Former Vice President Joe Biden may have peaked in his quest to secure the Democratic presidential nomination. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.-D) has been nipping at his heels for months and recent polls now have her leading the race. And don’t think the firebrand socialism of Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.-Ind.) isn’t appealing to the wannabe Venezuelans among Democratic Party activists.
It has not been a smooth campaign for Biden, but politics has rarely been smooth with Biden. He’s prone to gaffes that would have sunk a less affable and ebullient politician, while being brazen enough to steal other people’s material and insouciantly hope nobody would notice. When he apparently borrowed some policies to pad out his climate change platform, we were reminded about the time in 1987 when he fecklessly lifted an election pitch from Britain’s Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. Did Biden assume that Americans were too insular to track events outside of their borders?
The media did notice in that era but it largely turns a blind eye to Biden’s embarrassing moments in this campaign.
The former senator from Delaware’s political transformation from conservative Democrat to progressive liberal of the hour is so forced, so unnatural, and so agonizing to behold that it seems to be physically and mentally tearing the aging politician apart.
But it’s not just that Biden has been tweaking his politics to blend in with the radicalized Democratic flavor of 2019. The former senator from Delaware’s political transformation from conservative Democrat to progressive liberal of the hour is so forced, so unnatural, and so agonizing to behold that it seems to be physically and mentally tearing the aging politician apart.
During the Democrats’ town hall on environmental issues, Biden’s eye began to bleed in the middle of one of his statements. He later claimed—after several media outlets reported the incident—that it was due to his contact lens. But whatever the cause, the incident became emblematic of the apparent effects of the political forces working against him. It’s like his very body is rebelling against his own words. Biden has referred to himself as the most progressive Democrat in the race—but given the policies that this gaggle of New Age leftists are advocating, that’s a difficult claim to make. Nonetheless, Biden is willing to make it—regardless of how much of his political history he has to trespass or ignore.
Then there’s the memory loss. He often cannot remember in which state he is speaking, routinely forgets the names of key individuals, and one time could not recall the name of the device that Donald Trump used to descend to the bottom of New York’s Trump Tower. The audience had to shout “escalator!”
When Biden first came to Washington, Richard Nixon was president and Biden resided in a Senate that contained many southern Democrats who could hardly be called progressive in any meaningful sense. Biden apparently was entirely comfortable with the political order the day and successfully spawned and sustained a political career anchored by social, fiscal and foreign policy conservatism. The transformation of Biden to bonafide liberal would not begin until he served as Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008.
Along that road, Biden offered a political record on race that was, to be polite, highly conflicted. He opposed federally-mandated school busing as an intrusion by government. The senator praised segregation because it supposedly stimulated “black pride.” Biden extended the death penalty to more than 60 offenses, co-authored President Bill Clinton’s “three strikes” crime bill, and assiduously fought for traditional marriage.
The Biden of 2019 has essentially become the antipode of all of these policies as he ferrets out racism in America, campaigns to end the death penalty, advocates for social justice instead of criminal justice, panders to the LGBTQ crowd and essentially endorses the Green New Deal with his own imitation of the unintentional climate crisis parody promoted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-D).
But Biden has gone beyond opportunism and well past political evolution. Biden is imploding before our eyes. Every time he casts aside another policy that he nurtured for decades, he is removing a piece of himself.
Some would call this clear political opportunism from a career politician who will say or do anything to continue to stay relevant in the latest incarnation of the Democratic Party. There is little question that when you look at Joe Biden you see the embodiment of that age-old caricature of the manipulative, unprincipled operative—who will promote any policy and make any promise in the pursuit of power.
But Biden has gone beyond opportunism and well past political evolution. Biden is imploding before our eyes. Every time he casts aside another policy that he nurtured for decades, he is removing a piece of himself. When he flip-flops on the Hyde Amendment because it is no longer permissible to be even half-way pro-life, he is losing a part of his political legacy and prostituting what he has left to a leftist mob that demands complete ideological subservience.
Yes, Biden looks pusillanimous as he continues to break with his own legislative past and plead for the sanction of the progressives, but the tiring presidential candidate must honestly believe that he is in fact being brave—displaying the courage of having no principles. With each new announcement that seems to be taken from the playbook of an Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.-D), or Sen. Kamala Harris (Cal.-D), Biden is diminished in political stature—but he also appears to be visibly aging as the campaign continues. No amount of Botox can disguise the wrinkles or erase the wearying age that only a political life can engender.
As questions surface about his role in saving the hide of his son Hunter Biden, who was rewarded by a Ukrainian gas company for knowing nothing about the firm’s business, Biden seems less and less likely to capture the presidential nomination. But I predict he will be gone before the Ukrainian scandal wrecks his ambitions.
Biden’s campaigning is beginning to resemble that of the walking dead as he struggles to find the exit door.