Joe Biden needs to start acting his age. In November he turned 77, but much of the time he behaves like he’s 177. At every turn on the campaign trail, the former vice president turns back the clock at least fifty years, injecting words into his town hall appearances (“whistle stops” in his vernacular) that are barely familiar to the most codgerly Americans. (RELATED: From the man who gave us ‘record player’: More money = more trips to the ‘haberdasher’)
Since he threw his hat (a Panama, no doubt!) in the ring in April, he has been stammering his way across America, advising prospective voters with those new-fangled pocket telephone thingies to “go to Joe 30330.” So when it was time for him to begin his up close and personal appearances in early primary states like Iowa, his campaign chartered a bus. And what slogan did Team Biden come up with up for his campaign on wheels? The “No Malarkey!” tour. Not the “No B.S.!” tour or even the “No Nonsense!” tour. Instead they chose a word that traces its origins to the 1920s and hasn’t been used much since.
So how is the nickname being received? Politico reports:
… [W]hen one high schooler attending the former vice president’s event in Council Bluffs was asked whether she knew what malarkey means, she squinted up at the massive bus with a puzzled look.
“Malarkey?” Cece West asked. “I’ve never heard of it before.”
Neither did New Yorkers under the age of 60 when asked by producers for Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” which took their cameras out onto the streets of Manhattan.
New York magazine’s “Intelligencer” similarly opines:
The slogan isn’t doing any favors for the 77-year-old candidate facing many critics claiming that he is too old for high office. (Though he is one of four septuagenarians in the Democratic primaries running against the 73-year-old incumbent, Biden’s frequent gaffes are pointed to as evidence of his decline as a public speaker.) The use of old-timey Irish-American slang is unlikely to shore up his support among young Hawkeye voters, though it could be a call to his majority in the state: Only 5 percent of Biden’s Iowa supporters are under 45.
Last week, Tom Vilsack, who served as secretary of Agriculture under Barack Obama, penned an op-ed in USA Today arguing that Biden deserves to be president because he has “stood the test of time.” That argument, while true, may ending up being the death knoll of the Biden campaign.