Andrew Sullivan sees Joe Biden as the most viable Democratic candidate

In his latest weekly “Interesting Times” column in New York Magazine, Andrew Sullivan lays out why he thinks Joe Biden might be the best candidate to beat Trump in November, 2020.  I think I agree with him, though it’s certainly early days. Some Leftists, though, are saying we need a woman candidate or a minority candidate. Even Pete Buttigieg, who’s openly gay and married to another man, has been dissed by some Leftists for being “just another white male.”

My own view is that it’s far more important to get rid of Trump than to run a candidate who isn’t the strongest one we have (that could, of course, be a member of a minority who isn’t gay).  Right now Biden is the strongest candidate, at least according to the polls, and his numbers run far above those of the other contenders. And I don’t see him as “too old.” He’s seven points ahead of Trump in a one-on-one survey.

Sullivan, who is also gay, agrees. Read the first part of his column (click on screenshot below). I’ll have something to say about the second part tomorrow:

Sullivan calls out the Regressive Left here, showing data that most Americans are tired of its shenanigans, and that those who are tired probably favor Biden:

[Biden’s] strength is drawn from two contrasting bases: older, moderate whites, and African-Americans. Although his share is in the 30s overall, he has a whopping 50 percent share among nonwhite Democrats, according to the latest CNN poll. A Morning Consult poll found him with 43 percent of the black vote, including 47 percent support among African-American women. Biden’s deep association with Obama gives him a lift in the black vote no other white candidate can achieve. And so it turns out that the base of the Democrats has not been swept into the identity cult of the elite, wealthy, white left. As a brand-new CBS poll finds, Democrats may prefer a hypothetical female nominee over a male (59–41 percent), a black nominee over a white one (60–40 percent), and someone in their 40s to someone in their 70s. But that’s in the abstract. In reality, Biden seems to scramble these preferences.

He’s also been able to reach non-college-educated white men in ways few other candidates could. That’s a big fucking deal in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — and if Biden can carry those states, he’ll be the next president. He’s a union man, and always has been. In what was a brilliant ad-lib, Biden began a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers by making a joke about the excesses of #MeToo — “I had permission to hug Lonnie,” the union leader, he quipped. Later, as he brought some kids onstage, he joked again, as he put his hands on the shoulders of a boy: “He gave me permission to touch him.” The crowd’s reaction both times was bellows of laughter.

Yes, this might be seen as insensitive, or tone-deaf. It is certainly politically incorrect. But what Biden’s joke did is tell the white working class that he has not defected to the woke, white urban elites. This matters. In a recent poll, 80 percent of Americans say “that political correctness is a problem in this country.” Hostility to new speech codes from elites was one factor that drove support for Trump in 2016. Americans do not want to abolish all differences between men and women, do not support reparations, and view college campuses as strange, alien pockets of madness. Any Democrat in 2020 has to reach that “exhausted majority” who are sick of all that. Biden has already done it.

Another reason is Biden’s strong pro-labor stance, one that appeals to the middle Americans who voted to Trump because they were disenchanted:

Biden’s positive message is a defense of the worker from the excesses of decadent late-capitalism. He can effortlessly channel that and compete with Trump in the Rust Belt. Sanders can do this as well — but Bernie, for all his sincerity and authenticity, does not have the heft of a two-term vice-president who has long been at the center of his party. For those who simply want to defeat Trump at all costs, Biden, for now, seems the safest bet. He can run on a platform deeply informed by the left’s critique of the market, without the baggage of left wokeness or those eager to play into the GOP’s hands and explicitly avow “socialism.”

That’s exactly what the Trump campaign fears. . .

Finally, and here I agree, Biden exudes a fundamental decency that completely eludes Trump, who seems either mentally ill, a spoiled brat, or both:

There is also, dare I say it, a deeper contrast between the two men. One is decent, kind, generous, funny. The other is indecent, cruel, miserly, and has the callous humor of a bully. There would be a moral gulf between any current Democrat and Trump, of course. But with Biden, we’re reminded of the America we thought we knew. Yes, this is partly nostalgia, but no one should underestimate nostalgia in a country as turbulent, afraid, and resentful as America right now. Biden’s moment, in my mind, was 2016, but he was prevented from competing by Clinton and Obama. But history takes strange turns. This already feels to me like a two-man race. That may change. It’s extremely early, but the odds are with Biden. And the tailwinds behind him are intense.

So what do you think? Joe or no?

92 Comments

  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I think it is an easy answer and old Joe answered it for us just yesterday I think. He says – Trump is the bad guy and all we need to do is defeat him. The republicans, he says, are okay and just need to be separated from Trump. I say Joe is dreaming and living in the 60s and 70s. Wake up old Joe. The answer is no to Joe.

    • Jim Danielson
      Posted May 4, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      It’s as if Biden hasn’t been paying attention to anything Republicans have been doing the last 20 years.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted May 4, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      He has to say that. He can’t afford to get dragged into a ‘deplorables’ moment and he needs to appeal to the win-overable Republicans. Plus, it appeals to the general sense that he’s not driven by animosity and is a laid back guy who forgives and forgets. (Personally I’d put Trump’s enablers in the LHC and replicate the scene from Resident Evil with the lasers, but I’m probably not cut out for politics.)

