Joe Biden is old. He hugs people. He thinks China is and isn’t a challenge for America.
He is for and against taxpayers financing abortion. He was once against busing for desegregation of blacks and whites. Anita Hill says he did not give her a fair chance to destroy Clarence Thomas.
He hasn’t shown much oomph as a candidate for president. He came out with an upside-down climate change plan. The polls like him.
The polls may quit liking him, of course, and commentators discuss that as much as his character or policy ideas. They all agree he has name recognition working for him and aren’t sure stances of the past will overwhelm the present.
He ran for president twice before, once fleeing in embarrassment because of plagiarism and other deceptions, and was President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years, demonstrating a talent seldom mentioned. Obama did not know how to negotiate. He did.
Biden’s foremost attribute is that he appears to be sane. That differentiates him from most of the rest of the Democratic candidates who want to make everything free, give us a debt crisis and tax the rich until they are eligible for Kamala Harris’s universal income. The Dems want to control our lives because we are all stupid and they aren’t except morning, noon and night.
The big joke the other day was Sen. Bernie Sanders saying that socialism sets people free when in fact it does the opposite and often exterminates them. Biden initially wasn’t having any of this but was then pushed on the Green New Deal and came up with a partly plagiarized or maybe just borrowed plan that includes his ambition to end President Donald Trump’s incredibly uplifting tax reform. The next steps would be to raise taxes by $1.7 trillion, punish everyone and disregard reality until all CO2 emissions are gone by 2050.
He does at least get it that nuclear power would be necessary and that immediate dividends mean no dividends. Without understanding how to make it happen, he does understand that what the rest of the world does is everything. Consider that one mathematically inclined prophet says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s totalitarian dream could cost as much as $93 trillion. Her rewriting of America would be over in 10 to 12 years and the means to restore a livable way of things would be unavailable.
Biden does say what he believes, the problem being that he believes different things from day to day as the left presses ever harder. For four decades he was against people being forced to pay taxes to support a woman’s right to kill fetuses.
Then he reaffirmed he stuck by that — for many it is a matter of conscience — and quickly said he didn’t. Goodbye, conscience. He also thought China was nothing to worry about, but then, feedback and facts getting in the way this time, altered his understanding.
The extreme left seems more and more to be having its way with him, and he could see bad things happen if he loses contact with Americans who think old norms still have value, who see political correctness as dangerous distortions of actuality, who aren’t sure halos always accompany identity politics and view moderation as common sense.
He’d be a pretty ancient president if elected, and it’s not prejudice to say that campaign laxity and confusion could worry people as much as a concern that he will keep conforming to the moment. One thing I will never forget about him, though, is how he destroyed the very smart Paul Ryan in a debate in the 2012 election campaign.
At his best, Biden is — or was — nothing to sneeze at.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. © 2019 Tribune Content Agency.