Bandwagoning

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Sometimes I wonder about the mentality of those who choose politics as their career. What childhood trauma, what formative experience of powerlessness led them to actively seek the control over others’ lives wielded by those in this most disreputable of professions? By the time they achieve a national stage, most pols are too well coached to let anything slip; all content has long since been replaced by platitudes.

Fortunately, there is Joe Biden, whose career as a centrist Democrat has somehow not been affected much by his habit of speaking with a Sperry Top-Sider lodged halfway down his throat. And true to form, the vice president revealed more than he intended when guesting in the commentator’s booth for an Opening Day baseball game between the Yankees and the Orioles. As a Delaware senator, he might be expected to pull for the Orioles; as a native of Scranton, PA, he might have turned out a Phillies fan. (Hell, as VP of the nation he might be expected to pull for the dreadful Washington Nationals, in their indefensible near-billion dollar taxpayer-funded stadium.) But no, he said, he grew up a Yankees fan, which in a neighborhood evenly split between the Phils and the Orioles, made him “hated” by all the other kids.

Now, he’s already stretching the truth a little, since he would’ve become aware of baseball in the late’40s and the Orioles weren’t a major league team until 1954, when the Browns moved from St. Louis to Baltimore and changed names. But spurning the Phillies for the Yankees would have been obscene, especially in 1950 when the routinely-awful Phils made their first World Series for 35 years, only to be swept by that same team of Bronx heavyweights. Now, perhaps Biden got caught up in granddad’s excitement overseries wins in 1947 and’49, or perhaps he switched over in 1950 amid the crushing childhood disappointment of watching his local team make it almost, but not quite, to the top. But either way, the effect was for him to side with entrenched, centrally concentrated power against the innovative upstarts – and to turn a deaf ear to the criticism and scorn, however legitimate, of his peers and neighbors. If all of that doesn’t indicate a mind destined to grub for power in DC, what does?

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