      I see it as a pragmatic approach, and right now the one thing the liberal-left really need to be doing is thinking pragmatically instead of ideologically. Biden will fail purity tests all day long, of course he will, but very little matters right now except ejecting that pos from the WH. Just get Trump out. Whatever it takes.

    • Historian
      Posted May 4, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      problem isn’t even the Republican Party, which caters to the base, consisting of about 35% to 40% of the voting population. The latter is the root of the problem. They support Trump because in cultish fashion he plays to every one of their cultural fears, all emerging from demographic change. They don’t even care that Trump wants to destroy their health care. So, as long as cultural polarization riles the country, Trump-like characters will control the Republican Party, representing a threat to democracy.

      Also, I think Biden and Sanders are too old. Mental or physical disability can strike at any moment. If Biden gets the nomination, whom he will pick for vice-president will be of extreme importance. If nominated, of course, I will vote for him. It is much too early for me to pick my favorite (there is a buffet of choices, not all of the representing the extreme left of the party), but that person will certainly be at least ten years younger than these gentlemen. So that also leaves out Elizabeth Warren. As an old fogy myself, I say it is time for the baby boomers to pass the baton to a younger generation.

      The CNN poll of May 3rd shows all leading Democrats (except Warren) beating Trump. The candidate doesn’t have to be Biden. In any case, these early polls tell us very little.

      General Election: Trump vs. Biden
      CNN
      Biden 51, Trump 45
      Biden +6

      General Election: Trump vs. Sanders
      CNN
      Sanders 50, Trump 44
      Sanders +6

      General Election: Trump vs. Warren
      CNN
      Trump 48, Warren 47
      Trump +1

      General Election: Trump vs. Buttigieg
      CNN
      Buttigieg 47, Trump 44
      Buttigieg +3

      General Election: Trump vs. Harris
      CNN
      Harris 49, Trump 45
      Harris +4

      General Election: Trump vs. O’Rourke
      CNN
      O’Rourke 52, Trump 42
      O’Rourke +10

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted May 4, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        I am sure they are too old because I am only 5 or 6 years behind them. Does not mean they could not beat Trump but there is a lot of talent out there that we will get to know over the next several months. I also think that polling results at this time are a total waste and mean nothing. Elizabeth Warren says more in one hour than Trump says in three years. She is not so much a politician but so what. Put her in there with one of the others like Harris and I think they clean Trumps clock. I also told PCC it is time for impeachment hearings to start. You do things because they should be done not when it feels good or you think you can or cannot lose. Having the hearings will cause many of the republicans to change. As always, look at history to believe it. The Watergate hearings were well underway before republicans in the Senate started to fold. You impeach because your oath of office and the evidence is overwhelming. You don’t wait for a result to act.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 4, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Sullivan: “His announcement video was aimed at those on the left who see Trump as the tip of the spear of white nationalism, and to those swingier voters who simply want to return to normalcy …”

        How’d that “return to normalcy” thing workout for Warren G. Harding and the boys from Teapot Dome?

      • Mike Cracraft
        Posted May 4, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        My fear is that if the economy keeps going like it has in the past two years, Trump will just say “Look what I’ve done for you” and he could win on this alone. It’s like when Clinton (?) said “It’s the economy stupid”. That worked.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 5, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        “Also, I think Biden and Sanders are too old. Mental or physical disability can strike at any moment. If Biden gets the nomination, whom he will pick for vice-president will be of extreme importance. If nominated, of course, I will vote for him. It is much too early for me to pick my favorite (there is a buffet of choices, not all of the representing the extreme left of the party), but that person will certainly be at least ten years younger than these gentlemen. So that also leaves out Elizabeth Warren.”

        Would you care to forthrightly and specifically state a maximum age beyond which one is not qualified to run for POTUS?

        I’m wondering if the U.S. constitution should be amended to let a high schooler run for POTUS. What candidate is better qualified to solve the world’s problems while the candidate still knows everything? 😉

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Can you say at this time to what Democrat candidate you say “Yes”?

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I did not expect such an impressive argument…. well, it IS Sullivan, but with Biden I thought “oh, come on, please- Biden?!? Cut it out Biden.”

  3. johnjfitzgerald
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether Biden is such a great friend of labor. He went along with a lot of the neo-liberalism of Clinton and Obama. The DLC (Democratic Leadership Council)was far too comfortable with corporate capitalism and worked openly against New Deal/Fair Deal policies. This gave us the recent recession. I think Warren and Sanders have a valid critique of the Democratic Perty’s centrist elite. Warren reminds me of Louis Brandeis and his critique of the power of banks in our economy. Still valid! Sanders reminds me of Eugene V. Debs and his concept of democratic socialism. Warren and Sanders don’t have the name recognition of Biden, but they do have the support of people who take a serious look at issues, campaigns and elections.

    John J. Fitzgerald

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      “I wonder whether Biden is such a great friend of labor. He went along with a lot of the neo-liberalism of Clinton and Obama.”

      I can’t document at the moment where I heard Obama say it, but he did say it. He was either addressing in person STEM-major students, or answering an interviewer’s question. He was encouraging students words-to-the-effect to enter “STEM” fields, so as to innovate and design new goods and services so as to strengthen/serve the U.S. economy.

