Since announcing his candidacy for the Presidency, Joe Biden has obliterated whatever small respect I had for him—it was small indeed—and established himself as the official expediency candidate of the Democratic Party.
There was a time in 2016 when I had resolved that if Biden threw his hat in the ring, I would hold my nose and vote for him. He was less offensive to my ethical values and priorities than Donald Trump— few would not be—and less cynical, manipulative and untrustworthy than Hillary Clinton (see interjected comment above.)
If he had been the Democratic nominee, would I have still concluded, as I did late in the campaign, that the Democratic Party was as unsupportable as an institution as Trump was as an individual, being so corrupt that it was increasingly willing to abandon core American rights and principles in its pursuit of power? I wonder. As it has turned out, I was more right than I knew. Now Joe is proving it, and leading Democrats to prove it as well.
Astoundingly, he is the runaway leader in all polls of the contenders for the nomination, though not all are really “contenders.” In part this is the predictable consequence of being Vice President for 8 years: the order of the top candidates tracks almost exactly with the national awareness of who the candidates are, with the exception of Elizabeth Warren, and thank God for that. Most Americans still aren’t paying close attention to Presidential politics, meaning that they can’t pronounce Buttigieg, don’t know that he’s gay, couldn’t pick Amy Klobuchar out of a line-up, and get Cory Booker confused with Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Another reason Biden may be ahead is that he’s the only recognizable candidate who doesn’t sound like he’s running for President of Venezuela, although he has also made it crystal clear that if sounding like a socialist is what it tales to get the nomination, he’ll sound like a socialist.
In other words, Biden displays the exact opposite of what is arguably Donald Trump’s best trait. The President is consistent in presenting himself as who is is, and takes positions that many disagree with, perhaps violently. In contrast, if Joe Biden has any integrity at all at this point in his career, please point me to it. More disturbingly, no progressive who supports Biden can plausibly regards integrity as an important ethical virtue (It may be the most important ethical virtue, especially for leaders.)
Listen to this classic late stage Trump Derangement rant that Joe was confronted with by a woman at a campaign stop:
“He won the election by 70,000 votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, he won it because he had help by the Russians, he refuses to do anything to stop that, he’s failing in carrying out the most basic function to uphold the Constitution, he is not defending our national security, he has no interest in doing it, I don’t want to live in a country run by Vladimir Putin, I don’t think anybody in the country should want that, I don’t understand why millions of people don’t get that message, and I think every candidate needs to pound that message home again and again and again. He is an illegitimate president in my mind. That’s it. I think all the talk about impeachment and what the Democrats should do, that’s fine, it’s theoretical at this point. Let them investigate, let them subpoena, let them go to the Supreme Court, he’s illegitimate. and my biggest fear is that he’s going to do it again with the help of Vlad, his best pal, and we’re going to be stuck for six more years of this guy. And that is terrifying. It’s terrifying.”
Now, the repeated Big Lie that Trump is an “illegitimate President” is and has always been unsupportable, as are the claims that Russian interference changed the election results, that Trump was somehow supposed to stop whatever it was the Russians were doing (that was President Obama’s job, which he did not do), that Putin is Trump’s “pal,” or that Putin runs the country. The woman’s unhinged statements were on the same level (but worse) as the woman who told John McCain during the 2008 campaign that Barack Obama wasn’t an American. McCain famously told her she was wrong. What did Joe Biden say?
“Would you be my vice presidential candidate? Folks, look, I absolutely agree…You’re absolutely right, and now that they have an investigation of the investigators who are investigating whether or not Vladimir Putin and the Russians engaged in trying to affect our elections, give me a break. Gosh almighty.”
This is apparently what Joe Biden has become, or is willing to be to win the Presidency. The statement is, characteristically, incoherent, but also supportive of the distrust in American institutions his party and “the resistance” has been recklessly encouraging since 2016 while more recently endorsing the denial by the Trump Deranged of the unequivocal conclusions of the Mueller investigation.
Endorsing and seconding a lie is lying, of course.
Similarly, anyone supporting Biden has to maintain a similar ethics-free mindset. The party that has made a fetish out #MeToo currently favors a Presidential candidate who is a serial and shameless sexual harasser. The party of the young is tilting toward a 76-year-old man who looks and sounds every inch of it. The progressives who routinely encourage cultural bans of athletes, artists and others who uttered, wrote or tweeted politically incorrect or racially insensitive statements years or decades ago are willing to give a pass to a man who said, regarding Barack Obama, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Yeah, I remember thinking, when I first watched Obama, “Wow! This is the very first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean!”
If any conservative or Republican has said this right up to yesterday, he or she would be branded a racist from D.C. to Santa Monica. Then there was this comment to the The Washington Post in 2007, discussing the poor performance of D.C. schools:
“There’s less than 1 percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington (D.C)? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with”
What does Biden really think? Does he really think? Apparently it doesn’t matter, either to him or his supporters. Surveying the discouraging field of contenders for the 2019 Democratic nomination, those who would rather have a military coup than endure another term of Donald Trump are willing to back anyone who seems to have a chance of defeating him, even if he should have already disqualified himself in word and deed, and even if they have to defy their own supposed core values in order to accept him.
I think my favorite part of the Biden and progressive hypocrisy is that he has coined a campaign slogan, “I want to restore the soul of this country,” that essentially means, “Make America great again.”
It is also ironic that in order to choose Biden to restore the country;s soul, progressives have to abandon theirs.