The first president could not tell a lie. The 46th cannot tell the truth.
Joe Biden fibs about birth, family, school, work, marriage (just a few of the minor aspects of life). Even his hairline tells a lie.
“It looks a little bit like plagiarism,” Vice President Mike Pence said in Thursday night’s debate regarding the Democratic candidate’s plan to tackle COVID-19, “which is something Joe Biden knows a little bit about.”
Biden, of course, famously plagiarized speeches by Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy (Pence should watch out for the Democratic nominee recycling his plagiarism line in the next debate). In law school, Biden flunked a class for inserting five pages from a law journal article into his paper.
He provided a different account of his academic career on the campaign trail in Claremont, New Hampshire, in the spring of 1987. “I think I have a much higher IQ than you do,” he responded to a stunned Democratic voter asking about his credentials. He boasted of winning “the outstanding student in the political science department” at the University of Delaware, from which he “graduated with three degrees,” and then “went to law school on a full academic scholarship,” where he “ended up in the top half” of his class.
Biden didn’t win an “outstanding student” award at the University of Delaware, where he had performed poorly. He actually graduated from the school with one, and not as he claimed three, degrees. He received a partial scholarship based on need to Syracuse Law, where he graduated in the bottom fifth of his class. Biden conceded, “I exaggerate when I’m angry” (and understates when he apologizes).
Surely he was furious when he described how he met his wife.
Joe says he became smitten with Jill upon seeing her in an airport advertisement in 1975. It just so happened that Biden’s brother knew the woman and offered to set up a date, in which they went to see A Man and a Woman, a movie about a widower given a second chance at love. Jill Biden’s first husband remembers their courtship differently.
Bill Stevenson says he volunteered with his first wife on Biden’s 1972 Senate run and Jill babysat Biden’s sons after the death of Biden’s wife. Stevenson first understood his wife had stepped out on his marriage when she declined to meet Bruce Springsteen with him in 1974. Instead, she said she needed to mind Joe Biden’s kids. “Then one of her best friends told me she thought Joe and Jill were getting a little too close,” he told the Daily Mail. “I was surprised that she came to me.” When a man confronted a stunned Stevenson about his Corvette crashing into his car, Stevenson says he discovered that Joe Biden caused the damage out with Jill and did not pay the accident’s victim. Stevenson told Joe Biden’s girlfriend to pack.
Less understandable than the whitewashed marriage creation story, Biden presented the biography of Neil Kinnock as though it were his own in 1987. Kinnock talked about being the first member of his family to graduate from college and his relatives’ eight-hour days slaving in coal mines only to emerge to play (European) football. Biden talked about being the first member of his family to graduate from college and his relatives’ 12-hour days slaving in coal mines only to emerge to play (American) football.
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Joe Biden did not have “the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see” Nelson Mandela. Biden’s wife and daughter did not die because a truck driver “drank his lunch” (Neilia Biden, investigators determined, missed a stop sign). Joe Biden did not play football for the University of Delaware as he boasted to Ohio audiences.
Politicians routinely exaggerate their accomplishments and issue campaign promises they do not intend to keep. Joe Biden transcends this garden-variety mendacity in a field synonymous with dishonesty. He deceives not just with calculation but reflexively as though his nature. Corn Pop does not approve of jive talkers.
“I’m not here to call out his lies,” Biden said of Donald Trump in their first debate. “Everybody knows he’s a liar.”
Psychiatrists call this projection. They lack a term for a political leader appropriating another political leader’s biography as his own.