      Why don’t Romneyesque undergraduate English or political science major/MBA-JD Wall Street-bound types themselves go into STEM fields? (They have as much “right” or “privilege” as anyone else to do so.) Because they can make more money in finance/investment than in STEM, like good capitalists/investors viewing STEM types as human “resources” or “capital” to be exploited.

  4. Christopher
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I have no objections to him, especially if the polls give him a solid lead against tRump, but then I’m not sure we can trust polls anymore. What I do object to is the notion that our politicians should be chosen on the basis of their genitalia, the color of said genitalia, the age of their genitalia, or their preference in the genitalia of their partners. I didn’t vote for Hillary or Obama based on any of the above, and I refuse to start now.

  5. Posted May 4, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    As an American living abroad, probably for good, I’d like to know where Biden stands on foreign relations, another of the current POTUS’s disaster areas.

    • rustybrown
      Posted May 4, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Well, he’s liked by certain Ukrainian oligarchs:

      https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bidens-scrutiny-demanding-ouster-ukraine-official

    • Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      I won’t read anything written by Trump supporters, especially those that work for him. We know that Trump lies all the time, and expects those that work for him and support him to lie as well, so what’s the point? Even if they happened to say something useful and correct, it would be buried within a bunch of lies. As far as I’m concerned, there has to be a price for supporting an unapologetic, constant liar and that is not to have your opinion taken seriously. Who has the time to sift through lies?

  6. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I would dearly love to see Mayor Pete, but I think even with the huge surge in name recognition he’s received recently it’s still too early. I think he’s total Trump kryptonite, even though he’s one of those evil homosexamathings that some conservatives still aren’t too keen on. I think he would annihilate Trump, and unlike Biden I think he’s much less likely to occasionally put his foot in it in some huge way. He appeals to pretty much everyone. But yes, right now Biden is probably the safer bet.

    The only significant character flaw Biden has imo is a streak of unpredictability that borders on ditziness, but I think people quite like that about him, and it’s not like the other side can use that against him given the one-man-band of fuckuppery they have running for them.

    I would say that I hope his team campaign on something other than ‘get Trump out’. That’s what appeals to people about Buttegieg. Pete simply sidestepped the venom of current divisions completely and focused on positivity. It’s by far the better approach in my opinion. Trump wants a down and dirty mud fight and it would be unwise of Biden to give it to him – so I hope his first video was not indicative of the tone of his entire campaign.

  7. Ken Pidcock
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps I should apologize for my bias, but Joe Biden is older than I want my president to be. While Ronald Reagan wasn’t diagnosed with cognitive decline until after he was out of office, I’m not convinced that he was at the top of his game throughout. As to the current president, if you compare his current disposition with what what is readily available from the past, it’s hard not to conclude that he’s just not as sharp as he had been. (He’s always been an asshole, but he used to be a focused asshole.) I know there are exceptions, but I don’t think I can know ahead of time that Biden is going to be one of them.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    One more comment because I know many will already be making picks. It is too early to be voting. You can name favorites but with this many candidates there is no way you can know all of them or even name them. I really like Elizabeth Warren. She was first to come out and say impeach and I like that. She also has lots of plans, maybe too many. I also like Kamala Harris because she is smart as hell and wipes the floor with opponents in cross examinations. Beto O’Rourke is also good, Eric Swalwell and Julian Castro. I just saw Michael Bennet the other day and he is also very good. But I cannot even think of all of them and it is not possible to know.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      “I also like Kamala Harris because she is smart as hell and wipes the floor with opponents in cross examinations.”

      I agree. She has a gift for repeatedly interrupting witnesses at committee hearings when they do not give the answers she wants to hear. However, as she is a member of the allegedly most deliberative legislative body on the planet, she has no less a right to so interrupt than any old-white-man-in-a-suit in that body. (Jut as Condoleezza Rice did not hesitate to interrupt and talk back to her senatorial interrogators.) Though I should think that she would want to aim for a higher standard than that of old white men.

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s not whether he can beat Trump, it’s whether he can beat the progressives in order to win the nomination. Primary voters are less moderate than election voters.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted May 4, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      That’s a worry, but if the less moderate wing get their way in the primaries it’ll be Sanders…and I’d still take him to beat Trump. I think he’d have beaten him last time too, although I think the decent economy is the one big positive Trump has to scare everyone shitless with if a frightening commie like Sanders goes up against him this time.

      Say what you will, but when 45 has a message he’s not subtle about ramming it home, and he’ll be running with visions of the financial apocalypse if it’s Sanders who’s his opponent. So although I think Sanders would win, I think it’d be much closer this time around than if they’d slugged it out in ’16.

  10. Jon Gallant
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump was born on 3rd base, and has assumed since then his own entitlement to nothing but home runs. [The same was said of George W. Bush, who seems sort-of decent compared to the current GOP officeholder.) Joe Biden, beside growing up in much more modest circumstances, has also been visited in terrible ways by tragedy in his family. It could be that this gave him a deeper empathy toward the human condition than that provided either by youth, or by linneage, or by the number of X chromosomes. These latter qualifications could be filled in by his Vice-Presidential running mate.

