Even with the political silly season offering sideshows like Trump and Sanders, and the cable news networks’ endless parade of bimbo-commentators, NPR has one-upped with them the dumbest interview of all: Florida Atlantic University history professor Ronald Feinman, who is heading a movement to encourage the Democratic nominee for president to pick Joe Biden as his or her running mate.
Do we really want to anoint Joe Biden, of all people, Vice-President for Life?
At first, I assumed that the segment, on a program called “The Takeaway,” was satirical — maybe someone reading a piece in The Onion — but it soon became obvious that Feinman was serious. And incredibly, that NPR thought this nonsense was newsworthy.
Biden has for decades acted unhinged to the point of seeming to be suffering from some sort of dementia — which actually would not be surprising for someone who has had two neurosurgical operations for leaking cerebral aneurysms.
In 1987, Biden plagiarized part of a campaign speech from one by Neil Kinnock, leader of Britain’s Labor Party, and even revised his own family history to conform to the speech. He also admitted to an earlier incident of plagiarism in law school.
Biden demonstrated either poor reality testing or merely a propensity for lying when he claimed in 1987 that he “went to law school on a full academic scholarship – the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,” and that he “ended up in the top half” of his class. He also said that in college, he was “the outstanding student in the political science department” and “graduated with three degrees.”
After the flagrant inaccuracies in his statements were exposed, Biden made this admission on Sept. 22, 1987: “I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school, and my recollection of this was inaccurate.” He had actually graduated 76th in a class of 85 from the Syracuse College of Law. And in college, Biden had received a single B.A. degree
While he was a senator, Biden was such a joke that congressional staffers began passing around a spoof Biden résumé claiming that he was the “inventor of polyurethane and the weedeater” and “Member, Rockettes (1968).”
Age appears not to have improved either Biden’s memory or his IQ. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he observed: “When the stock market crashed [in 1929], Franklin Roosevelt got on television” and explained it to the American people.
In fact, Roosevelt did not become president until 1933, and his first appearance on TV was six years later. Since that gaffe, Biden, who will be 74 in November, has fumbled and bumbled frequently in his public remarks. And his boss reportedly doesn’t appreciate it. According to the authors of the book Game Change, Obama asked angrily, “How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?”
One additional item pertains to Biden’s integrity and suitability for any elected office. In the fascinating biography of Teamsters Union and Mafia hit-man Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, I Heard You Paint Houses, the lifelong thug describes a political favor he performed while he was president of Teamsters Local 326 in Wilmington, Delaware.
In 1972 Sheeran received a visit from “a very prominent lawyer” he knew who was “very big in the Democratic Party” in Delaware. The November general election was approaching, and the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by a Republican was expected to be close. The lawyer wanted help in preventing the distribution of a paid Republican political ad — an insert in the Delaware-wide newspapers – that would run for a week and expose the campaign misrepresentations by the Democratic challenger. Sheeran promised the operative that he “would hire some people and put them on the picket line.” He added ominously, “People nobody would mess with.”
The picket line went up, the papers were not delivered all week, and, “The day after the election the informational picket line came down, and the newspaper went back to normal and Delaware had a new United States Senator.” His name was Joe Biden.
Thereafter, said Sheeran — the admitted extortionist, thief, murderer and committer of war crimes — about Biden, “You could reach out for him, and he would listen.”
Perhaps Feinman, the history professor, is ignorant of this history. Or perhaps he’s just a dimwit who thinks demented, dishonest Joe Biden really does deserve to remain a heartbeat from the presidency for four more years.
Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution; he was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.