A couple of months ago I told y’all that since I gave up bandwagons for Lent, I wasn’t planning on jumping on any anytime soon. That still holds true, there are too many candidates out there, with too much to say. At this point, I’m not panning on even centering on just a few candidates until after at least the 3rd debate, I want to see how they perform and interact with each other. So, this artile is in no way an endorsement, simply observations as to what I’ve seen, and feel, so far today.
The wait is finally over, Joe Biden is in. Mercifully, this means that the media can finally cease in trying to gin up any kind of actual suspense as to whether or not Biden would finally jump in. Sweet Jesus, this whole thing was a worse kept secret than a Donald Trump affair. Any of them! But the dynamic of the Democratic primaries changed today, as did Trump’s behavior towards running in 2020, simply because there is a fundamental difference in knowing that Biden is running, and actually seeing Joe Biden running.
Forget Biden’s online announcement video, effective or not, that’s not what I’m talking about. Did anybody see the video of Uncle Joe stopping in at that pizza parlor to pick up a couple of pies and diet Pepsi’s to go? For those of you who did, be honest now, is there a single one of you who didn’t smile, and fondly say to yourself, “Ah, the good old days of politics!”
Because that’s what Je Biden does, and is. He’s as comfy as an old pair of slippers. If you’re younger than 50, you grew up with the name “Biden” being a semi household word whenever politics came up. With Biden, what you see is what you get, and many people out there have a great fondness for what they see. When the hot mic caught Biden muttering “This is a big fucking deal” in President Obama’s ear at the ACA signing, who didn’t chuckle. It had the same salacious thrill of an 8 year old hearing his favorite uncle tell his father, “So I told him to go and fuck himself” over the grill in the backyard.
Will Biden win? Can he win? I sure as hell don’t know, and neither does anybody else. But whatever the outcome, Biden adds a new, and welcome dynamic to the race. Biden joins Bernie Sanders in the “old white guy” lane. But even there the difference is striking. Bernie looks and sounds like the grandfather that tells you to “Get offa the lawn kid!”, while Biden looks and comes off like the favorite uncle who tells you to “Pull on my finger.” You love him, even though you know that your parents wish he’d grow up, because he’s a bad influence on you.
Biden’s presence is going to improve the Democratic field, and not just for Democrats. Biden is a comforting presence, a “return to normalcy” in politics in the “American carnage” era of Trump. It just draws a stark contrast between the personalities and policies of the two parties. Like Trump, it can be hard to shut Biden up, but unlike Trump, Biden speaks in complete, coherent sentences, and has a sense of humor. His smile is contagious. Has anyone ever actually seen Donald Trump smile? Anybody? The only time that I can ever remember seeing Trump smile was on inauguration night, at the ball, when he was dancing with a young female military officer who wasn’t his wife. He was smiling like a mofo then, you bet.
But there is another way in which Biden can hel the entire Democratic field all by himself, and make the Republicans miserable in the process. Biden, alone in the crowded field, has the seniority, experience, gravitas, and legislative record to start going toe to toe with Der Gropinfuror immediately, and he already did. His recitation of Trump’s unforgivable comments after Charlottesville not only graphically reminded everyone of the cowardly, racist toadying attitude of Trump towards neo Nazi’s and Klansmen, it was also an unwelcome reminder to the entire country of the craven and cowardly response of almost every sitting GOP member of congress. And for anybody who thinks that a cowardly poltroon like Trump is in the same mental, or personality ring with Biden politically, I only ask that you view the tape of the Vice Presidential debate, when Biden dismantled veteran political wunderkind Paul Ryan. Even more appropriate may be the first debate, against lightweight Caribou barbie. Let the twitter flae wars begin. And even there Biden is already setting the parameters. When asked today about Trump calling him “Sleepy Joe” on Twitter, Biden just laughed and said, “Everybody knows who Donald Trump is.” That kind of callous disregard is going to get under Trump’s skin, and pronto.
The problem with a 40+ year career in politics is that it brings 40+ years of baggage with it. Can Biden outrun his own record? I have no idea. But I do know one thing. I only hope that his 19 other challengers respectfully take him to task on any legitimate issue they feel he’s weak on. Not only will it give all of the voters the most complete information to use in making a choice, but if Biden survives to become the nominee, every issue that they bring up is one more asked and asnwered that Trump can’t spring on him in the general election.
The question of the hour is whether or not Biden can appeal to the younger, farther left component of the newly revitalized Democratic base. That is a legitimate concern, and one that could spell doom for his candidacy. Right or wrong, for better or worse, Biden represents the “establishment” of the Democratic party, something young voters want to move away from. I can only remind everyone of this. In November of 2017, following the tsunami of “young blood” to the House on the Democratic side, there was 2 months of uncertainty over the possible future of Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House. Young members swore they wouldn’t vote for her, change was needed. But when the rubber hit the road there was nobody with the experience, political savvy, or chops to go mano a mano with Trump, so a power sharing deal was reached. I could see that as a path forward here if Biden starts to pull away, especially consideration to youth and gender going into his selection of a running mate.
One last thing here. Even if Biden doesn’t make it to the finish line, he has the potential to make a massive difference in the outcome of 2020. Biden’s strongest selling point, at least it’s pitched as such, is his ability to win back the “rust belt” white, blue collar voters that went for Obama and him in 2008 and 2012, and then switched over to Trump. This is Trump’s soft underbelly. He stands for the dignity, compassion, and integrity of politics, everything Trump is most certainly not. If Biden falls in the primaries, but is an active, vocal, and enthusiastic supporter of the eventual winner of the primaries, his popularity with those voters, and the weight that his vouching for the candidate would carry, could easily leach enough “soft” support from the “What the hell do you have to lise” crowd to sink Trump once and for all.
So, there ya go. I have tried to delve into some of both the strengths and weaknesses of biden as a candidate in the upcoming primaries. But just from what I’ve seen so far today, I think that the actual physical presence of Biden in the 2020 Democratic field basically changed the landscape, so I just wanted to throw my thoughts out there. Sayonara.
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