    Biden does have the reputation of being overly garrulous. But, as others have pointed out, compared to Donald Trump, Donald Duck would look like William the Silent.

  11. Posted May 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Too early for predictions or to pick favorites. Just now leading their names and finding out about them.
    As for the general election, I think the democrats will have to move to toward the center to win. But it all depends on what the republicans do, lots of factors to play our.
    We could even be in a war or recession by November 2020 and then there would be an entirely different set of factors in play.

  12. Posted May 4, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    The Democratic left will eat him, just like they’ve already eaten Buttigieg. Gay white males aren’t acceptable anymore, they are now too privileged. They are all eating each other.
    Why would #MeToo Old Creepy Uncle Joe be any better (but of course the Democratic progressive idiots gave Bill a pass, so who knows)? I’m going to vote for whoever the Libertarians put up.

  13. Posted May 4, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, in the USA, someone as terrible as a Thatcher or a Reagan are seen as legitimate Democratic candidates. Poor voters! I don’t believe in voting for a lesser evil strategy, and even view that as anti-democratic.

    Wikipedia’s overview of Biden’s politicial views, which are sourced, read like a man minted by the military-prison-industrial complex, who heeds the interests of banks. It’s great though that he doesn’t want to drill in a wildlife reserve for oil, and doesn’t have plans to re-introduce child labour.

  14. Posted May 4, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everything Sullivan says here. One thing that he didn’t mention, which I believe to be true, is that Biden will react better to the inevitable slanders and insults Trump will lob at his Dem opponent. The firefighter exchange is a good example. If one responds directly to Trump’s bombastic rhetoric, it validates the lies he tells to some extent by making them appear to be valid points of contention. This is the “both sides” fallacy. Instead, Biden took the issue up a level by saying something positive about the firefighters unions. This disregards Trump’s lies and appeals to good values, throwing shade on Trump’s lack of values.

    I understand how Biden doesn’t move the social agenda forward but this is not the time for that. Getting rid of Trump is the only thing that matters and sending his team of sycophants packing.

  15. rustybrown
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Biden also kicked off his campaign by stoking racial divisions, praising Antifa, and pushing the Charlottesville hoax:

    https://www.philly.com/opinion/charlottesville-biden-trump-fine-people-on-both-sides-20190502.html

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Based on past-performance charts (my mind is on the Kentucky Derby right now) I’d say early-favorite is precarious position to be in this early in the race, especially with a sloppy track like the one Democratic candidates will be running on from now until post-time for the first primary (or the one the horses at Churchill Downs will be running for the roses on today).

    Plus, ol’ Uncle Joe Biden’s never been an especially strong finisher.

  17. Greg Geisler
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Biden represents the old guard (the entitled, patriarchal white male)and while he is obviously a better man than Trump, that he is viewed as our best chance at regaining the Executive office is somewhat sad.

    It’s time for new, progressive candidates that can excite the electorate and hopefully find common ground for them to agree on. I get it, we need to defeat Trump. But I’ve lived through Nixon and Reagan and both Bush presidencies. I’m tired of lowering the bar.

    I’m supporting Andrew Yang and Elizabeth Warren. I’m supporting vision versus party. I love Pete Buttigieg and I would be ecstatic if he was our President. But the chances of electing a gay man in a country that just elected Trump president are very poor odds.

    Beto is all surface. I supported him in his run against Cruz here in Texas but he is an example of the cult of personality.

    I like reading Andrew Sullivan but he often seems very out of touch with objective reality.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Warren sounds dramatic/histrionic to me. I’m not accustomed (no doubt a defect in me) to a MA senator speaking in a slurpy, Southern, ingratiating way. (But I will ignore that in evaluating her policy positions.) I suppose that that is necessary. It’s not enough that candidates be rational, logical. They have to entertain and prompt a response from the Whoop & Holler crowd, so as not to be perceived “boring.”

  18. Posted May 4, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I liked this sentence:

    “Americans do not want to abolish all differences between men and women, do not support reparations, and view college campuses as strange, alien pockets of madness.”

  19. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    I note that if those CNN polls Historian mentioned are anything to go by, Mr O’Rourke appears a safer bet than Mr Biden.
    I also note that Dems win missed a few candidates, such as Mr Inslee, who, I’d think, has no chance of winning the primaries, but would probably make a very good president.

  20. Posted May 4, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m most impressed by Harris, but then again as a NZer and I’m quite comfortable with the idea of a female head of State.
    Of the other high profile women candidates, Klobuchar seems highly competent and articulate, if a little on the the right side of the left; Warren has all the necessary attributes except electability. Of all the Dems Warren most of all comes across as academic elite.
    Really do see Biden and Sanders as yesterday’s men.
    The shear number in the crowded field is quite amusing, obviously the consensus is that Trump and the Reps are toast so whoever wins the nomination will be President.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      “Really do see Biden and Sanders as yesterday’s men.”

      Why – because they are older than your unstated maximum eligible age?

  21. rustybrown
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Of the Democrats, I think Tulsi Gabbard warrants a second look for two reasons: she’s anti-establishment and she’s easy on the eyes.

