Joe Biden was honored last Wednesday by the womens’ rights group “Vital Voices,” which exists to help combat domestic violence against women. While accepting his award for doing his part in the vast #WaronWomen, Joe, who will need to court the female vote in order to defeat his two potential primary foes, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren (both nominally female), told a story about how, when he was a kid, he beat the ever-living tar out of a boy who pushed his sister off of a bicycle.
Biden regaled the audience with a brutal anecdote about his youth — when he was Joey Biden — that he insisted was totally true.
“I remember coming back from Mass on Sunday,” Biden explained, according to the Beast. “Always the big treat was, we’d stop at the donut shop.”
His father was waiting in the car, as was the custom, he said. On this occasion, Biden’s sister, Valerie, “tugged on” the future vice president’s arm and said, “‘That’s the boy who kicked me off my bicycle.’”
Once the family got home, Biden swore, he hopped on his bicycle and returned to the donut shop. The boy was still there, he said, “leaning down on one of those slanted counters.”
Next, Biden attested: “I walked up behind him and smashed his head next to the counter.”
According to Joe, after being restrained by the kid’s dad, he threatened to kill the kid if he ever touched his sister again. Missing the fact that violence against men is probably not the answer to violence against women, the audience applauded. But Biden’s lack of a sense of irony is not the only problem with his story. Although it’s pretty watered down, his tale of slamming a kid’s head into a Formica countertop in the name of gender justice bears a striking resemblance to a key plot element of The Godfather where Sonny Corleone avenges his pregnant sister’s black eye with a full-on Mafia beatdown.
After Connie tells Sonny that her husband, Carlo Rizzi, is responsible for the injuries, Sonny tracks Carlo down at Carlo’s bookmaking racket and beats the living hell out of him. Sonny throws a stick at his brother-in-law; tosses him over a railing; punches, kicks and knees him repeatedly; bites his knuckles; hits him with his own shoe; bangs his head with a trashcan and then a trashcan lid; then kicks him a few more times and leaves him in a puddle under an open fire hydrant.
Sonny departs with the promise that he will kill Carlo if Carlo ever hits Connie again. Ironically, Carlo later cuts a deal with Emilio Barzini, a Corleone family rival, to beat Connie again and assist in Sonny’s murder, on the causeway.
At least he didn’t tell the crowd that he was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, after his parents had a miraculous premonition that the British explorer would reach the summit of Mount Everest just a few short years after his birth, or that he was so deeply touched by his Native American roots that he couldn’t help but inform an Ivy League school that he was a potential diversity hire, despite being a suburban New England Baby Boomber with a Flowbie haircut and a stockpile of white privelege.
There’s always the possibility Joe was slightly older than he lets on and was just repeating what he saw in the movies, like a good kid raised on media. Like his competitors for the Democratic throne, he could surely have made it up, but there’s something believable about Joe Biden taking out a teenager in a donut shop, an earnest sort of folksiness that Elizabeth and Hillary lack. It’s probably the fact that you can imagine him showing up to a benefit stone cold drunk after consuming an entire case of Natty Lite in the Vice Presidential limo.
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