Joe's been making himself scarcer than Mitt Romney since the election. I finally caught up with him at his favorite drinking hole, the airport bar at Des Moines International.
"It's simple," he said. "Obama got re-elected, but we still have the House of Representatives. To us, that means the American people want him to be President, but they also want us to make sure he never accomplishes anything."
But Joe, the Republicans are taking it to extremes. They wouldn't even follow their own Speaker when he suggested raising taxes on people making over a million dollars a year.
"And they were absolutely right to do so. People making over a million a year are the backbone of the American economy."
They'd only get taxed 4% more than the next bracket. And it's a marginal rate, so they'd only get taxed that much more on income over a million bucks. So if a guy made one million, ten thousand dollars, he'd actually pay only $400 more under the plan you guys rejected. How does that make these people the backbone of the economy? I just spent $400 bucks on a new TV.
"When a poor slob like you spends money, it doesn't help anybody. When a millionaire spends money, he's a job creator."
How does that work?
"Don't pester me for details. Most of these guys just hand the money to their butlers and say 'Go out and stimulate the economy.' People in their position in life know how to delegate."
Joe, I know it's more or less your job not to make any sense, but you sound like you're not just going off the fiscal cliff. You're going off the deep end.
Joe turned his red-rimmed eyes to me. He looked like he'd aged ten years since November. "I know," he croaked. "We all are. It's Obama. We're all afraid he's going to get a third term."
Relax, Joe. The Constitution says he can't run again.
"I know what the Constitution says!" Joe snapped. "We're just afraid it won't matter. Frankly, Obama scares the crap out of us. The guy has already won twice, even though his middle name is Hussein, his last name rhymes with Osama and he's black! Plus, he's a college professor. It's a bedrock American belief that a guy with a couple drinks in him at the country club or the lady fishing next to you on the pier can solve any complicated national problem better than any intellectual. But Obama wins anyway! Last time we had a billion dollars, a candidate who was better looking than Warren Buffet's portfolio and an economy that was sputtering worse than an NBA player looking at a paternity test and he beat us like a bathroom rug! The ballast in our boxer shorts is still aching, if you know what I mean."
Yeah, I remember that.
"So going over the cliff is the best thing for this great nation, as long as we make sure Obama's standing at the bottom of it."
But what if John Boehner's the one who gets squashed? Are the Republicans going to jump off a cliff then?
"We'd seriously think about it. Why do you think I'm in Iowa? There's not a cliff in the whole state."