  22. Otternaut
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I believe Biden is our best hope to defeat Trump for President. He takes the White House. The campaign issues go through Congress. We can accomplish our progressive Democratic goals cooperatively, Biden on deck and a Democrat crew steering our course from Congress

  23. max blancke
    Posted May 4, 2019 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    It is no great accomplishment for someone to be more eloquent than Trump.
    I don’t get how Biden can be described as “fundamentally decent”. He is way too handsy with little girls, for one thing.
    His sleazy son is likely to be a source of controversy.
    Whether it will turn out to be accurate is still being debated and investigated in Ukraine, but a reasonable case could be made in support of the statement “Biden, as VP, held up $1bn US loan guarantees for the Ukrainian government, and insisted that they would only be made available if Ukraine fired their chief prosecutor, who was investigating the corruption at Burisma natural gas holdings, for which Hunter Biden served as board member, a position which paid $166K per month”.
    Biden does claim that his actions were independent of his son’s financial interests, as he also claims that his views on China are not affected by his son’s current ties with that government.

    It is entirely possible that an honest politician is out there somewhere. I hope so. But Biden seems to be more the type who is smart enough to make an effort to say and do the things that his “people” have determined will give the impression that he is an honest, humble man of the people.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Joe Biden belongs to a back-slapping, handsy, hail-fellow-well-met school of politicking that has passed from style. But I don’t think there’s ever been the hint of an allegation that he’s ever groped, or otherwise engage in inappropriate sexual touching with little girls, big girls, or women of any age.

      The story regarding Biden’s “sleazy” son Hunter is something I’ve heard emanating thus far only from the more perfervid corners of the far-right-wing fever swamp. And it has the whiff of the type of anti-Ukraine story Russian troll farms have been known to push on social media.

      Of the 20 or so Democrats seeking their Party’s presidential nomination, which do you favor, or at least find acceptable, Max?

      • max blancke
        Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        When I used the work “handsy”, I meant just that, and was not making claims of assault or any crimes. I have seen him approach a little girl at a function honoring her father, and Biden nuzzles up to her, sniffs her hair, whispers in her ear, and trues to sneak a kiss, which she shrinks away from.
        As for my kids, anyone guy who tries to kiss them who is not their Grosspapa has a pretty decent chance of getting a punch in the nose. Kissing a baby at some political event is stereotypical of not normal political behavior. 12 year old girls are a bit of a different story. They have particular personal space and body issues. He has to be aware that the hair sniffing and nuzzling makes them uncomfortable.
        He has been doing that for decades, and I have no doubt that people have spoken to him about it.
        The Ukraine story, at least the version I read, came out of current Ukrainian corruption investigations. I try to avoid news from Russian sources, as much as I can.
        Of the current picks, I am sort of reluctantly favoring Bernie, as I also did in the last election. It is troubling that he is apparently wealthier than Biden, but he means well and is apparently sincere. It is depressing that that has become an acceptable standard for President, but here we are.

      • max blancke
        Posted May 6, 2019 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        After your comment, I went back and did some more reading about Biden and his son.
        Hunter Biden does seem to usually be in the right place at the right time, despite his drug issues and less than honorable discharge from the Navy.
        But as far as I can tell, every one of Hunter’s lucky breaks have been with either corporations that are major sponsors of Biden’s campaign, or lobbying and investment groups that profited from Biden’s actions and influence. And not in the sense that they benefited peripherally from his decisions, or made a few hundred thousand dollars here and there. On the contrary, we are talking about serious money.
        I suppose it could really be that Hunter is just charmed.
        When I wanted to attend a service academy, I had the qualifications to compete for that position. I also had a father with the influence to get me to the front of the line. He had done so for other young men, who he saw as particularly suited to excel as military officers.
        But even the appearance of favoritism would have been unacceptable. I had to take a harder route. I earned that commission, and did not blow it on a cocaine binge.
        So when I see people like Hunter Biden constantly given once in a lifetime breaks apparently through his father’s connections, it reflects poorly on the candidate himself.
        I am not going to claim he is different than others in the field in that respect, but I cannot agree with Dr. Coyne that he displays “fundamental decency”. At least not as such terms would apply to normal people.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 7, 2019 at 4:43 am | Permalink

        Looked it up – this is a very descriptive term that I didn’t know existed:

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_fellow_well_met

        [this article has multiple issues ]

        “Hail fellow well met” is a somewhat archaic English idiom used when referring to a person whose behavior is hearty, friendly, and congenial, but usually meaning in a superficial or insincere way.[citation needed]

        • max blancke
          Posted May 7, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          As one of the resident archaic Germanic language aficionados here, I should point out that the “hail” part is from the Old Norse, meany hearty and healthy.

          It is related to the greeting in that the greeting more or less means “to your health”, also originating in Old Norse.

          Or that is my belief.

  24. Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    When are your elections and when’s the inauguration?

    -Ryan

  25. Posted May 5, 2019 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    When I occasionally peak into all this chaos from here in Europe, I wonder how anyone in the US can put up with all this. By the time the election finally comes around in a year and a half, everyone will be too exhausted to vote.

    I don’t mean to criticise those who participate in these discussions — far from it. But I would note that the populace is forced to deal with this emotional onslaught by an out of control electoral process and a breathless media. I’ve never seen a country so in thrall to its politicians.

