Green: Biden, Putin best friends forever?

By Molly Green

I follow Vice President Joe Biden’s happenings with more than a little interest. I think… I follow Vice President Joe Biden’s happenings with more than a little interest. I think everything about him is great — his zest for Amtrak, his creepy “No dating till you’re 30!” jokes and, of course, he’s never shot a friend while duck hunting — always a plus.

But I think most of all, I love that Biden never seems to say the right thing. Whether it’s dropping a very public F-bomb or unintentionally insulting a member of the Supreme Court, it just never seems to work out for old Joe. He’s kind of like that weird but well-intentioned uncle who asks questions like, “If your brother wasn’t your brother and he was five years younger, would you date him?”

Lately, however, Biden has kept a low profile. Too low. I found myself wondering, “Where is that brilliant, unquestionably white-stripped smile I love so much? Where is that impeccably styled cloud of hair, neatly parted and trimmed like a well-maintained crop of albino crabgrass?” Apparently doing boring non-newsworthy things and generally keeping his mouth shut.

He hasn’t even updated his Twitter since Aug. 13, 2008, which is just disappointing when you consider I get updates on the status of John Boehner’s tan on a near-daily basis.

Cut off from my supply of fresh Biden, I recently found myself spending more time at Celebrity Baby Princess (, my favorite celebrity-baby blog, rather than looking up information about Biden’s quartz Omega Seamaster watch (a real classic) or researching Biden’s favorite food (Italian). These were dark days, indeed.

So you can imagine my glee when I learned Biden paid a visit to another political favorite: Russian Prime Minister “President” Vladimir Putin.

Like Biden, Putin is an all-time favorite of mine. I love Putin for his wit, his flagrant media-wh*ring and his open and unapologetic thirst for power. Another thing I love about Putin: He likes to publicly humiliate other politicians and dignitaries.

Thus, as can only be expected with these two, there was an ample supply of gaffes by Biden and audacious camera-seeking behavior from Putin. All in all, an amusing encounter for Russians and Americans alike.

The two had planned to discuss U.S.-Russian relations, specifically regarding cooperation on missile defense, inducting Russia into the World Trade Organization and expanding cooperation on regional problems like Iran and Afghanistan.

But according to CNN, Putin shocked Biden by opening up their meeting with a proposal that “his country and the United States abolish visas between them.”

Naturally, without thinking, Biden answered, “That it was a good idea,” and then — after realizing exactly what he was agreeing to — he quickly backtracked.

According to The New York Times, Biden answered, “Mr. Prime Minister, in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a real difference between being president and vice president.”

Always savvy, Putin reportedly appealed to Biden’s ego by adding, “If your reaction to my proposal is positive, then your opinion as one of the leaders of the current U.S. administration who is also influential in Congress would be very important to us.”

Though Biden ultimately did not give in to Putin’s alluring charms, this was a well-conducted move by Putin, considering that journalist James Traub described Biden as someone whose “vanity and his regard for his own gifts seem considerable even by the rarefied standards of the U.S. Senate.”

Should Biden ever gain substantial power, who knows, he might even elect Putin his Best Friend Forever and hand-craft a deluxe friendship bracelet out of hemp as a symbol of their everlasting friendship and super-nation alliance. Never underestimate the importance of an evenly braided piece of twine.

According to The New York Times, “Dmitri V. Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Mr. Putin’s suggestion was probably aimed at dominating Friday’s news cycle. He described it as a ‘successful operation.’”

So it would seem that although Biden rescinded his initial gaffe, Putin was ultimately able to perpetuate his predetermined agenda — that is, channeling the international media onto himself and Russia’s international agenda.

Given this, it’s no wonder that Russia so deftly navigates political waters and currently enjoys visa-free or simplified visa arrangements with more than 90 countries, according to CNN.