This has got to be the bazooka of all Joe Biden blowhardisms. The nation’s vice campaigner-in-chief went on the attack against Republicans this week, clad in full populist armor. “These guys don’t have a sense of the average folks out there,” said the Everyman. “They don’t know what it means to be middle class.” But who was his audience?
Nope, not blue-collar workers in Allentown, Pa. Biden was speaking to an exclusive club of $10,000-per-couple campaign donors gathered at the home of the Senate’s $200 million man, Democratic Massachusetts senator John Kerry, in Georgetown, D.C.
That’s smack dab in the middle of Beltway America, where they like a twist of cognitive dissonance with their aperitifs.
The White House is once again drawing on the fantastical myth of middle-class Joe to portray Republicans as out-of-touch elitists. A Washington Post
headline described Biden “digging back into his roots to move Obama forward.” But the administration’s leading populist poster child is a wretched symbol of entrenched Washington power. And his fables are getting oldy-moldy.
At another campaign event in Ohio, Regular Joe rolled up his sleeves and pumped out the common-man colloquialisms. “It’s good to have a dad in the automobile business, man,” he said. Yeah, man. Preach it, man. Oh, hey, weren’t you the man who savaged average-guy Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher in Ohio four years ago by lying about his income and mocking his American dream to own a small business? Man.
While Biden’s family came from humble beginnings, the wheeler-dealer politician and his family (including two lobbyist sons) have reaped the benefits of public office for nearly a half-century. The entrenched senior senator from Delaware amassed wealthy donors and crooked cronies over six Senate terms. These are some of the stories, reported in my book Culture of Corruption, that have been whitewashed out of the loquacious veep’s campaign folklore:
Biden’s custom-built house in Delaware’s ritziest Chateau Country neighborhood, assessed at $2.5 million four years ago, is the Bidens’ most valuable asset. He secured the estate with the help of a corporate executive who worked for Biden’s top campaign donor, credit card giant MBNA. In 1996, Biden sold his previous mansion to MBNA Vice Chairman John Cochran. The asking price was $1.2 million. Cochran forked over the full sum. Biden then paid $350,000 in cash to real estate developer Keith Stoltz for a 4.2-acre lakefront lot. Stoltz had paid that same amount five years earlier for the undeveloped property.
Among Pal Joey’s dearest old pals: campaign finance “rainmaker” William Oldaker, who showered generous benefits on both the elder Biden and his lobbyist son, Hunter; Baltimore-based Peter Angelos, whose law firm gave Biden $156,250; Wilmington-based Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor, which kicked in $127, 979; and Pachulski Stang Zielhl and Jones, which donated $145,625, according to The American Lawyer.