    Here in Germany, candidates are decided internally and swiftly, with any divisive bickering kept to a minimum — unlike in the US where this is placed center stage and goes on for years. One could argue that the US’s way is more open and democratic, but well, look at the results.

    Election campaigns here last a few weeks — once every four years. Then the government goes back to running the country and trying not to cause a stir or get unwarranted attention.

    • rustybrown
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I agree it’s gotten totally out of hand but add that most of the blame lies with the media and the anti-Trumpers, but I repeat myself.

      Usually, after a candidate wins a fair, free election and becomes President of the United States there’s a grudging acceptance by the losing party to respect the will of the people. The period after an election has been unofficially known as a ‘grace period’ where the losing party recognizes the legitimacy of the new leader, licks their wounds, and moves on. This tradition has been losing flavor in modern times and was utterly dispensed with after the 2016 election.

      Instead, the opposition party engaged in riots, silly, anti-Semitic pink-hatted marches, non-stop barrage of fake news, and a three year witch hunt based on a Russian Hoax with very dubious beginnings that we’re just starting to look into. The NYT just validated Trump’s claim that his campaign was spied upon, and more shoes will be dropped.

      The irony is that it’s the people who engage and encourage these dubious tactics who claim to represent decency and respect for Constitutional norms.

      • Posted May 5, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        During said “grace period”, the President doesn’t lie constantly to his constituents and has an agenda that is not all about himself, his money, and his family. We live in graceless times.

        • rustybrown
          Posted May 5, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

          Saying his agenda is “all about himself, his money, and his family” is just the type of non-specific smear tactic I’m talking about. Christ sake, you can throw out that type of baseless hyperbole for anybody. Absolutely meaningless.

          Meanwhile, in the real world, his agenda has defeated ISIS, kept us out of new foreign entanglements, and is resulting in an astounding economy (among other things).

          • Posted May 5, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            There is no way that blame for a bad economy or credit for a good economy can be assigned to whoever is in office. The US economy is an enormous chaotic system that obeys certain small scale rules. There aren’t that many levers for it. That said, Trump has done some deregulation and a tax cut which have probably had a positive effect. In any case, he will get the credit if the economy is still doing well at election time and win. Plus millions of Americans are sick of the Dems shit. They were already dumped in a basket of deplorables by Hillary, had to hear incessant BS about collusion that didn’t exist, and are still considered beneath progressives elevated status. Progressives are a**holes.

            • rustybrown
              Posted May 5, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

              I agree with you about the economy. It’s dubious to ascribe 100% credit or blame to a sitting president. But trends do exist, and as you get further into an administration you get a better sense of how its policies are affecting the economy. It’s pretty clear the Trump administration has had a positive effect.

              But partisanship will blinker many. Paul just made the absurd claim that the economy was better under Obama.

              • Posted May 5, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

                Perhaps this was too subtle a point for you, Rusty, but I was talking about trends. As you seem to agree, sitting presidents are not much responsible for the current state of the economy. The best they can do is establish policies that affect the rate and direction with which the economy changes. My point was that unemployment dropped at a higher rate under Obama.

                Trump’s deregulation will only boost parts of the economy and only for a short time. Mostly he is handing out favors to his billionaire buddies who have been complaining for years over dinner how attempts to protect the environment prevent them from being even richer. Historically, such bosses overplay the effect of such regulation. Car companies complained bitterly about clean air standards but now we have relatively clean air in our cities. (I know as I lived in Southern California in the 60s and 70s and the air was horrible. Now it isn’t.) There will be a price to pay for this deregulation that will be much larger than any economic gain from their elimination. Not only will it hurt the environment but it will make the US less competitive in the world. While Trump is focusing on the past (oil, steel), the rest of the world is focusing on the future. Unfortunately for Americans, this price will mostly be paid long after Trump is out of office.

              • Posted May 5, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

                Oil and steel aren’t going anywhere. We make a lot of steel in this country, and we are producing more oil than ever. Our economy depends on oil. Until we can get muzzy headed morons to agree that nuclear is the best way to make electricity, fossil fuels are it.

                And yes, we cleaned the air, in the early 70’s. Ever since it is just more and more expensive regulation. Getting rid of net neutrality was wonderful. Defanging the FDA a bit so drugs and treatments can actually make it to market: great. Florida recently got rid of Certificate of Need regulations to help increase the number of medical facilities. Betsy DeVos toning down all the Title IX insanity is perfect.

              • rustybrown
                Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

                Paul, If indeed unemployment dropped at a higher rate under Obama that would be because at that time we were recovering from a terrible recession; a recovering economy will likely show some higher spikes than a merely improving, robust economy would.

                Your single, cherry-picked stat aside (if true), it’s ridiculous to claim the economy was better under Obama. Nearly every economic stat, including those that flatlined under Obama, is improved. Obama said we had to get used to the new normal of slow growth and we would need a magic wand to get manufacturing jobs back. Glad those days are gone.

              • Posted May 5, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

                As you say, Obama helped the country recover from the recession. You answered your own lie.

              • rustybrown
                Posted May 5, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

                I never said Obama didn’t help us out a recession; I’ve always given him credit for it. You’re the one who’s lying or confused.

