Maddow Guest Harris-Lacewell Suggests 'Crazy Uncle' Biden Spouts Off and Obama Pretends to Disagree

Hope and change, meet business as usual.

Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell unveiled this curious possible strategy for Democrats heading into the midterms when she appeared on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show Sept. 8 --

MADDOW: One last last question on the specifics here. The president himself is planning to be very visible from all accounts, multiple campaign events, the first planned press conference in a long while. Is he still the Democrats' best campaign asset or do Democrats need somebody else out there who can throw sharper barbs than a sitting president is really allowed to?

Followed by Harris-Lacewell responding, as if hearing the question from Maddow for the first time --

HARRIS-LACEWELL: You know, look, I love to see President Obama out there. He loves giving the speeches, he's a great campaigner, we know that. But I have to say, one of the reasons I was a big supporter of Joe Biden for the vice presidential position is because I always thought that Biden could provide a real asset in a moment like this. Look, don't get me wrong but Joe Biden has a sort of a reputation for being Crazy Joe and one of the best things about your crazy uncle at a family reunion is that he says the one completely honest thing that everybody's thinking, that none of the people with an actual filter will in fact say.

So, I'm a big fan of kind of deploying the Crazy Uncle Joe strategy. Send Vice President Biden out there, let him kind of get tough, let him say things that are somewhat outrageous and then, you know, let President Obama do his typical strategy of reaching across the aisle and, you know, he'll look and say oh come on, Joe, that may have gone too far. But I'm a big fan of, let's get Crazy Joe out there.

MADDOW (beaming with approval, as if for the first time she's heard this): The Crazy Uncle Joe strategy, TM, Melissa Harris-Lacewell.

HARRIS-LACEWELL: Why not?! (laughs)

MADDOW: Very good. I want the T-shirt franchise on that!

What the heck, Harris-Lacewell guffaws, oblivious to the inherent dishonesty of her suggestion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this the sort of thing Obama vowed to campaign against, back when a grasping, credulous portion of the electorate considered him an agent of genuine change? 

In other words, Biden could act as ventriloquist dummy, saying what Obama seemingly can't but actually is. Why not? (slap knee here) No one will see through that.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts