After CNN started freaking out that polls were showing a summer of riots and looting taking a toll on its favored candidate’s chances, former Vice President Joe Biden was forced Monday to exit his basement bunker for a quick jaunt to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The topic was billed as a public safety and law enforcement speech but devolved into baseless attacks and partisan pablum.

“This is a sitting president of the United States of America; he's supposed to be protecting this country, but instead, he's rooting for chaos and violence. The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America. So now he's trying to scare America.”

Trump is trying to protect America, Joe. It’s your Democrat mayors and governors who night after night watch their cities burn rather than ask for help.

It has gotten so bad that it has now gone from cynical to plausible that mayors such as Ted Wheeler in Portland, Oregon, and others are purposefully allowing the nights of fire hoping to goad Trump into federalizing the National Guard via the Insurrection Act, all so they can then stand in front of the cameras and proclaim that he’s a fascist dictator trampling on the Constitution.

And then there’s the I’m-just-harmless-Uncle-Joe, no-need-to-worry shtick: “You know me, you know my heart, you know my story, my family story. Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

You’re right, Joe. You don’t look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters. And that’s the problem. How you look hides what you really are. The city of Troy thought that horse the Greeks left behind was pretty good looking too.

If by chance you pull off this little charade, you will be less than two years shy of 80 years old on Inauguration Day — 15 years older than Franklin Roosevelt was when he died in his fourth term, eight years older than Ronald Reagan on his second Inauguration Day and four years older than Donald Trump taking his second oath of office should he win reelection.

In any other time, you’d be toast. In fact, you already have been, haven’t you? Not once but twice.

There was that 1988 campaign that Neena Satija of The Washington Post wrote about when you started this “third time's a charm” campaign in June 2019:

“On Sept. 23, 1987, Joe Biden stood before a crowd of reporters and ended his first presidential campaign amid questions about a value he’d worked hard to convince voters he had: authenticity.

"The collapse had begun 11 days earlier, with news that Biden had lifted phrases and mannerisms from a British Labour Party politician while making closing remarks at a debate. Examples soon surfaced of Biden using material from other politicians without attribution, and he acknowledged he had been accused of plagiarism in law school. To make matters worse, a video emerged of Biden exaggerating his academic record while speaking angrily to a voter in New Hampshire.”

Then there was your second bite at the apple, when in 2008, even though you were still a spry 65 years old, you couldn’t even convince enough Iowa Democrats to give you better than a fifth-place finish in their famed caucus.

But you may have finally found your stride after four years of bombastic tweets, unforgivable abuses of the English language and a constant barrage of “orange man bad," “Trump the tyrant” and “Putin’s puppet” from a Democrat-aligned national press corps. There may be just enough “Trump hurt my feelings” sheep to put you over the top. The little lambs don’t have a clue that Robert Gates, defense secretary under both Republican and Democrat presidents, wrote of you being “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

In your little outing to Pittsburgh, you didn’t even bother to mention antifa, let alone condemn it. Nor did you explain that while Minneapolis was burning, your campaign staff and your running mate Kamala Harris were either donating to or soliciting dollars to post bail for those arrested during said burning.

And enough with the idea that Trump is dividing America — there is only one thing dividing this country today, and that’s a once decent political party selling its soul to the far left for political expediency.

But it’s not all negative, Joe. On the positive side, your latest slogan, “Build back better,” does have a ring to it.

You just better hope that the public doesn’t realize that it’s really just a big box of bovine excrement.

GEOFF CALDWELL lives in Joplin. He can be reached at gc@caldwellscorner.com.