We don't know why it was necessary, but Thursday evening, Politico ran a real coup of investigative reporting, revealing that Joe Biden often says cusses. Fortunately, the story plays as a light 'n' quirky look at presidential invective, not any sort of exposé, so we're spared any moralizing. In fact, the story rather endearingly note that Biden himself is both adept at cursing and a bit prudish about it as well. Reporters Alex Thompson and Tina Sfondeles note that Biden was "sheepish" when a live mic famously caught him telling Barack Obama in 2010 that signing the Affordable Care Act into law was a "big fucking deal":

Recalled one former aide: "He thought it was kind of funny but he was like, 'Oh my gosh, my mother would kill me.'"

Honestly, that's just adorable.


But let's hear about Biden's gift for foulmouthedness, which we'll pedantically note is generally not profanity since it doesn't appear Biden blasphemes much at all — an occasional dammit, but Thompson and Sfondeles don't report any goddamns. If it isn't profaning the Lord's name, kids, it's not profanity.

"When he gets going he definitely gets going," said one White House official.

In meetings with aides, Biden's vulgarities include but are not limited too: "Fuck them," "What the fuck are we doing?" "Why the fuck isn't this happening?" "bullshit," "dammit," or just simply: "fuck," according to several current and former aides.

When pushing aides for better answers, he will sometimes say, "don't bullshit a bullshitter."

The story notes that in general, the insiders and former aides Politico talked to found Biden's unpolished moments "endearing — a part of his everyman appeal that made him president," but also that, according to one former aide, it's way less delightful when it's aimed at you. So don't fuck up, man, come on!

Thompson and Sfondeles also note that while Biden is handy with a four-letter vocabulary, he's also a bit of a fuddy-duddy when it comes to swearing around the womenfolk:

"When he cusses around women, it is always, and I mean always, followed by an immediate apology," said one source.

"He's from a different generation but if there's people that are younger than him, especially women, he feels like, 'Hey, how would I feel if I was cussing around my daughter or my granddaughter?'" said another former aide. "You don't cuss in front of women and children," the person said.

Aw Joe, you big sweetheart. A case can certainly be made that such old-fashioned delicacy is a condescending remnant of patriarchal attitudes, like calling women "the fairer sex." On the other hand, we learn that Biden's prudishness means that he "also shies away from sexual profanity. He doesn't use the f-word as a verb, for instance," which is a marked contrast from his predecessor, President pussygrabber.

Maybe Biden could become more comfortable with cusses around the ladies if he held more bullshitting sessions with VP Kamala Harris, whose

favorite swear word is "motherfuck-ah," [emphasis on the ahhhhh] according to someone who worked closely with her. She also alluded to this preference in a past interview. Her office did not respond.

The Politico piece doesn't seem to have made any particular waves, although it was picked up by the New York Post, whose story kicked off with the catchy lede, "As one might expect from a Democrat, President Biden isn't afraid to work blue," but later notes that transcripts of Richard Nixon's Watergate tapes — with cusses redacted at Nixon's insistence — "made the phrase 'expletive deleted' part of the national lexicon." Oh man, maybe that means Nixon was a Democrat!

The Daily Mail couldn't quite figure out a tone, saying in its headline that Biden "swears like a sailor in private," but suggesting that any contrast between his private and public personae is typical of everyday folks:

Presidents- they're just like us.

President Biden, ever the perfect gentleman in public, shocks those around him with his potty mouth behind closed doors, though the 78-year-old typically apologizes if women are in earshot.

Fact check: Nobody in the Politico piece claimed they were "shocked" by Biden's cusses.

But as far as we can tell, the story hasn't even sparked any pretended culture war outrage in rightwing media; neither Breitbart nor Gateway Pundit bothered covering it.

Could be the story just isn't getting much traction from an audience that's simply delighted by how hilarious it is to chant "Let's go, Brandon!" as a clever euphemism for "Fuck Joe Biden!" — at least when not shouting the unexpurgated phrase.

Politico's story did at least have one unambiguously positive spinoff: It provided a fine excuse to recall that, in the realm of balls-out filthiness, no president is ever likely to match Lyndon Baines Johnson. Politico notes that Johnson

once told a staffer "I want real loyalty. I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy's window, and say it smells like roses."

The Daily Mail, whose piece generally asterisked out all the naughty words, apparently forgot to do so when citing its Johnson examples:

LBJ, famous for consulting with aides as he sat on the toilet with the door open, is reported to have said of a Richard Nixon speech one time: 'Boys, I may not know much, but I know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.'

All of which means that we feel obliged to once again share that epic phone recording of Johnson calling up Joe Haggar, son of the menswear CEO, to order some custom-made trousers (transcript here). Yes, even if it's technically cuss-free. Is "nuts" a cuss? We don't think it's a cuss, though you couldn't say it on TV in 1964. So maybe it's a cuss.

youtu.be

During the call, Johnson belches luxuriantly, and explains that it's imperative that his wrinkleberries have room to roam:

And another thing - the crotch, down where your nuts hang - is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it's just like riding a wire fence. [...]

But, uh when I gain a little weight they cut me under there. So, leave me , you never do have much of margin there. See if you can't leave me an inch from where the zipper (burps) ends, round, under my, back to my bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need to.

Enjoy cussing up a storm, you filthy fuckaducks.

[Politico / NYP / Daily Mail / Slate / American Public Media (Johnson transcript)]

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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