Vice President Joe Biden has become as popular as Gretchen Weiners. The VP is the star of numerous blog posts, Onion articles, and YouTube gaff montages. The Supreme Court Justice-kissing, inappropriate joke-making, train-loving Biden has gathered an almost cultish following.
Biden kisses Sonia Sotomayor. Courtesy of CNN.com.
Politics is not my thing, but the Biden craze is hard to ignore. On a recent episode of NBC’s comedy Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler’s Biden-obsessed character Leslie Knope finally met her celebrity crush–the Vice President. Biden even made a cameo on the show. (In an earlier episode, Knope had stitched Biden’s face onto a quilt).
Though comical, Knope’s obsession isn’t too far from reality.
Biden guest stars on NBC’s Park’s and Recreation. Courtesy of hypable.com
Earlier this week, my fiancé, arguably Biden’s biggest fan since Leslie Knope, posted a New York Times article to my Facebook wall. Naturally, the piece featured the Vice President and, interestingly, his meteoric rise to to the metaphorical cool kids’ table. I’d imagine most politicians would cringe to see their name in the Times alongside the phrase “hair plugs.” Joe Biden is too cool to care.
The article explains that, while Biden is not the most popular politician in American history (his approval rating is at 49 percent), his appeal follows what is called “the politics of joy.” Biden’s jokes and charm are not just endearing, they evoke a sense that there’s nothing else he’d rather be doing than swearing in new senators.
The character traits that have gained Biden a following of Napoleon Dynamite-esque proportions are the same things that the media love to hate. Perhaps that makes people love him even more. Al.com posted an article exploring some of Biden’s favorite phrases, such as “malarky,” and their potential for incorrect use. The satirical news channel The Onion has capitalized on Joe Biden’s Joe Biden-ness, creating a character known as “Diamond Joe Biden” who even published an “autobiography.” The Onion’s photos of Biden, some very obviously photoshopped, some unedited pictures of the VP that simply feature funny captions, have become social media staples.
Diamond Joe Biden. Courtesy of theonion.com.
It seems that Biden embraces the media attention he has attracted over the past four years, both the flattering and the unkind. Love him or hate him, Biden’s embodiment of the politics of joy is a welcome respite from the ugly divisiveness of politics, the ever-present threat of recession and financial default, and a seemingly unending war, no matter what side of the political spectrum you lean toward. Rock on, Diamond Joe.