A Joe Biden 2020 Campaign Would Be the Most Divisive Thing for the Democratic Field
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By Charles P Pierce
I am tempted—so very tempted—to use the apocryphal story of the kid who confronts Shoeless Joe Jackson with regard to Joe Biden’s latest pronouncement from the mount, but I refuse to do so, because we do not wholly descend into cliché this far in advance of a presidential election. Still, what Biden’s is musing about, as reported in The New York Times over the weekend, is such a terrible idea that it remains worthy of comment.
Joe Biden has run for president twice before and he was a genuinely terrible candidate both times. He found his groove—and his half-ironic, half-campy fame—only as Barack Obama’s sidekick. In a time in which Hillary Rodham Clinton is being told to disappear because she lost twice, the idea that important parts of the Democratic Party are thinking about nominating Biden is bound to be notable for its obvious hypocrisy. Someday, someone will have to write a long monograph on why the Democrats insist on running retreads, over and over again, when they almost always lose. Bob Kerrey in Nebraska. Phil Bredesen in Tennessee. The list is long and distinguished.
Moreover, Biden has a track record that puts him on the wrong side of every issue that currently energizes his political party, and gets all up in the grills of the party’s most loyal base of activists. His sponsorship of a grotesque bankruptcy bill has not been forgotten by Democratic voters charged up by the notion of breaking the plutocracy. (It was in her opposition to that bill that most of the country first heard of a Harvard law school professor named Elizabeth Warren.) African-American and minority voters will surely beat him over the head with his support for the truly awful crime bill proposed by President Bill Clinton. Women will remember him for turtling on Anita Hill. It’s hard to imagine a presidential candidate who’s a worse fit for the party that just swept all those new members into the House of Representatives.
January 8, 2019 at 12:13 PM #9805bazukhovParticipant
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Politics is about making deals and compromises. Almost all of which are likely to spur criticism. Joe’s been around a long time and has made a lot of deals.
What’s needed is someone who hasn’t been around long enough to make a lot of unsavory (in the eyes of the critics) deals.
Shorter baggage train = fewer deals = less criticism.
Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites
January 8, 2019 at 12:19 PM #9807
January 8, 2019 at 12:37 PM #9816
January 8, 2019 at 12:47 PM #9821game meatParticipant
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Who does he even appeal to this day and age? The left won’t vote for a bankster shill. The identitarians won’t vote for an old white guy, especially one with the kind of past he has. The pragmatists want someone younger and prettier. That leaves more conservative Reagan Democrats, and there just aren’t enough of those guys left to matter.
January 8, 2019 at 12:55 PM #9826ZimInSeattleParticipant
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We already have a favorite old guy.
"Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime" - Aristotle "The more I see of the moneyed peoples, the more I understand the guillotine" - George Bernard Shaw "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable" - JFK "If wars can be started by lies, they can be stopped by truth." ~ Julian Assange #SurviveAndRevolt
January 8, 2019 at 1:23 PM #9833
January 8, 2019 at 1:52 PM #9839Jim LaneParticipant
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On a website that JPR rules don’t allow me to name, there was a post similar to this one, only it was attacking Bernie Sanders as “divisive”. I responded that the Democratic Party is divided on substantive policy issues, not personalities. I said that Bernie could vanish in a puff of smoke and there would still be 2020 contenders setting forth their differing views.
The same is true of Biden. He and Bernie could both vanish (or, more realistically, decide not to run) and there would still be internal disagreements. There is no candidate in sight — not Bernie, not Biden, not anyone else — who, in the primaries, would seamlessly unite the millions of people who voted for Bernie and the millions who voted for Clinton.
People on both sides of the centrist-versus-progressive divide should just get used to the electoral realities: There are millions of voters on the other side. For each of those points of view, there will be at least one candidate championing it. The existence of such disagreement is not a betrayal of principles. It’s democracy in action.
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