Useful Notes: Joe Biden
"With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey."Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (November 20, 1942-), or just Joe. He is the current Vice President of the United States. He is also a former US Senator (Democrat from Delaware) from 1973-2009 (36 years); at the time of his election, he was just barely the minimum age to serve (he turned 30 between the election and his inauguration in January). Served 6 complete 6 year terms, and ran for a seventh while running for VP. He won both. He resigned his Senate seat before he and Barack Obama were sworn in. Also T.I. wants him. He's noted for having a rather bad case of foot-in mouth syndrome, which naturally makes him a veritable Fountain of Memes in American politics. For obvious reasons, satirists let out a collective sigh of relief when Obama announced his pick of Biden as running-mate. He is, however, the first Catholic Vice-President.
—Vice President Biden, to Paul Ryan's claims at the 2012 VP debate
—Vice President Biden, to Paul Ryan's claims at the 2012 VP debate
Tropes pertaining to Mr. Biden:
- Aerith and Bob: Compare Barack Hussein Obama to Joseph Robinette Biden.
- As Himself: On the Season 5 Parks and Recreation "Leslie vs. April." (Leslie Knope's crush on Biden was a long-standing Running Gag on the show, and the cameo was explained as her fiancé Ben calling in favors to give her an engagement present.)
- Once made a cameo on Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?.
- Body Language: He expressively uses body gestures A LOT when he talks. He especially likes to use his hands.
- The Bus Came Back: After his disastrous 1988 campaign, he dipped his hand into the 2008 primary, and was ultimately chosen as VP.
- Butt Monkey: The Onion sees him as this. For a list of their articles on him, see here.
- Catch Phrase: His most common defense against criticism is to Hand Wave it as "a bunch of malarkey". There were bets on how soon he would use the phrase against Paul Ryan in the VP debate. It was used in one of his first responses of the night.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: The 2012 VP debate has been described as being between Paul Ryan and Biden's teeth.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He did markedly better than many expected in the VP debate before the 2012 election, despite his reputation for Open Mouth, Insert Foot.
- It was Biden's strong performance in the 2012 VP debate that saved Obama's reelection campaign. In the preceding first presidential debate, Obama gave a wooden, lackluster performance and was quickly buried by Mitt Romney. With the Romney campaign closing in on Obama's lead, Given Biden's bumbling reputation combined with Paul Ryan's reputation as a calm, eloquent debater, the Romney campaign was widely expected to steamroll to another victory and draw even with Obama. However, when the opposite occurred, it halted Romney's momentum and largely vindicated Biden, who before then was generally seen as The Load to Obama's campaign. Obama then delivered a much stronger performance in the second presidential debate, which carried him to an election day victory.
- Curse of the Ancients: Why some people thought "bunch of malarkey" was so funny: you don't hear it that much today, but it fits everyone's image of him as your Cloudcuckoolander great-uncle.
- Dark Horse Victory: His first Senate election in 1972: The incumbent Senator J. Caleb Boggs was considering retiring, and the only two Republicans running were tearing each other apart in the primary. Richard Nixon stepped in and convinced Boggs to run again, and no one other than Biden tried running against him. His zero dollar campaign was run primarily by his sister Valerie. He trailed Boggs as far as 30%, but come election day he won by 50.5% to Boggs 49.1%, by only 3162 votes.
- Determinator: After the death of his wife and daughter he threw himself into being a single father to his sons, commuting one and a half hours from Wilmington, Pennsylvania, to DC everyday so that he'd be able to take them to school in the morning and tuck them in at night.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Asked his wife Jill to marry him five times before Jill finally said yes. They've been Happily Married for over thirty years.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Robinette is certainly no Hussein, but nonetheless not a middle name most guys would be proud of.
- Fan Nickname: Joey B.
- Happily Married: Oh boy is he ever.
- Honor Before Reason: How he lost his 1988 Presidential candidacy. At the same time he was running for the Democratic nomination for President in the primaries, he was also the head of the Senate confirmation hearing for the appointment of the highly controversial judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, an appointment Biden found himself increasingly opposed to. As the primary campaign was heating up, Biden was publicly accused of plagiarism. Biden's advisers warned him that he could save his candidacy by taking the time to effectively refute the false plagiarism charge, or he could take the time and effort needed to keep Bork out of the Supreme Court, but he couldn't do both. Biden chose to withdraw from the Presidential race. He did successfully keep Bork out of the Supreme Court.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Dude was handsome in his younger days◊.
- Laughing Mad: How many on the right saw his performance, which had him frequently laughing at Paul Ryan, in the 2012 Vice-Presidential debate.
- The Load: Was largely viewed as this to Obama's reelection campaign before he soundly beat Paul Ryan (who was widely considered to be a superior campaigner) in the 2012 VP debate.
- Long Runners: He technically has more seniority than current President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, and thus if he weren't already VP after Daniel Inouye died, he would be the President Pro Tem.
- Loophole Abuse: One of the qualifications for Senator is that you must be 30 years old, Biden wasn't 30 when he was elected, but he was when he was sworn in. To be fair, he isn't the first.
- The Lost Lenore: His first wife Nielle, who was killed in an auto accident along with their daughter Naomi in 1972. Joe always takes the day off on the anniversary of the accident.
- Magnum Opus: Invoked Trope. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 was in his words "...the single most significant legislation that I’ve crafted during my 35-year tenure in the Senate."
- Older Sidekick: 70 years old and started his political career 40 years ago.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: When you ask a wheelchair-bound veteran to "Stand up and take a bow", you deserve the reputation for this.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Tragically forced to suffer this with the passing away of his son Beau due to brain cancer in 2015.
- Had lost his baby daughter, Naomi, in a car accident that also killed his first wife and injured his sons back in the 70s.
- Rail Enthusiast: A vocal supporter of Amtrak, he regularly commuted by train from his home in Delaware to Washington during his time in the Senate. Amtrak responded by naming the Wilmington train station after him and would even delay departures by several minutes just so that Biden could make it home.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Obama's Blue. In the 2008 VP debate, the Blue to Sarah Palin's Red; and in the 2012 debate, the Red to Paul Ryan's Blue.
- Saying Too Much: He's got a big reputation for this. Almost every spoof of him uses this as the primary joke.
- Second Love: Just weeks after his initial election to the Senate, he lost his wife Neilia and one-year-old daughter in a car accident, which sent him into a depression spiral that lasted for several years. He credits meeting second wife Jill three years later with giving him an interest in life again.
- Sesame Street Cred: Once he appeared in a 1993 episode of of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?.
- Silver Fox: Dude was handsome, dude is ''still' handsome!
- Strong Family Resemblance: His sons Hunter (left) and Beau (right)◊ are dead-ringers for him.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Was regularly equated to George H.W. Bush's Reckless Sidekick Vice President Dan Quayle before his strong performance in the 2012 VP debate.
- The Teetotaler: His family had a long history of drinking problems, so he swore off alcohol altogether.