I didn’t even need to do a Biden pun in the headline to let you know who this post was about. All I had to say was “A 2020 candidate has been nibbling fingers” and you’d know immediately who I meant.
It had to be Joe. No one else in the field is remotely weird enough.
This was the talk of the political Internet a few days ago during our long holiday weekend but I must regretfully inform you that Biden is getting a bad rap — sort of — from all the “WTF?” coverage of the incident. He’s guilty of the charge against him, make no mistake: Fingers were nibbled, and the photo and video prove conclusively that it was Grandpa Joe who did the nibbling.
But what was his intent? That’s a key question in a criminal case, and so too here.
If all you saw was the photo, you’d want to know how Biden escaped from the mental hospital and what his campaign was doing behind the scenes to prevent him from being a threat to himself and others:
If the person that took this photo doesn't get a Pulitzer, the entire system is broken. pic.twitter.com/pLPU8Fzf9e
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) December 1, 2019
It looks like a “Walking Dead” episode where all the zombies are geriatric for some reason.
The first thing to know about the photo is that that’s his wife, Jill, at the mic. He didn’t do this to some random woman who was introducing him — although, again, if anyone in the field is apt to be weird in expressing his affection for a political ally, it’s Joe. The next thing you find yourself wondering as you take in that image is “How long were her fingers in his mouth, exactly?” Did she have to shake him loose?
Nah. This is why I say it’s a bad rap. The video proves that it was a split second, a playful reaction to the fact that Jill Biden kept gesticulating right in front of his face. The photo just so happened to have been taken at the precise moment of mastication.
YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP.
Joe Biden just NIBBLED on his wife's finger at a campaign stop in Iowa. pic.twitter.com/PcCqTMPJez
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) November 30, 2019
Even the Buttigieg campaign wasn’t willing to dunk on him for it, per a spokesman: “Moments of humanity and affection are allowed in politics. And they are rare. To the folks tweeting this out like it was ‘weird’ or ‘bad’- I truly hope your next holiday weekend was better than this one.” Of all the many reasons to question Biden’s mental fitness for office, this surely must rank last.
It happened in Iowa, by the way, as part of his, uh, “No Malarkey!” bus tour of the state to try to revive his campaign there. The last poll taken in Iowa had him at just 12 percent, a dangerous number given that 15 percent is the minimum required on caucus night to receive any delegates. Biden’s not expecting to win Iowa but he is expecting to walk out of there with some delegates in anticipation of a possible floor fight at the convention; to get blanked would be humiliating and might have a cascade effect in New Hampshire and Nevada by convincing fencesitting voters in those states that he’s on his way to flaming out. On the other hand, if he does clear 15 percent, he could be well positioned to pick up supporters of candidates like Klobuchar and Booker who fail to make the 15-percent cut themselves. In fact, his campaign is counting on it:
The Biden team is laser-focused on the viability threshold requiring candidates to get 15% support in a given precinct to have votes counted toward delegates. Biden’s team believes he’ll be viable in every one of the 1,679 precincts on caucus night, a reach other leading candidates may not match. Then, they believe Biden will be a top beneficiary of “realignment” — subsequent ballots that allow voters who supported a nonviable candidate to choose another who’s still standing.
That process could be a double boost for Biden, their theory goes. First, top contenders like Warren or Buttigieg whose support might be anchored in more liberal cities and suburbs would get no practical benefit from first-ballot votes in more rural precincts where they fall short of 15%. Second, several of the lower-tier candidates running as moderates — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for example — could fall short of viability across much of the state. Biden advisers confirmed they already are mapping out realignment ballot strategy.
Meanwhile, he’s taking a beating in political media for his “No Malarkey!” catchphrase but I think it’s great. It’s him to a T and it’s memorable. To the extent that it’s archaic and off-putting to younger voters, well, so is Biden himself. Might as well be who he is and trust that young liberals will climb aboard if he ends up as the last man standing between Trump and a second term.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s another Biden moment from a few years ago that’s making the rounds on Twitter. It’s stranger than the finger-nibble and thus even stronger evidence of his essential weirdness.
Not only should Joe Biden not be running for President of the United States, he probably also shouldn’t be allowed in public.
Watch this video: pic.twitter.com/Ck6XQUPI2x
— Alana Mastrangelo (@ARmastrangelo) December 1, 2019