Selfish

Crack den:

So, Joe Biden’s running for president. He says Democrats need to show strong leadership on national security and be less condescending to people of faith. Of course no elected Democrats are condescending to people of faith and Joe’s been in the Senate for quite some time showing piss poor leadership on national security. But, hey, Joe knows what those other Democrats need to do. One wonders why he doesn’t do it.

Well, you can’t defy the stereotype if you don’t first reinforce the hell out of it. After all, how’s he going to prove he’s not just another pasty white guy who’s got to either run for president or recognize that he’ll never be president, if he doesn’t find something to with which to compare himself?

And he can’t compare himself favorably with Republicans, because then he wouldn’t get invited to their parties anymore, and that would suck. Besides, comparing himself favorably with Republicans is what’s expected of a Democrat. Harry and Nancy and Howard have that schtick covered. What Joey here has to do, then, is make the point that he’s different from all the other Democrats, that he’s different from the dozen or so other Dems equally qualified to be president. How to do that, how to do it, hmmm. How to make himself sound special and convince the party he’s their savior. Troubling. Difficult. After all, it’s not like he’s been anything other than a middling senator who’s done some good stuff, some bad stuff, voted with Republicans a lot and basically kept getting elected. Not much to inspire people with there. Oooh, look, Lieberman’s on TV! Man, Joe Lieberman sure has gotten a lot of press over the years. Chris Matthews sure does seem to think he’s the shit.

So Joe B. does what Joe L. has been doing to his own advantage up until recently: make headlines by bucking his own party, by kicking a straw man around until it sheds hay all over Tim Russert’s shiny suit, by saying really loudly that he’s not one of those Democrats. He’s articulate, you see, or something. And if this was 2002, maybe we’d all be swooning over Joe B., bowing down and saying thank you, Joe, for your wisdom, for your advice to the rest of us to just shut up and listen to you. If this was 2000, maybe we’d be looking at Joe and saying, ooh, he’s so … manly, with his sucking-up and his politics of dumping all over the rest of us and then asking for our votes.

But this is 2006, bitches, and I for one am sick and tired of hearing Democratic candidates for office hate on the Democratic party. Joe, Joey, Joseph, pet. Dumping all over your own party might make you the darling of the press for a while. But it might also, you know, alienate the people you need to get elected: Democrats. Who you’ve just accused of being condescending and being pussies all at once, and who resent not only having to wrap their heads around that apparent contradiction in character traits but who also think both those contentions are completely wrong. Democrats vote in Democratic primaries, for the sake of sweet suffering Christ on the cross. Do you really think they’re going to vote for somebody who thinks they suck? Do you really think they’re going to vote for somebody who looks at the party that’s been, you know, pretty damn good to him over the years and says, eh, fuck ’em?

Because correct me if I’m wrong, Joe, but you’ve been going along just fine as a Democrat until now. You’ve been making out pretty well as a member of a party you now think is mean to Jesus and askeered of Saddam. You’ve been at the party for years, gobbling down the cocktail weenies and sucking on the free scotch, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you’re all of a sudden bitching about the food and the liquor, something else is going on.

There are lots and lots of words for those who disparage their own identities to get ahead in a world they perceive as hostile to them, who distance themselves from their compatriots in order to make nice with those who would rule them. Of the selection available to us, I like “backstabbing asshole” myself, though “self-absorbed creep” is climbing the charts.

A.