. I can’t find mine either. I don’t know where the hell mine is.” [During talk to seniors in Maryland] (23/9/2009)

“I have not bent the law, but I have let imagination take hold in some places where I think it’s consistent with the spirit of the law… Is that the best way of saying that? Yes … I should stop.” [Statement on the Obama stimulus package] (3/9/2009)

If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, we stand up there and we make really tough decisions, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong.” [No comment necessary.] (6/2/2009)

“I’ve been doing this for a long time. Not as long as my friend Dennis Ross, who’s with me—Roth, who’s with me—Ross, who’s with me … He’s with me.” [Speech at the University of Tel Aviv](11/3/2010)

But the truth is we’re here kicking off an entire Earth Week. And I hope our administration has kicked off an entire earth administration.” (21/4/2010)

His mom lived in Long Island for 10 years or so, God rest her soul. Although she’s, wait. Your mom’s still alive. It was your dad that passed. God bless her soul. I gotta get this straight.”  [St. Patrick’s Day reception for the Irish PM.] (2010)

They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” [Referring to Republican policy to a predominantly African American audience in Virginia] (14/8/2012)

“Folks, I can tell you, I’ve known eight presidents, three of them intimately.” (22/8/2012)

“People would come up to him [Beau] and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being — I mean, these Shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas.” [Joe referring to unscrupulous moneylenders preying on ex servicemen/women.] (September 2014)

Joe Biden | Biography & Facts | Britannica


I’m running as a proud Democrat for the Senate.” [Campaigning in Toledo]

What kind of country we’re goin’ to be? Four more years of George, er, George...”

The “tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before.” [Meaning to refer to shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.]   (4/8/2019)

“What’s not to like about Vermont?” [Campaigning in New Hampshire] (24/8/2019)

This is my son Beau Biden who a lot of you helped elect to the Senate in Delaware…”  [Actually introducing his granddaughter Natalie, to an enthusiastic crowd in Philadelphia.  Although they probably did fax some extra votes to Delaware City Hall.]

We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women created by…you know, you know the Thing!

We choose truth over facts!” [Iowa State Fair] (2019)

I’m the best qualified people for this job…

Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King had been assassinated in the ’70s, the late ’70s, when I got engaged…” (21/8/2019)

Covid has taken this year…just a outbreak, has taken more than one hundred year…look! here’s…the wives…it’s just,  think about it!

you know the rapidly rising uh, um, er, in with a, with a..I don’t know...”

Well, they have to deal with the — look, there’s institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Red-lining banks, making sure that we are in a position where — look, you talk about education…make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we need — we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are — I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have — make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school. School. Not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — the — make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.” [Responding to a question about the nation’s legacy of slavery, Democratic Primary debate] (September 2019)

Joe claimed he was arrested along with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young “on the streets of Soweto,” a township in Johannesburg, attempting to see imprisoned anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. [Young confirmed to The New York Times that it didn’t happen.] (February 2020)

One of the things I’m proudest of is getting passed, getting moved, getting in control of the Paris Climate Accord, I’m the guy who came back after meeting with Deng Xiaoping and making the case that I believe China will join if we put pressure on them. We got almost 200 nations to join.” [Paris Accord signed in 2016. Deng died in 1997.] (24/2/2020)

One hundred and fifty million people have been killed since 2007 when Bernie voted to exempt the gun manufacturers from liability. More than all the wars.” [Joe talking about 2nd Amendment rights at the Democratic Primary debate, apparently blaming Bernie Sanders for killing half the population of the United States.] (25/2/2020)

By the way, this is my little sister, Valerie! [Grabbing his wife’s shoulder] And I’m Jill’s husband! [Pointing to his sister] Oh no! This a…they switched on me!” [Rally in Los Angeles. We couldn’t detect the ‘switch’.] (3/3/2020)

If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” [Radio interview with African American host] (May 2020)

“…unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things.” [An Ebony Monolith: Interview with National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists]  (June 2020)

I want to be clear: I’m not going nuts...”

U.S. troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan: 53,188,” Biden said. “U.S. COVID infected in America: 6,344,700. U.S. COVID deaths: 189,506. Military COVID infected: 118,984. Military COVID deaths: 6,114. Folks, every one of these lives matter. Every one of these lives left somebody behind grieving.” [Speech in ‘Michigan’, which he meant to say instead of ‘Military’, presumably.] (9/9/2020)

I propose and I’m going to digress slightly…I here we, we’re in a situation. I…President asked me to head-up a cancer moonshot.

Biden, on Third Try, Aims for Summit of US Political Life | Voice of America - English

He’s saying that it was President….My boss…it’s his fault.”

I took on Putin in terms of er Iraq…excuse me, in terms of uh, what was going on in Ukraine.”

By strengthening, by strengthening, by strengthening...”

By investing a hundred billion dollars in education, in global warming efforts, it’s a whole range of things.”

We can afford it by just eliminating, beginning to treat, treat, work, reward work as much as wealth..”

Get hot, I got a lot a, I got hairy legs, that turn, that that that that turn er, um, blonde in the sun, and the kids used to come up and reach in and pull and rub my leg down, so it was straight and then watch the hair come back up again...”

So I learned about roaches, I learned about kids jumping on my lap…and I’ve loved kids jumping on my lap.”

“…the senator who was a Mormon, the governor.” [Meaning Mitt Romney] (13/10/2020)

No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman in anger…we have to just change the culture, period. And keep punching at it, and punching at it, and punching at it...” [Democratic Primary debate]

Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

Look! I never forgot what President Kennedy said about going to Moon.  He said we’re goin’ you know why?  Because we’re a refuse to postpone…let’s not postpone and get out of the rain! God bless you all! Thank you.”

I’ll lead a defective strategy to mobilize true [mumble] true [mumble] true [international pressure?]

“Barack and I think it’s a right; for people to have [mumble] [something about healthcare?]”


We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.” (24/10/2020)

In his 15-minute speech to the country, Biden called on Americans to come together and made an appeal to Trump voters. The president-elect and Kamala Harris are seen reacting to the crowd alongside their respective spouses


‘I hope it can provide some comfort and solace to the more than 230-million-thousand families who have lost a loved one to this terrible virus this year.

Joe Biden - The Telegraph




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