It is now clear that President Joe Biden is a child of political vanity with special needs.
Almost all politicians exaggerate or tell tall tales about themselves.
It’s practically a requirement of the job, an expression of their typically large ego and ambition.
But Biden abused that privilege by repeatedly plagiarizing the words and experiences of others and telling slightly distorted stories about himself throughout his career.
He is the political equivalent of Zelig, Woody Allen’s famous shape-shifting character who transformed into whatever ethnic group he happened to belong to.
Biden has claimed that he was “raised in the black church” and “in the synagogues of my state”; He says he “grew up in a Polish community” and “politically” grew up in the Puerto Rican community.
His latest highlight is that he taught political theory at the University of Pennsylvania for four years, although in reality he never set foot in the lecture halls, which was a position of pure sinecure.
His previous false claims of being a civil rights activist, being arrested with Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and being at Ground Zero in New York the day after 9/11 have all been debunked, as have lies about his academic achievements.
He continues to claim that his son Beau died in Iraq, although he died of cancer in an American hospital long after his Iraq service ended.
While Biden represents an extreme example, his fabricated stories of personal greatness are typical of liberal politicians.
Recall Hillary Clinton’s claim that she was named after the mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, even though the ascent of Mount Everest that made him famous occurred six years after her birth.
And remember Hillary’s claim that she was “under fire” at the airport in Bosnia as secretary of state: video footage showed that no such thing happened.
Among Bill Clinton’s many lies was his Biden-like claim that he remembered black churches being burned in arsons during his childhood, even though a review of historical records showed there were none in his area.
John Kerry’s exaggerations about his Vietnam War record came back to haunt him in the 2004 presidential campaign when his comrades attacked him with the “speedboat.”
And never forget that Al Gore invented the Internet.
Joe Biden’s week full of gaffes
President Biden, 80, has a well-deserved reputation for being a faux pas. His penchant for verbal errors, plagiarism, misremembered facts, offensive gaffes and outright lies dates back to the beginning of his political career. Here are some of the president’s recent embarrassing statements.
Biden held a rambling news conference in Vietnam and concluded it by telling reporters: “I’m going to bed.”
Biden gave a 9/11 speech in Alaska on Monday in which he falsely claimed he was at Ground Zero the day after the terrorist attack.
Biden, in a speech at a community college in Maryland, claimed to have taught political theory at UPenn, even though he had only attended the school nine times and never taught a course.
In the same speech, the president weighed in by suggesting that black and Hispanic workers don’t have “high school degrees.”
Later that evening, Biden claimed in a Rosh Hashanah speech that he “grew up in synagogues” in Delaware, although he never mentioned this in his memoirs.
Democrats don’t have a monopoly on mythical stories. Ronald Reagan was often criticized for telling stories that didn’t stand up to scrutiny.
But there is a clear difference between the kind of tall tales that Reagan told and the kind that liberals tell.
Reagan’s embellished and mythical stories (with one ambiguous and controversial exception) were never about himself, but always about America and the greatness of the American character.
And remember the motto on his desk: “There are no limits to what you can achieve if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
In contrast, Biden boasts: “Bidenomics is just another way of saying restore the American dream.”
Liberal politicians’ false stories are mostly about themselves and how great their thoughts, actions and experiences are.
Compare Reagan’s first inaugural address to Clinton’s first inaugural address.
Reagan’s central theme was that it was the people themselves – not the benevolent rulers in Washington – who would solve America’s problems.
In contrast, a key line in Clinton’s inaugural address underscores the transcendent omniscience and omnipotence of liberal thought: “This ceremony takes place in the middle of winter. But through the words we speak and the faces we show the world, we force spring.”
Even nature will bend to the liberal will through our “words” and “faces.”
The neediness of liberal politicians ultimately arises from their worldview in which they are the agents of progress, the avatars of the “side of history” whose pace is always too slow to please liberals.
Joe Biden may be an outlier in his self-aggrandizement – which made him a special needs liberal long before his current insanity manifested itself – but it is entirely typical of a creed that relies on self-affirmation to support its assumptions about goodness and acceptance to confirm unlimited power.
Steven F. Hayward is the Gaylord Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.