At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last night, Vice-President Joe Biden took the stage to praise nominee Hillary Clinton. Biden is a charismatic, unpretentious speaker, and the stadium hung on his words as he built to a roaring condemnation of Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump. It was a fine, memorable performance.
But there were two words that, in his final major speech as second-in-command, Biden did not say. Two words that have so thoroughly engrained themselves in the character of “Joe Biden” that it is nearly impossible to see him stand at the podium and not think, “God, I hope he says the words.”
Those words are “Liquid Swords.”
The Onion’s serial portrait of Joe Biden as a horny, hard-partying, copper-wire-scavenging scammer known as “Diamond” Joe Biden (Headline: “Biden Chokes Up While Describing Hardworking Americans Who Can Only Afford Shitty Ditch Weed”) has probably done almost as much as the real Biden’s actual folksiness to endear him to Democrats over the last eight years, and while Biden-joke pedants might point out that the butt-rock-loving Biden of the Onion would probably not be a Wu-Tang Clan fan, BlippoBlappo’s Liquid Swords nevertheless carries with it the same myth-making potency: an image that it feels more true than the actual truth. The tweet itself has hung around Twitter for the last couple of years, retweeted nearly any time the vice-president is in the news, and so when Biden took the stage on Wednesday night, Twitter hoped that he might pay tribute:
Since Biden took over the job from real-life Oswald Cobblepot Dick Cheney, there’s been an impulse to return the vice-presidency to a less active, and therefore less scary, position — a cushy, do-nothing job from which absolutely no wars would be planned. The president does the work, and the vice-president gets to stand near him when he takes the credit. Obama is the straight man; Biden the charming rogue. What else is Biden going to do all day? Not listen to Liquid Swords?
But Joe Biden can’t be vice-president forever. The Democrats have a new nominee in the form of Tim Kaine, who, well, doesn’t really seem like a Whitesnake fan. If Hillary Clinton, as the president, is still the straight man of the comedy duo Twitter has come to write into the White House, what is Kaine’s shtick?
On the one hand, he’s a fan of legendary alt-rock band the Replacements. On the other, he’s an older white man in a suit — which means quote-unquote dad vibes. (To be fair, he does carry four harmonicas with him.) And so Tim Kaine is now the podium-grabber, but his tastes skew a little more eclectic.
This is the Tim Kaine joke now. He loves the cool indie dad-rock bands. He could be the nation’s cool dad if you vote for him in November. The only problem: Would a grinning, slightly dorky, cool dad grab a podium at all?