Have you noticed Joe Biden’s fondness for quoting his mother? In the middle of a news conference or speech, he will frequently interject some homespun expression prefaced by the phrase “As my mother would say.” Have you also noticed that a fair number of the unique observations his mother would make are part of the common vernacular?
Take “God love him/her.” It’s a common expression in the American South, where it follows a negative statement or implication, such as “She’s dumb as a post, God love her.” But Biden seems to be under the misapprehension that his mother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, a native of Pennsylvania, coined the expression.
Just over four weeks ago, America had no real plan to vaccinate most of the country. My predecessor, as my mother would say, God loved him, failed to order enough vaccines, failed to mobilize the effort to administer the shots, failed to set up vaccine centers. That changed the moment we took office. I directed Jeff Zients, my Covid-19 response coordinator, to lead my administration’s work with the vaccine manufacturers to buy more vaccines and to speed up delivery. [Emphasis added]
Here he is again, this time early in the campaign for the Democratic nomination. This time the person for whom he says his mother would beseech God’s love is his rival Bernie Sanders.
This is not the only expression Biden ascribes to his mother. Another he keeps returning to is “with the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors.” It was one of two ascriptions he made to his mother during his CNN town hall on Feb. 16. The other was the threat to “wash one’s mouth out with soap,” which he mangled:
As my mother would say, if half the things that occurred in the last campaign came out of my mouth, as she’d say as a kid, we’d wash my mouth out with soap.
It’s bad enough listening to Joe Biden’s own malarkey, to use an apparent favorite of his, or watching his losing battle with dementia, as illustrated by the mix tape below. But having to listen to his folksy misattributions of common expressions to his mom is getting to be a little tiresome. As his mother would say, don’t pee on my shoe and tell me its’ raining.