There’s a lot that’s frustrating about the enormous horde of presidential candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in 2020: a too-crowded field, campaigns that shouldn’t have been launched in the first place (looking at you, Mayor Bill de Blasio), weird culture essays about Game of Thrones, the list goes on. But a particularly irritating phenomenon that persists, despite the dire straits the country currently finds itself in, is the existence of meandering, utterly soft-hitting magazine profiles of candidates and their families. Of course, it’s essential that tough, fair articles be written about presidential hopefuls. Far less essential are long, languid looks into the comfortable home lives of established politicos like Joe and Jill Biden, which is exactly what Vogue published today.
Accompanied by meticulously styled Annie Leibovitz photographs, the profile paints a pastel portrait of Dr. Jill Biden, an English professor and the wife of former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden. But of course, you knew about her credentials already. What this profile thinks you need to know is that Jill would make a wonderful (if hesitant) first lady, because she is very, very nice. Also, she wears cashmere and has a beach house in Delaware. And aren’t her grandchildren just the cutest?
“Jill Biden is a hugger,” Vogue contributing editor Jonathan Van Meter writes. “In fact, as I am leaving the house on Friday evening so that she can spend time with her grandkids, I keep getting drawn into conversations as I walk through the rooms saying goodbye to everyone, and Jill hugs me goodbye four times.” Wow, cue applause from the audience.
Jill Biden also appears to be a consistently positive person, which is another way of saying she knows exactly how to stay on-message, despite her unassuming personality. What’s interesting about this profile is that it skates over the numerous valid objections raised about a Joe Biden presidency—his botching of the Anita Hill hearings, his reluctance to commit to school desegregation in the ’70s, the damage done by the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, his habit of touching women of all ages inappropriately—and spends way more time trying to convince readers that Jill and Joe are simply kind souls under siege.
“Because Joe is the front-runner he’s going to be attacked from now until the primaries and caucuses,” Jill Biden told Van Meter. “I don’t know that you can ever be ready for it. I think Joe and I are used to the criticism, maybe, but I’m hoping that they don’t criticize my kids. I hope that people are decent about that. I know Joe will be decent. He will not be bad-mouthing other Democrats.” Here, Jill is regurgitating the most disappointing, insufficient and ultimately predictable talking points from entrenched Democrats in the age of Trump.
In the eyes of many liberals and Baby Boomers alike, the worst thing a person can do is be rude. Pretty much everyone else understands that there are things way more terrifying than hurt feelings.