What the @#$%^&* is going on with Joe Biden?
The guy who was supposed to sweep to the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination is flummoxed and flustered, floundering and fumfering his way down to fourth place in Iowa, one of the states where Democratic voters start the process of picking their nominee.
When he’s not trying to keep his blindingly white dentures in place, the 77-year-old is saying some absolutely wacky — and oddly disturbing — things. And doing some weird things, too.
Case in point: A short video resurfaced this week showing Mr. Biden describing how children would rub his leg hair when he was a lifeguard at a Delaware pool.
“And by the way, you know, I sit on the stand, and it’d get hot. I gotta lotta, I got hairy legs, that turn, that, that, that, that, that, that turn, uh, uh, um, blond in the sun. And the kids used to come up and reach into the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and then watch the hair, mmm, come, come back up again,” Mr. Biden said.
Then he added: “So I learned about roaches. I learned about kids jumping on my lap. And I’ve loved kids jumping on my lap.”
Uh, what now?
The clip is an excerpt from the Democrat’s infamous “Corn Pop” speech (more on that later), which took place at a community pool in 2017. And, man, was Twitter buzzing about it.
“I think he is going senile,” one user tweeted. “I am positive we didn’t need to hear something like this,” tweeted another. “What the literal hell is he talking about, exactly?” tweeted a third.
The weird ramblings about leg hair got overlooked because it was the same speech in which Mr. Biden recounted a story about a thug he once confronted. The year was 1962, and Mr. Biden, then a 19-year-old working as a pool lifeguard and security guard, faced off with a street tough named Corn Pop — “a bad dude” who Mr. Biden said was the leader of a Delaware gang called “the Romans.”
Mr. Biden had to control the diving board, and Mr. Pop was trying to post up a dive.
“I said, ‘Hey, Esther, off the board or I’ll come up and drag you off,’” Mr. Biden said at the pool ceremony, referring to the actress Esther Williams, known at the time for choreographed swimming and diving in Hollywood movies.
Corn Pop, Mr. Biden recalled, got off the board, but then waited for Mr. Biden at his car with “three guys, [all] with straight razors.”
Mr. Biden said the pool mechanic armed him with a six-foot stretch of chain.
“He said, ‘You walk out with that chain, and you walk to the car and say, “You may cut me, man, but I’m gonna’ wrap this chain around your head.’” I said, ‘You’re kiddin’ me.’ He said, ‘No, and if you don’t, don’t come back.’ And he was right,” Mr. Biden said in 2017.
“So I walked out with the chain. And I walked up to my car,” Mr. Biden said. “And in those days, you remember the straight razors? You had to bang ‘em on the curb, gettin’ ‘em rusty, puttin’ ‘em in the rain barrel, gettin’ ‘em rusty?”
Sure, I mean, who doesn’t remember that?
“And I looked at him, but I was smart, then. I said, ‘First of all,’ I said, ‘when I tell you to get off the board, you get off the board or I’ll kick you out again. But I shouldn’t have called you Esther Williams, and I apologize for that. I apologize.’ But I didn’t know that apology was gonna work,” he concluded.
Luckily for America, it worked. Mr. Biden knocked back that street tough Corn Pop and went on to become vice president.
Then there was last week, when Mr. Biden was traveling on his “No Malarkey” bus tour through Iowa (by the way, no one under 50 years old knows what “malarkey” means, but Mr. Biden, no stranger to the art of japery, picked that for his slogan).
During a stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, his wife, Jill, was introducing him and swinging her arms about excitedly. At one point, her hand ended up in front of his face — so he nibbled on her index finger.
The video quickly became an internet meme. The gesture was, in its way, cute and endearing. But it was also kinda weird.
Mr. Biden has always been sharp as a tack, a quick wit. As a politician, few have been more polished. But he hasn’t merely lost a step like an aging wide receiver; he looks like he needs to be held in concussion protocol — indefinitely.
The one-time heir apparent to the throne is now flummoxed and flustered, floundering and fumfering away.
And that ain’t no malarkey. It’s really kinda sad.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.
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