The unofficial official roll-out of the Biden Balloon With Wheels came in the form of a Maureen Dowd column, published on Saturday. It's a textbook case of inside-the-Beltway influence-peddling told in the form of a sentimental narrative. Dowd, who has long had a soft spot for Biden and a hard spot for Hillary Clinton, comes from the same Irish Catholic working class background as the vice president. So right away there's the affinity, fraudulent or otherwise. Biden, or perhaps one of his inner circle, whispered in MoDo's ear the heart-wrenching story of how the dying Beau Biden begged his father to vanquish Hillary and run for president himself.
And thus is a legend and a candidacy born. As the dangerously maudlin Ronald Reagan once urged us to win one for The Gipper, so too do the moribund establishment Democrats want Joe to win one for the party.
Were it not for for Beau's dying wish, modern legend has it, Joe would never have the gall to challenge the Empress-in-Waiting. So the liberal world reads the Dowd column and weeps as it gets out its handkerchiefs and checkbooks. And the Washington Establishment breathes a sigh of relief as it begins its attempted neutralization of Bernie Sanders. They seem to think that Hillary's problem is mainly one of her robotic speaking style and her scandalous email server. Bernie is out-performing her on the stump, and what the Dems think they need is a barn-burning stump speaker like Regular Joe Biden, who despite his populist rhetoric, presents no real danger to the oligarchy. He is Barack Obama's zany white uncle in style, Obama himself in what passes for substance.
Dowd ineptly tried to disguise her blatant shilling for Biden by also floating a much smaller trial balloon for Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, and socially liberal billionaire darling of the centrist Washington Establishment. He loves conversations about race that consist of slogans on latte cups, he loves marriage equality, he loves diversity, and he especially loves pathological global corporate coups disguised as "free trade" deals.
Reader comments to MoDo's article flowed in a torrent, with New York Times editors quickly segregating and highlighting the most fawning "Run, Joe, Run!" accolades. Thus is public opinion manipulated, thus are the ruling class's wishes honored, thus is a legend and a candidacy born. And thus is Bernie Sanders left in the dust, as the rest of the Sunday Times home-page concentrates on the antics of Donald Trump, (several pieces) Obama's latest legacy-burnishing propaganda pivot, and the angst of millennials being robbed of their futures by greedy geezers on Medicare.
Here is my buried comment on Dowd's piece:
The Draft Biden movement sure is picking up steam in the corporate press. "Washington" is worried that Bernie Sanders is overshadowing unpopular Hillary, and they desperately need one of their own to quash the Bernie-mentum.Incidentally, Warren's memoir glossed over the inconvenient truth that Hillary stabbed her in the back by promising to vote against the later version of the bill she voted for it. One team player cannot diss another team member, I suppose.
Who is more likeable than Joe? His folksy charm, his loveable gaffes, the outpouring of national sympathy after the tragic loss of his son, make him a natural replacement candidate. He is a centrist's dream: he can reach across the aisle and "get things done."
As Elizabeth Warren recounts in "A Fighting Chance," one thing that Biden got done in 2005 was co-sponsoring the bankruptcy reform bill, as dictated by the banks and credit card companies of his home state, Delaware. This bill, originally vetoed by Bill Clinton and signed into law by George W. Bush, makes it much harder, if not impossible, for working families with credit problems to get legal relief.
Despite his working class persona, Biden sold out to the plutocrats years ago. But unlike Bill and Hill, he's been in continuous government service the whole time. He doesn't charge millions for speeches, and he uses a government email server. He is suddenly "electable."
When Obama boasted last week that he could win a third term, it also seemed to be a tacit endorsement of Biden, who despite his grief, has worked overtime (as has Howard Schultz) selling those job-destroying corporate coups euphemized as "free trade" deals.
The fix, as ever, is in.
However, in her earlier book, "The Two Income Trap," Warren was less circumspect. Not yet a politician herself, she could afford to be blunt. She even went so far as to practically call Biden a misogynist:
Warren describes briefing Hillary Clinton, when she was first lady, about the bankruptcy bill backed by the financial industry. “It’s our job to stop that awful bill,” Warren quotes Clinton as saying. But several years later, when the bill came up for passage, Senator Clinton voted for it. “The bill was essentially the same but Hillary Rodham Clinton was not,” Warren wrote. As senator, “she could not afford such a principaled (sic) position…” When the bill finally passed, in 2005, then-Senator Joseph Biden was one of its biggest backers. “Senators like Joe Biden should not be allowed to sell out women in the morning and be heralded as their friend in the evening,” Warren said.And then there was Biden's disgusting treatment of Anita Hill at Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Once Obama picked Biden as his running mate, Democrats became even more squeamishly loath to discuss that inconvenient truth.
And then there was this cringe-worthy moment with the wife of the incoming
Of course, next to Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP circus, Biden looks like a noble Galahad in shining armor.
I've avoided writing about Trump on this blog, because he already has more than his share of publicity. But I did write a response to yet another New York Times "style over substance" political column by the lovely Ross Douthat. The Times' resident white millennial conservative putz opines that Trump serves to give cover to the "moderate" Jeb Bush. He also thinks the Republican debates will be interesting, if not quite reaching the realm of importance. My comment:
Only to the self-referential Washington leisure/media class is the GOP reality show either interesting or important.Let's face it, though: the whorehouse known as the American media/political complex is mostly made up of puppets pulling the strings of other puppets.
Those of us living in the real world have other things to worry about besides Trump's media-savvy buffoonery and Jeb's equally comedic "Right to Rise" militant preppie tone-deafness. Since billionaires are funding this stage show posing as a political debate, we might as well dispense with the official candidates, and have the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson duke it out with Trump on live TV. Let them fling their thousand-dollar bills at each other in lieu of answering questions. Bill it as the WWF of the Plutocrats, with spectators invited to cast their meaningless votes for which loathsome humanoid can best serve the interests of the .01%.
Ross rightly observes that the longer Trump prevails as ringmaster, the longer Jeb will be able to skulk around unnoticed as he vacuums up the lucre on his stealthy road to the nomination. But it's wrong to cast Jeb as a respectable moderate. He is neither respectable, nor even remotely moderate. He wants to destroy Medicare, invade whatever chunk of global real estate is still unsullied by the military-industrial complex, privatize the earth, and thus complete the radical right-wing revolution started by Reagan.
Scott Walker is the clown who might actually win the nomination. Because as bad as Jeb is, he just can't whine out the aggrieved hatred and the ignorance quite as well as Scottie, the ultimate Koch puppet.