“He may be a likable white man, but [Joe Biden’s] performance on the trail doesn’t inspire confidence.” The words of a New York Times columnist in an opinion editorial released Monday.
The Democratic primary front runner was savaged by Michelle Goldberg, a staff columnist at the paper.
“Seeing Biden on the stump often feels like watching an actor who can’t quite remember his lines. Even if you don’t support him, it’s hard not to feel anxious on his behalf,” Goldberg wrote.
Her particular ire rested on the former Vice President’s flip-flopping on abortion. Particularly the Hyde Amendment:
It was just a couple of weeks after he’d reversed his longtime support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion. One of the moderators asked him what he’d say to pro-choice voters who have concerns about his mixed record on the issue.
This was part of his answer: “The fact of the matter is that we’re in a situation where mortality rate for poor women and black women, here in this state, 26.5 percent of the, 24, 25.6 people, who of 100,000 who need, who end up dying as a consequence of birth, it’s absolutely absurd.” (He was referring to South Carolina’s maternal mortality rate, which is 26.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 births.)
Goldberg also takes issue with Biden’s style, which she says is like President Trump’s, but weaker:
Donald Trump, of course, also speaks in gibberish, but with a bombastic unearned confidence; rather than flailing around for the right figure he makes one up. Biden, by contrast, was just shaky.
Finally, Goldberg takes aim at the amount of vocal support Biden appears to command:
At the convention, several groups of chanting supporters marched their candidates into the auditorium. On Saturday morning, Kamala Harris came down an escalator accompanied by a cheering throng and a high school drum line. Later, boisterous backers of Cory Booker streamed in behind him from one end of the convention center, only to meet dozens of raucous Beto O’Rourke fans coming from the other. They came together in the middle, attempting to drown each other out with chants like rival gangs in a good-natured musical.
Shortly after that, a group of Biden supporters gathered to march into the main hall. Biden wasn’t with them, but they planned to enter as he appeared onstage. There were 20 or 30 people, a smaller group than those accompanying Harris, Booker or O’Rourke, and despite a few earnest woo-hoos, they weren’t nearly as loud as the others.
While Biden leads the league of the Democratic presidential nominees right now, the first debates occur Wednesday and Thursday night in Miami.
If Goldberg is correct about how shaky Biden and his support really are, we may have a new leader by Friday, or even Thursday morning.
Sofia Carbone is a junior editor at Human Events
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