              • rustybrown
                Posted May 5, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

                I meant “out of a recession”.

          • Posted May 5, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            You might as well give it up, Rusty. I’ve heard the man for years now and he’s the scum of the Earth. He has no accomplishments to speak of. Even the economy did better under Obama. Right now Trump is crowing about low unemployment. However, it was going down at a faster rate when Obama was President.

            Even his deal with North Korea is fake news. They are back to shooting off rockets. He could claim that his actions have averted nuclear war but that has been true for all Presidents since the Korean War. Kim won’t start a war as he knows it would be the end for him and his country. Trump has done nothing at all.

            Trump is all lies, all the time. You can talk him up all you want but it is falling on deaf ears where I’m concerned.

          • Posted May 5, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            If it’s not about his family, why are half of them in jobs in his government? How did his son-in-law get a security clearance in spite of lying repeatedly in his applications.

            If it’s not about the money, why is it that foreign governments are renting suites in Trump Tower. Why is it that he conducts business at Mar a Largo.

            If it’s not about himself, why are we subjected to a Twitter stream in which he is constantly boasting about his own “accomplishments”?

            What has he accomplished? Troops that a different president put in the Middle East and that he wanted to withdraw are responsible for defeating ISIS (except they are not defeated yet). He’s failed to get the ACA repealed and failed to get anything put in its place. He’s failed to get his precious useless wall built although his duplicitous declaration of a fake emergency may yet get that done. He’s best buddies with the dictator of a totalitarian regime (who keeps handing him his ass). He believes the leader of a hostile power over and above his own intelligence and law enforcement people. He has instigated true wars with America’s allies. He’s shafted his domestic manufacturing industry with a trade war with China. He’s lied more than 10,000 times since taking office.

            I could go on: the man is a useless orange turd and he has to go.

            • rustybrown
              Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

              Jared and Ivanka are half his family? I don’t think your numbers are right.

              People rent rooms in Trump towers which have existed for decades before he took office? Outrageous!

              Trump conducts business at Mar a Largo as past presidents have done at their respective retreats and Camp David over the years? Shocking!

              Trump is a master at Twitter and uses it to tout his accomplishments that would otherwise go unmentioned by the MSM? Scandalous!

              Your laundry list is full of exaggerations and falsehoods. Take ISIS for example. Trump never wanted to withdraw troops before ISIS was defeated, that’s just a lie. Rather, in full accordance with his campaign promises, he bolstered troop presence with an aggressive tactic of unleashing his generals to wage the ground war as they saw fit in real time. And that did indeed defeat ISIS; their whole mission was to conquer territory and occupy it as an Islamist caliphate, that vision is gone. That’s not to say every single ISIS member is dead or the dreams of a new caliphate will not spring up somewhere else in the world but in the territorial battle arena Trump was handed, he prevailed.

              Compare that to Obama, one of our worst foreign policy presidents. Obama allowed ISIS to form, gather strength and territory after his premature withdrawal from Iraq and then foolishly downplayed them as a “JV team” (completely underestimating their threat). When the horror of ISIS was to great for Obama to ignore he declared them a “generational problem” that presumably would continue their bloody rampage for decades. Trump was elected and they were defeated within months.

              • Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

                I think you’ve got to admit my assessment of Trump’s record is more in accordance with reality than yours.

                It’s a fact that Kushner was refused a security clearance until Daddy-in-law intervened.

                It’s a fact that Trump tried to order the US forces out of Syria before ISIS was defeated.

                It’s a fact that he has been outwitted by North Korea.

                It’s a fact that he prefers Putin’s version of events over that of his own security services.

                It’s a fact that he was unable to push through his health care ideas or his wall when the Republicans had control of Congress.

                It’s a fact that Trump supporters seem to have forgotten that anything that happened during Obama’s time is irrelevant to the Trump excuse of a presidency.

                It’s a fact that Trump has told more than 10,000 verified lies, many of them on Twitter.

              • rustybrown
                Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

                Nonsense. You present opinions and spin as facts. Stick with one, if it’s a fact it should be easy to prove: where’s the evidence Trump tried to order troops out of Syria before ISIS was defeated (whom, by the way, you said were NOT defeated in your last post)?

              • Posted May 6, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

                I think we’ve probably already gone too far under Da Roolz, dos I won’t respond to your comments on this post anymore except to say all the facts I listed are 100% verifiably accurate. I’m sorry that you are unable to accept the truth, but I suspect, no matter what evidence of Trump’s incompetence and dishonesty I post, you will ignore it.

                Please don’t waste your time with any more comments on this thread – I’m not going to read them. Instead, try, instead, researching the what’s really been happening under Trump’s presidency. You would do well to start by reading the actual Mueller report which is easily available on line.

              • rustybrown
                Posted May 6, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

                Well, to try to be in accordance with Da Roolz I will make this my last comment on this thread as well.

                I’ll just point out the impossibility of arguing with somebody who doesn’t understand what a fact is. Jeremy has listed several opinions directly above and proclaimed them to be unassailable facts (“100% verifiably accurate!”) when obviously there are other factors and points of view to discuss with each of them, while some are just flat out wrong. Take this “fact” of his for example:

                “It’s a fact that Trump supporters seem to have forgotten that anything that happened during Obama’s time is irrelevant to the Trump excuse of a presidency.”

