Saturday, June 08, 2019

Status Quo Joe-- Notorious Liar, Is Now Seen As a Major And Easy-To-Pressure Flip-Flopper And Panderer


The Hill headline yesterday, Biden World Shell-Shocked Amid Hyde Furor, exposes the giant crack in the Biden dam, as we mentioned, happily, on Thursday. Biden's being beaten up on the right, on the left and in the center. Everyone feels betrayed by his junior league blunder, the stumbling, incoherent "U-turn on the abortion-related Hyde Amendment." His own closest allies are in turmoil and his creaky, cob-webbed campaign apparatus has been unable to handle it.
The central issue is the former vice president’s long-standing-- but now abandoned-- support for the amendment, which prohibits the use of federal money for abortion services.

One big effect of the Hyde Amendment is a significant limitation on abortions for Medicaid recipients.

Biden’s past position was a matter of public record, but it had not been a prominent issue in this campaign until the publication of an NBC News report early on Wednesday morning.

The report, by Heidi Przybyla, noted not only that Biden had supported Hyde in the past, but that his campaign reaffirmed that he continued to do so.

A firestorm of criticism from advocates of reproductive rights followed-- along with some of the sharpest attacks on Biden so far from his Democratic rivals.

When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was asked at a Wednesday evening MSNBC town hall event whether Biden was wrong, she replied firmly “yes” before going on to describe how women would be hurt by his position.

By the next day, it was clear Biden’s stance was unsustainable-- and that the controversy was taking its toll on the candidate himself.

Sources close to Biden said he was out-of-sorts as he traveled around the Atlanta area on Thursday. The former vice president, normally known for his garrulousness, was disengaged from the people around him, these sources said, a pensive mood supplanting his usual ebullience.

Behind the scenes, even some of his own team grumbled that they were uncomfortable with his position. “It was a real problem," one close ally said. "I think a lot of people felt like it wasn't going well.”

By the time he was preparing his remarks for a Democratic Party fundraising event that night, even Biden realized there was no plausible way forward beside switching his previous position.

“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the care they need,” he said Thursday night. “I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”

Outside of Biden’s orbit, Democrats were left scratching their heads about what had happened-- and pondering whether the former vice president had suffered any lasting political damage.

“I suspect that his campaign realized very quickly that this is an issue that is non-negotiable in a Democratic primary,” said Karen Finney, a senior advisor to 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Finney, who is not affiliated with any candidate in this cycle, noted that Clinton had pledged in 2016 to repeal the Hyde Amendment and that doing so had also been in the party platform that year.

The other major candidates in this year’s race are also in favor of repeal.

Referring to the Biden campaign, Finney said, “Perhaps they didn’t fully recognize the shift. This is not just in the purview of the ‘far left,’ quote-unquote, this is in the party platform.”

People close to Biden note that abortion has long been a vexing issue for him. A practicing Catholic, Biden is personally opposed to abortion. But he has emphasized that he does not believe his religious beliefs should drive legislation.

Wednesday’s NBC News report noted a recent email to supporters in which Biden said he would “refuse to impose my religious beliefs on other people,” as well as passages from his 2007 book Promises to Keep in which he described his views on abortion as “middle of the road” and acknowledged that he did not have “a right to impose my view on the rest of society.”

A source familiar with Biden's thinking said it was a complicated issue, inextricably intertwined with the former vice president’s Catholicism. “The Biden ethos is family and faith,” the source said. “Always has been, always will be.”

Such explanations beg the question of what justification-- other than cold-eyed political calculation-- could be offered for such a rapid U-turn on an issue that is fundamentally the same as it ever was.

“I think he realized very quickly that the world has changed, even since a year ago. Abortion clinics are closing, Planned Parenthood is in trouble and there aren't a lot of options for underprivileged folks. The climate has completely changed,” said another Biden ally.

The broader danger for Biden may be the way in which the change on the Hyde Amendment invites scrutiny of other parts of his past record that sit uneasily with today’s Democratic Party, where progressives are widely seen as ascendant.

