Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Beware: The Joe Biden Return To Normalcy


Biden has started-- and aborted-- four runs for president in the past. His brand of Republican-lite centrism is worshipped Inside the Beltway. Outside? Not so much. He never polled outside single digits-- low single digits. Early Monday, Atlantic columnist Edward-Isaac Dovere asserted that as Biden contemplates a 2020 run, he is focused on whether primary voters will support a centrist septuagenarian. He's riding very high in the polls right now-- but the overwhelming majority of people who back him don't know his sexist, racist corporate, pro-war record. And if he runs, they'll find out who the real Joe Biden is. Most of the low-info voters selecting him in polls, just see him as a stand-in for Obama-- and someone who can beat Trump.

Biden hasn't announced yet... but he's running. "Top positions for a campaign," wrote Dovere, "have been sketched out. Donor outreach has accelerated, with Biden himself telling staff at some events to write down the names of people who say they’re eager to help. A list of potential 'day-one endorsers' among elected officials has been prepared. Basic staff outreach is happening. Biden has even joked to people that he’s upped his daily workout to get in shape." Biden has told rich people he's sucking up to that "I’m 70 percent there, but I’m not all the way there."
That same 70 percent line has been circulating among Biden allies for weeks: This looks like it’s happening, but don’t write off the 30 percent chance that it doesn’t. In that time, people who’ve spoken to Biden and those around him say, he is still anguishing over both whether there’s a path to victory and whether running is the right thing to do for those closest to him, knowing that his record would be attacked and sensitive questions about his family would be aired in public.

...A Sanders candidacy would likely encourage Biden to run because he doesn’t agree with the Vermont senator’s policies and thinks they’re losing politics.

In a primary, Biden and his advisers believe, all those left-tilting candidates would divide support and leave him with a sizable number of more moderate voters.

“We’ve got a little bit of our own lane. We just need to go own it,” said a third person who’s been in touch with Biden’s top aides. “He’s well aware that this isn’t going to be easy, he’s going to have to fight for it, but I don’t think he’s viewing this thing through the lens of matching up against any one candidate.”

In late January, Biden’s aides made this case in talking points they circulated to allies who were being asked about his plans. “Joe Biden is someone who can reassert what our core values are. He can answer the big questions facing this country with real moral authority,” reads one section.

The campaign manager, if there is a campaign, would be Greg Schultz, Biden’s longtime political director and currently the head of his American Possibilities PAC. The communications director would be Kate Bedingfield, his last communications director at the White House. Steve Ricchetti, his chief of staff at the White House, who’s stayed with him over the past two years, will serve in a similar role for the campaign, assisted by the longtime political consultant Mike Donilon.

Ricchetti and Donilon have told people that they are now as close as they can get without having the final word from Biden. One major focus: how to quickly build a base of small-dollar donors, which is of particular concern because Biden has always struggled with fundraising and doesn’t have a large existing email list.

...[B]ig questions remain.

Among the biggest: How would he answer for his role in the Anita Hill hearings; for backing the 1994 Crime Bill, with harsh sentencing guidelines; and for supporting corporate-tilting financial legislation during his decades representing Delaware in the Senate? Still, Biden and his team look at the midterm results and think they’re proof that this may be more of a moment for him than people realize. More people won elections in November talking about protecting Obamacare, for example, than calling for Medicare for All.

Then there’s the Obama endorsement question. The two remain friends and speak on the phone. Even as the former president counseled other Democrats looking at presidential runs, he has generally avoided the topic of 2020 with Biden, and Biden hasn’t brought it up.

But if Biden runs, he’ll be running in part on the Obama-Biden record, which would raise the question of an endorsement. If Obama did endorse or even just strategically praised his former VP, he’d be putting his thumb on the scale in a way that backfired in 2016, when he did it for Clinton. Obama advisers stress that the former president thinks highly of Biden. But they deflected the question of whether this admiration would lead to an endorsement by saying they didn’t want to get ahead of the former vice president’s decision-making process.

Biden, meanwhile, is not assuming he’d get an endorsement, especially with Obama publicly and privately stressing that he does not feel like he should be the one deciding the future direction of the party.

