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Notes from the Campaign: Biden, Bernie Continue to Shoot Themselves in the Foot

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 20, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 20, 2019 |


Last Sunday on This Week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was asked about Joe Biden, and specifically, about his handsiness. As someone who still likes Joe Biden in the abstract but finds him appallingly ill-suited to run for office, I thought she gave a very good answer that I think is applicable to Biden’s entire campaign (not just the grabbiness): “It’s not about right and wrong sometimes. It’s about feeling whether someone gets it or not.”

That’s Joe Biden to a tee. I don’t think Biden is evil. I don’t think he’s bad, and I knew what he was trying to say where it concerns segregationist Senators, but I don’t think that Joe “gets it.” He doesn’t understand why his statements were insensitive and woefully out of touch. He doesn’t understand why they pissed off so many people, and he refuses to apologize. I’m beginning to understand, however, why Biden has been reluctant to apologize for anything, because if he did, he’d spend all of his time apologizing: For Anita Hill, for the Eastland comments, for smelling women’s hair, for saying things he should not be saying to 11-year-old girls. He’s not gaffe-prone, because that would suggest that all the things he says are accidents. He doesn’t understand why they’re wrong, because he doesn’t get it, and he’s displayed little willingness to try and get it.

Do I think he’s specifically reaching out to “economically anxious” voters in the center and center-right?

No. Not really. Do I think he’s racist? Well, I think he honestly believes he’s not racist, but that’s not quite the same, is it? But I also think that “not getting it” is a powerful lure for all the old-school Democrats who also don’t get it, and there’s probably a big block of establishment Democrats who have vowed not to “get it” together.

Anyway, Biden’s not gonna apologize, which isn’t good. Asking Cory Booker to apologize to him? Well, that’s worse. Yikes.

I don’t know if that’s better or worse, however, than how Mayor Pete is handling the shooting death of a black man in South Bend by a police officer, because this sounds real bad:

As for Beto, who has lost much of his support to Mayor Pete, the man continues his tendency to rattle off statistics in lieu of taking a position. Bill Clinton used to do this, but he did so in a way that it felt like he was connecting to the story behind the statistics. When Beto does it, it feels like he’s regurgitating homework.

As for Cory Booker? He’s not got a shot in hell, but I do like his plan to grant executive clemency to thousands of nonviolent drug offenders on his first day in office.

Then there’s Bernie. Good lord, Bernie.

All the commentary on this is absolutely right: Bernie is alienating the Democratic party, making Warren — who rose to number two behind Biden in the latest national poll — a more viable Democratic candidate, because a number of progressives are abandoning Bernie for Warren while Bernie’s outright rejection of the Democratic Party is making Warren a more palatable alternative for moderates. In some ways, Bernie is not only his worst enemy but a best friend to Warren: He’s rejecting the establishment so hard that Warren’s progressive ideas seem more mainstream. Keep it up, Bernie!

Header Image Source: Getty