Bakari Sellers, a commentator and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, who is supporting Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), described Biden’s contortions this week as a “clusterfuck.”

Sellers added, “Since he has recognized that his position for 30 years has been incorrect and he is now changing that, I think it is only fair he now does that with his position on the Iraq War and his position on the ’94 crime bill-- and the ’88 crime bill and the ’86 crime bill.”

Biden’s support for the Iraq War and draconian crime legislation has long been seen as a vulnerability.

Others on the left look askance at Biden’s attempted explanation for his flip-flop.

“The Hyde Amendment is a racist, classist and sexist law,” said progressive strategist Rebecca Katz, the founder of New Deal Strategies. “It didn’t just become terrible in 2019. It’s always been terrible.”

On the other hand, some progressives saw Biden’s shift as evidence of the left’s growing power-- and therefore something to be commended, rather than met with churlishness.

Jonathan Tasini, a veteran progressive organizer and writer in New York, sought to put Biden’s shift in a much broader context. He highlighted the changes wrought, particularly by female activists, in recent years.

“If the Women’s March had not happened, if the 'Me Too' movement had not mushroomed, I’m not sure that Joe Biden would have felt the pressure to change his position,” Tasini said. “I think progressives are well-advised to not just look at this in the stark, political-horserace calculation but in terms of, we are moving the conversation.”

Beyond that, the question of potential damage to Biden’s bid for the nomination remains open.

People in his camp argue that voters will forgive the change of tack.

But others said that, at a minimum, the former vice president would need to be crystal-clear in his pro-choice positions from now on.

“He needs to find ways to demonstrate his commitment to abortion rights whenever his flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment comes up. It's almost as bad to have two positions on an issue [as] it is to have one bad stance,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.

"His pro-choice positions? Like this one? "I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body." As Justin Charity noted yesterday in The Ringer, Biden's been around for decades but his campaign is completely built on the goodwill from his time as Obama’s vice president. Biden's fan club seems to think the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Obama, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man He made into Biden. Now, like Hillary 4 years ago, Biden is being confronted by Democratic activists while struggling to overcome his own, "inglorious record" of the previous four to five decades.

"After decades of false starts, regrettable accomplishments, terminal gaffes, and marginal polling," wrote Charity, "Biden was rejuvenated while serving as Obama’s vice president, enjoying two terms as the administration’s folk hero. It’s very recent history and, for many Democrats, and many centrists, a happy time: Biden spent eight years at Obama’s side, preaching compassion, bipartisanship, and good humor through a shockingly divisive decade. In January 2007, while vying for the Democratic nomination himself, Biden described Obama as 'the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,' a characterization as insulting to Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson as it was to Obama. By picking Biden as his running mate, Obama wrote a new chapter for Biden’s political career and agreed, with everyone else, to let it go."

New Biden For President Poster

Democrats aren’t necessarily responding favorably to Biden as a candidate in 2020. They are voting for 2010s feel-good Biden, whom even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham will defend as a “friend.” Trumps spends many news cycles attacking Biden these days; he can only imagine his administration polling as high as when Biden served in the White House.

But the 1990s haunt Biden, too. In fact, he confronts more problematic decades than any other front-runner in recent memory. There’s 1970s Biden, the young Delaware senator who courted segregationists while advancing anti-busing legislation in the Senate. On Thursday, Biden withdrew his support for the Hyde amendment, the 1976 provision that bans the application of federal funding toward most abortion services, citing recent abortion bans in Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri as cause for concern. He has irritated modern Democratic activists nonetheless. There’s 1980s Biden, the upstart who flamed out of his first Democratic primary, doomed by personal embellishments and a plagiarism scandal. There’s 1990s Biden, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, who failed Anita Hill in 1991 and who supported the 1994 crime bill, which promoted harsher sentencing guidelines for federal drug offenses and violent crimes. There’s 2000s Biden, the gaffe artist who, in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, challenged Obama and Clinton from the center. There’s 2010s Biden, whom the Obama administration simply recast as an adorable figurehead—an antidote to Dick Cheney’s legacy as a shadow president intent on increasing executive power. Now, there’s 2020 Biden, 76, who, if elected, would be the oldest president in history, a party elder addressing a great rift between generations.

