My progressive friends have been asking a particular question to anyone who will listen for months. It is “Why Joe Biden, other than the fact that he isn’t Donald Trump?” Two responses, but maybe it’s the same one. 1. Isn’t that reason enough? 2. Because Joe Biden is… normal.
For instance, Joe Biden believes in science. Is he better in this regard than Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker or Pete Buttigieg or Jay Inslee? Probably not. But he is SO much better than the other guy. Scientific American broke with a 175-year precedent to endorse Biden.
“We do not do this lightly,’ the editors write. ‘The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people — because he rejects evidence and science.’
“The editorial board does not mince words… They write that the ‘most devastating’ example of Trump’s rejection of science is his ‘dishonest and inept’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed 194,000 lives in the United States and counting. The president’s attacks on medical care, government scientists, environmental protections, and public health research have severely weakened the nation’s ability to respond to the greatest challenges of our time, most notably COVID-19 and climate change…”
Most telling are the Bob Woodward tapes for his book, Rage. If Trump didn’t believe that COVID was dangerous, I would think that the man didn’t understand science. It’s clear, however, that he did recognize the danger but underplayed it, undercutting the scientists. His insistence that he, in his words, “overplayed” COVID is, as usual, a lie.
Look at the march of fires in the western US. The tropical storms/hurricanes in the Atlantic may run out of names may have to use the Greek letters for only the second time. But the “stable genius” said that the temperatures will magically fall, just like he pronounced that COVID will disappear in the April 2020 heat.
With a candidate in public office almost continually since 1973, there will be inevitable positions that you – and he – would look at differently today. Surely, Joe Biden’s role as Senate Judiciary chair during the 1991 hearings for the confirmation of Clarence Thomas was not his finest hour. He has acknowledged that. (The other guy admits no faults whatsoever about anything, and is never responsible for any bad outcomes.)
Even in that first Senate race in 1972, Biden favored support of “the environment, civil rights, mass transit, more equitable taxation, and health care.” He was clearly ahead of his boss, Barack Obama, in 2012 when it came to marriage equality.
I acknowledge I’m nervous about the debates. As Vanity Fair notes, his opponent is a “bulldozer to norms… It is very hard to reprogram yourself to [disregard] any semblance of reality.”
Feet to the fire
Since Biden is, by the description of my friends, the centralist/moderate/corporatist candidate, there will need to be pressure placed on him to fulfill some of the more progressive agenda, assuming he wins. Of course, some of the early work will involve undoing the damage done to the basic institutions of the country. Think reversing environmental dumps. Getting more people insured.
And repairing the postal service. From a recent LA Times story: “New rules requiring U.S. Postal Service trucks to leave exactly on schedule and curtailing extra trips disrupted mail service for millions… Trucks traveled empty, mail piled up, managers falsified records, and some packages were turned away at swamped facilities.”
Some of the “fixes” involve NOT hiring political contributor hacks to government roles. Biden’s been around long enough to recognize the value of basic standards, not to mention decency IMPOTUS likes to say he’s draining “the swamp” but instead, he seems to be the ringleader of the bog monsters.
I make no apologies for voting for Joe Biden. He wasn’t in my top five choices. He’s an imperfect candidate. But as a pundit I know wrote, “He’s like a 2007 Prius that keeps chugging along. It’s nothing flashy but gets you where you want to go.” And that’s good enough after four years of intentional chaos.