The New York Times reports that parodies of Vice President Joe Biden - such as this picture of Biden purportedly washing his Trans Am in the White House driveway - have become a veritable gold mine for The Onion.
What's interesting is that The Onion's approach flies in the face of previous satirical political targets.
Political satire typically seizes on a public official’s foibles or flaws and exaggerates them — Gerald R. Ford’s clumsiness, Bill Clinton’s fast-food cravings, George W. Bush’s malapropisms, for example. Turning the craft on its head, writers at The Onion have created a caricature of the vice president that is entirely incongruous with his public image. Of all Mr. Biden’s imperfections, being a womanizer and a drunk are not on the list. In fact, he does not drink and has been, by all accounts, a devoted husband and family man for more than 30 years.
The Onion’s portrayals of Mr. Biden began as traditional vice president jokes (“Biden Pardons Single Yam in Vice-Presidential Thanksgiving Ritual”) but writers there had an epiphany last year when they discovered that tweaking their caricature of the vice president into someone virtually unrecognizable from his public persona — “Biden To Cool His Heels in Mexico For a While,” read one headline — was comic gold.
The result has been endless fodder for Biden jokes — too many, in fact, for The Onion to publish. So at a time when no major news media outlet has a reporter dedicated solely to covering the vice president, writers at The Onion are generating so many story ideas about Mr. Biden that editors have to turn them down.
“We have a backlog of Biden jokes,” said Will Tracy, The Onion’s associate editor. One idea Mr. Tracy said he had to nix: a spread by the vice president in Playgirl inspired by Burt Reynolds, whose nude pose for Cosmopolitan in 1972 on a bearskin rug became an emblem of 1970s hedonism.
“We decided it was almost too big time for him,” Mr. Tracy said. “We like it better when Joe Biden is doing very small-time stuff, like getting kicked out of Dave & Buster’s, not appearing on the cover of a major national magazine.”
Good story with lots of links to funny Biden stories.
And Biden apparently is a big fan.
You go, Joe!
"Uh, uh, Chuck Graham, state senator, is here. Stand up, Chuck, let ‘em see you. Oh, God love you. What am I talking about." -- Joe Biden, to wheelchair-bound Missouri state senator, Charles Graham, 9 September 2008.