Biden’s team has also been weighing how, if he runs, he’ll position himself within the field: as a statesman and party elder, but eager to avoid any of the inevitability that happened with Clinton. He would be attempting to run a first-among-equals campaign, which Biden allies think might be helped by all those in the Democratic chattering class who doubt he could pull it off in a changed party and political environment.

The people who believe in a Biden candidacy think it begins with his working- and middle-class white base. He also has African American support he earned from being part of Obama’s team, hero status within the LGBT community for jumping out front in support of gay marriage, and a connection to many young people nostalgic for the presidency they grew up with.
Warren G. Harding ran on many of the same premises that make a "compelling" case for Biden. Harding's 1920 campaign theme was "A Return to Normalcy," a reference to what life was like before the disruption of the Great War (World War I). Here's how Harding made his case: "America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality." Biden can be expected to make a similar case after the disruption of Trump.

Harding was elected in 1920 and a series of scandals-- both political (Tea Pot Dome being the worst pre-Trump scandal) and personal (mistresses galore). He appointed pedatory bankster Andrew Mellon Treasury Secretary and Mellon immediately set out to cut taxes for the rich and for corporations. Like Trump, Harding was a moron who didn't understand policy and, also like Trump, had the attention span of a gnat. He explained to a friend that "I can't make a damn thing out of this tax problem. I listen to one side, and they seem right, and then-- God!-- I talk to the other side, and they seem just as right." Eventually Harding appeared before the Senate himself and asked them to abolish the Excess Profits Tax in corporations while not giving a bonus to soldiers who fought in WWI. Congress passed the veterans bonus bill anyway but Harding vetoed it and his veto was narrowly sustained. His tariff bill was a feeding frenzy for corrupt lobbyists and equally corrupt politicians and eventually a disaster in international trade. At Mellon's insistence, Harding proposed bringing down the top marginal tax rate from 73% to 25%. And, also like Trump, Harding was an anti-union fanatic and pushed massive deregulation of business. His economic policies caused a quickie boost for the economy that eventually led to the Great Depression.

The 1922 midterms were a disaster for the GOP because of Harding's pro-business/pro-rich people policies. The Republicans lost a mind-boggling 82 seats in the House and 8 Senate seats. He died (age 57) a few months later. He is widely considered one of the 3 worst presidents in history. If Biden is elected I'll predict right now that he will be an even worse, though similar, president than Harding.

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At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Biden nomination will ensure that the democraps don't get my vote. I'm tired of the democraps remaining in the collapsed condition they assumed once they pushed Nixon to resign (with a LOT of GOP assistance), which is the only reason Carter won in 1976. This was the beginning of corporatist rule, and just look around at the sorry state of the nation under their control.

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most people on the left argue that President Obama's was a corporatist. However, DWT has never ever even mildly critiqued President Obama.

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and to expand on 6:45:
"if Biden runs, he’ll be running in part on the Obama-Biden record"

That record sucks. And yes, DWT has almost totally given obamanation a pass.

After 2008, bankers who committed fraud (securities, mortgage, foreclosure... not forgetting wells fargo) needed to be put in prison. even fucking Reagan and bush did that. obamanation and the bank lawyer/lobbyist he made AD refused. They did find fraud existed and levied fines. But evidently no human being committed any fraud because no human being was prosecuted.

That, alone, is plenty to earn obamanation "worst democrap president ever" status. But he did much, much more (less).

refused to prosecute torture -- making him equal in guilt to cheney/Rumsfeld...
expanded the extrajudicial and international law violating drone murder regime by orderS of magnitude.
deported more immigrants than anyone until trump

$hillbillary would have been worse than obamanation
biden will be worse than obamanation WAS and worse than $hillbillary would have been.

but that's the vector voters have been riding since 1980, with the full support and urging of DWT. If the money (DNC) make biden their guy, DWT will encourage, full throated, that we all hold our nose and vote for him.

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If nominated, I'd vote for him if it meant that the final nail would be hammered in the coffin of the Clinton/Obama/Biden Democratic party.


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