Biden has put forth an ambiguous political platform in a crowded Democratic field that has so far been defined by big ideas and a socialist bent. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 77, voted for the 1994 crime bill, too-- but Sanders now advances a bold and distinct political project that largely obscures his past blemishes. Sanders is a socialist, and he’s leading a left-wing class rebellion into the 2020s. It is easy to summarize what Sanders represents, even for critics who will then go on to dispute the senator’s wisdom and fitness for the highest office. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, once a Republican, advances a meticulously progressive agenda, allowing some distinction between herself and Sanders, but no confusion about her current policy commitments.

Biden hasn’t conclusively foreclosed the previous decades of his political career. For now, Biden coasts on Obama nostalgia, marketing himself as “an Obama-Biden Democrat,” resisting the many critical efforts to bring the four previous decades of Biden’s political profile into the Biden canon. In the last week of June, the Democratic presidential primary debates will begin, and Biden’s desperate rivals may well force him to relive the 20th century and a few other low moments, including the Iraq invasion, the Patriot Act, and bankruptcy reform in the 2000s. The 2020 Democratic presidential primary will force Biden’s earlier decades into contrast with his “Obama-Biden Democrat” bona fides. He cannot coast on the good feelings which are, themselves, growing old. Uncle Joe now polls at 32 percent-- well ahead of the couple dozen rivals to the left and right of him. But Biden’s previous incarnations all polled much lower.

Labels: , , ,


At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Joe is easy? Republicans must love this information, because they just loved how they could control obamanation just by hinting at something they wanted. He' couldn't bend over quick enough to give them what they wanted.

#EasyJoe would be even better, because he ISN'T pretending to be progressive as obamanation did. By his very nature, #EasyJoe is already most of the way to being in Nazi in his personal positions. It would take much less subtle prodding to get #EasyJoe to do their bidding.

The first thing the Republicans want is for #EasyJoe to return control of the House to them so that they can continue to pack the courts with fascist judicial pretenders. #EasyJoe will deliver that once the democraptic Party ensures that #EasyJoe is the nominee.

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least after not voting for this turd, right wing war & corporate enabler, nobody will be able to dismiss me as "sexist". His entitlement's of a slightly different hue than $Hillary's, but he'll go down to defeat just as thoroughly before der GropenFuhrer. Guess he is the ideal DCCC choice!!

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look fools, joe has been a panderer his entire career. He's a '60s republican masquerading as a democrap.

but what he has always been is a terrible campaigner, incoherently inconsistent (which betrays that he lies about his values), prone to gaffes... like always, and smarmy like bill Clinton without the rhetorical skills. Where Bill talked his way into womens' pants, joe just grabs a handful or sneaks a sniff. But the similarities are palpable.

2020 will be a campaign marked by joe shooting his toes off one at a time and hitting himself in the groin often while Bernie (and others) continually make their points well. Therefore it will be up to the voters. Will the voters act as the potted plant automatons that the democrap party has trained for a half century or will they finally have enough of biden's horse shit and go for Bernie or someone else?
And even if voters do that, will the DNC follow through with their ALREADY fixed-for-joe convention performance?
And if that happens, will the voters on the left STILL show up to vote for that pos?

And if the voters wake the fuck up and the DNC cancels their "Up with Joe" show... will Bernie actually govern like the Bernie who talks, or will Bernie govern like the loyal democrap that he's always been?

And WHEN nothing changes... will anyone have the 40-years-too-late epiphany?

the only one I can answer is the last one. the answer is no.

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why you all wantin' this lying sack of shit to TELL you he supports a woman's right to choose for herself?
why you all wantin' this lying sack of shit to TELL you he supports racial equality, gender equality, LGBT equality, marriage equality, voting rights or any other goddamn thing?


you already know where he's stood on all these issues since the '70s.

what, you want him to lie to you so's you can believe he's changed?

fuck you're stupid!


Post a Comment

<< Home