Joe Biden is discovering that being the frontrunner in the polls in a crowded field is like being the crab that’s almost made it out of the bucket: all the other crabs keep trying to drag him back down.
What’s funny is seeing some of the criticisms they’re lobbing at Biden and what they tell us about the state of the Democratic Party in 2019. For instance, Bernie Sanders is attacking him for representing “a middle-ground strategy that antagonizes no one.” One thing you can say for Bernie is that he has no history of middle-ground, pragmatic, bipartisan stances to overcome in order to impress the far-left. To quote a great Waylon Jennings song, he’s always been crazy.
Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg, who’s seeking a promotion from mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to President of the United States, summed up the Party philosophy circa 2019 in a nutshell (emphasis on "nut") by declaring, “We’re not going to win by playing it safe or promising to return to normal.”
I strongly suggest that that Democrats raise funds by selling caps that read “MAUAAA” (“Make America Unsafe and Abnormal Again.”)
I almost feel sorry for Joe Biden (note that I said “almost.”) As I’ve watched him struggle over the past couple of weeks against attacks from the left over his previous positions, and even flip-flop on a moral issue as fundamental as not thinking it’s right to force taxpayers to pay for abortions (under Obama/Biden, it was only right to force nuns to pay for abortions), it’s dawned on me:
Joe Biden is the living embodiment of the dire predicament of the entire Democratic Party.
Right now, the Party is being ripped asunder by two warring factions: the old guard who think their liberal views need to be tempered with at least a little lip service to common sense and moderation in order to win general elections in all but the bluest areas; and the far-left “progressives” who want to go pedal-to-the-metal hard left, openly and loudly embracing every crackpot idea from free government health care and college tuition to open borders to outright socialism, financed by 90% tax rates and printing money that is handed out to everyone for free.
The Old Guard quite reasonably sees the “progressive” path as general election suicide, which is why they back Biden: he’s been around so long that he won his first political race when Ed Sullivan was still on TV, and he has a long and reasonably centrist record. But in order to win over the radicals who vote in the primary elections in disproportionate numbers, Joe has to pretend to be one of them. This requires him to renounce decades of pragmatism in an attempt to pass as one of the hip, young “Democratic” socialist radicals.
It’s an embarrassing, unnatural and uncomfortable costume for someone of Joe’s years to have to don. It reminds me of the episode of “Frasier” where he told his prissy brother Niles, “Please don’t try to be hip. You remind me of Bob Hope when he dresses up as The Fonz.”
But even if Joe could still fit into his leather jacket from high school, it wouldn’t matter (and not just because leather is now politically incorrect.) The faction that’s taking over the Democratic Party will tear down statues of American heroes from over 200 years ago if they fail to live up to some PC standard that was just invented on Twitter. Joe can’t win them over by claiming that, like any human being, his opinions have changed with the times, because that would require his critics to be reasonable and have a sense of forgiveness and historical perspective. It would be like trying to reason with a mob of villagers who are chasing Frankenstein’s monster with torches.
Example: the latest “revelation” to come out about Joe is that in 1987, he (gasp!) rejected identity politics: as he put it then, the arguments that only blacks can represent blacks and “that coalitions don’t work anymore, that whites and Catholics and Jews no longer care about the problems of black America.” That was considered reasonable then. It’s still reasonable now. But to many voting in the Democratic primaries, it’s an “OUTRAGE!!!” Because refusing to separate and judge people by their race is now racist.
Joe may yet pull out the nomination, but by the time the process is over, he may be so tired of fending off the other crabs and having to publicly renounce things he knows to be true, like someone being tortured by the Spanish Inquisition, that he’ll wonder if it was even worth it to secure the honor of losing to Trump.