That should’ve been the headline to the NYT’s latest reminder of its cultural relevance, “The Onion Strikes Comic Gold With Biden Spoofs”:
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has never smashed a Whac-A-Mole game in a drunken fit. He has never invoked Freedom of Information laws to find out a female federal employee’s work schedule. And to the best of anyone’s knowledge, he has never washed his car in the White House driveway.
But to readers of The Onion, the satirical newspaper and Web site, the vice president has done all of those things, plus bounce a check for $39.50 to a liquor store and star in advertisements for Hennessy cognac that emphasize his international playboy swagger.
Political satire typically seizes on a public official’s foibles or flaws and exaggerates them — Gerald R. Ford’s clumsiness, Bill Clinton’s fast-food cravings, George W. Bush’s malapropisms, for example. Turning the craft on its head, writers at The Onion have created a caricature of the vice president that is entirely incongruous with his public image. Of all Mr. Biden’s imperfections, being a womanizer and a drunk are not on the list. In fact, he does not drink and has been, by all accounts, a devoted husband and family man for more than 30 years.
I don’t want to accuse the NYT of missing a point, but approximately 50% of the U.S. probably wouldn’t see the caricature as entirely incongruous with Biden’s public image, because they really do think he’s a clueless oaf. But who cares? Now we have official permission to laugh at him even though he’s Obama’s VP. Yay!
Congrats to The Onion for poking fun of the current administration and getting away with it. Of course, some of us were mocking Biden when mocking Biden wasn’t cool. From my old blog that was on the Internet:
October 22, 2008
Biden Clarifies Earlier Remarks on His Dread of an Obama Administration
Richmond, VA, Oct. 22 — At a campaign stop in a Richmond-area Denny’s earlier today, Delaware Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden followed up on his controversial claim last Sunday that within the first six months of an Obama administration, America would “have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
Biden’s statement to the press:
“Ya know, I kinda put my foot in my mouth the other day… [chuckle] You folks know how I can get, with the words and the talking and the babbling and the yammering and so forth. But I just wanted to clarify those remarks. I know I speak for Obama when I say that we are ready to lead. Come what may, we are gonna be out there in front. Because I gotta tell ya, when this great man, this fantastic young African-American kid who I’m proud to call my closest friend, when he becomes president, the American people need to know that you are all gonna be grabbin’ your ankles every April 15 for the rest of your probably-shortened lives.
“I mean, the taxes, they’re gonna be unbelievable. Holy f***. So we’ll need your help with that. You’re gonna have to pay ’em. There’s no way we can repel a full-scale nationwide tax revolt without resorting to nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, at least in the scenarios they’ve shown me, so we’re countin’ on you to do the right thing.
“And I’d say to America, this land that I love: You’ve all seen what an agent of change Barack Obama is. He’s brought together people from all walks of life. He’s inspired every single person in this country, no matter who you are or what you look like or even if you’re into, y’know, the funny stuff. [chuckle] Which is gonna be a great comfort when the Obama administration strangles the U.S. economy and sets off a long, terrifying race war.
“It is gonna suck beyond anything you could ever imagine. I’m not even kidding. I have a great fondness and admiration for the African-American people, I think they’ve done some great work over the years, but when push comes to shove, I know which side I’m on. You follow me?
“But Obama is gonna be there, and he’s gonna learn the ropes, probably. It’ll be really hard for you guys to survive in the nightmarish, decaying wasteland he’ll make of this great nation, but those are the sorts of experiences that shape a man. And I know he’s gonna come through it okay, at least in terms of his own personal safety.”
Before being escorted out of the restaurant by frenzied campaign aides, Biden added, “And don’t forget Iran! They know he’s a pushover. Which is one of the things I love about the guy, he’s a pussycat, but these animals? Boy oh boy. Can you say ‘suitcase nuke’? I don’t know for sure which city, but I’m guessing one of the smaller Midwest towns we’re not watching that closely, maybe Omaha or Akron or one of those deals. You should probably start evacuating now.
“Okay, whoa, looks like my time’s up. Easy on the threads, fellas, it’s a rental. [chuckle]”