by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I don’t want to pooh-pooh Franklin Foer’s new book, The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future, until I’ve read it. But let’s just say I’m not surprised that books about Joe Biden aren’t selling well. Biden has been a well-known figure on the political scene since the 1980s. Never mind his nearly four decades in the Senate; a child born when Barack Obama picked Biden to be his running mate in 2008 is now old enough to be on the verge of getting his learner’s permit in most states.
He’s sat for hundreds of interviews, although much less often in recent years. How much is there left to learn about him? What mysteries about Biden are left to unravel, other than whether he truly is “fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations,” as the White House physician wrote earlier this year?
Is it really a revelation that Biden, who turns 81 this autumn, privately admits he feels “tired”? Only if you bought into the ludicrous spin from the likes of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester that Biden has more energy now than he did in his forties.
Nor is it a revelation that Joe Biden poorly handled his meeting with the grieving families of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the closing days of the American presence in Afghanistan. The families had publicly said so at the time. Many of us have pointed out that Biden’s idea of empathy is telling people who have suffered a terrible tragedy that he knows how they feel because of his own life experiences, which is rarely as consoling and reassuring as Biden thinks it is.