                Not only is that not a fact, it’s incomprehensible and vague. And not only is it word salad, but on purely definitional terms it’s not a fact: he begins by stating “this is a fact” then immediately uses the ambiguous word “seems” and proceeds to read the mind of Trump supporters! But to jeremy this statement is apparently as inviolable as ‘the earth revolves around the sun’.

                To declare you possess the ultimate truth, express it in quick, prejudiced bromides and aphorisms, then refuse to substantiate your truth when asked but rather assert their impregnability once again is an extremely good description of religious conviction or perhaps the certainty of cultists.

                I’ll just close by noting that jeremy has not mustered himself to substantiate a single one of his “100% verifiably accurate facts”.
                That’s a fact.

        • rickflick
          Posted May 5, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          We live in graceless times.
          Amen.

      • Posted May 5, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Instead, the opposition party engaged … a three year witch hunt based on a Russian Hoax

        Have you read the Mueller report? The Russian interference in the 2016 was categorically not a hoax. Nor was the Mueller enquiry started by the opposition. It was authorised by Trump’s deputy attorney general and its head (Robert Mueller) is a Republican.

        Please stop gaslighting.

        • Posted May 5, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          “gaslighting”?

          • Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            It’s probably a bit of a strong accusation in the circumstances, nut it’s manipulating the narrative to make people believe something other than the truth.

            Donald Trump continually pushes the Democratic witch hunt meme in relation to the Mueller probe because he hopes people will believe it rather than the truth.

        • rustybrown
          Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          jeremy,

          Mueller’s charter was to not only look into Russian interference but also “any links or co-ordination between Russia and Trump campaign-linked individuals” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”. It is those last two points that the media has been breathlessly hyping these past three years and those two points that have proven to be a big. fat. Hoax.

          The origins of the Russian Collusion Hoax remain somewhat opaque, but what we know should disturb any American concerned with due process. The phony Steele Dossier, a document compiled by the Russians hired to do opposition research for the Democrats (talk about your collusion), was used as a pretext for spying on the Trump campaign by the outgoing administration. They used the media, leaks, and fevered gossip as an echo chamber loop to lend legitimacy to the bogus claims. There were wiretaps and unmasking of American citizens. And of course there was the Mueller witch hunt that came up empty in regards to the most serious charges.

          Barr is going to pursue this. There’s a lot more that’s going to be revealed, and it’s not going to look good for your side.

          • Posted May 5, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            Mueller’s charter was to not only look into Russian interference but also “any links or co-ordination between Russia and Trump campaign-linked individuals” and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”. It is those last two points that the media has been breathlessly hyping these past three years and those two points that have proven to be a big. fat. Hoax.

            But you agree that the charter was set by the Republican administration under Donald Trump and therefore it is false to characterise it as an opposition witch hunt.

            Barr is going to pursue this. There’s a lot more that’s going to be revealed, and it’s not going to look good for your side.

            The same Barr that falsely represented the Mueller report, according to Mueller himself and then lied to Congress about it?

            • rustybrown
              Posted May 5, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

              “But you agree that the charter was set by the Republican administration under Donald Trump and therefore it is false to characterise it as an opposition witch hunt.”

              Two things: The charter was only set AFTER the DNC Steele dossier, spying, and plenty of bogus “Russian Collusion” rumblings from the Democrats.

              And you’re mischaracterizing Trump’s opposition as being only Democrats. Trumps opposition is the Establishment. And that is very bipartisan, especially in the early days.

              “The same Barr that falsely represented the Mueller report, according to Mueller himself and then lied to Congress about it?”

              Barr did not misrepresent Mueller’s findings, Mueller said no such thing, and Barr didn’t lie about it.

      • Posted May 6, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        That’s an odd way to describe a devastating breach of national security at teh highest level, and simpering capitulation to a minor kleptocracy, and the subordination of foreign policy decisions to which ever bloated dictator happens to get on the phone with the biggest ignoramus in the history of politics.

        The only reason the US hasn’t already develoved into the violent authoritarian state that FMOTUS dreams of is because he is too stupid to learn from his mates how to implement it. His fascism is just as fake as almost everything else he does. (His only genuine skills are money laundering and playing his subordinates off against each other.)

        • Posted May 6, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          I would count being able to recruit mindless sycophants as one of Trump’s superpowers. He has a definite knack for making people believe his ridiculous lies. Even when presented with evidence of these lies, they tend to double-down rather than defect. This comes from his uncanny ability to make outrageous lies and appear to believe them 100%. When he claimed that he had the largest inauguration crowd, it seemed like he truly believed it. There’s also his complete shamelessness.

          When Trump is history, hopefully soon, I imagine his minions are going to walk among us as zombies who find themselves disconnected from the hive mind.

        • rustybrown
          Posted May 6, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Is this a parody of an anti-trumper? Well done!

  26. Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t think so.

    If you’re going to win over voters, you need to win them over – and that means putting across what sets you apart, what ideas people can rally behind.

    And what is their to rally behind with Biden, the fact that he supported the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005?

    How long was it between that and the banks collapsing the entire world economy again?

  27. Martin Knowles
    Posted May 5, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Sorry, we can do much better than Biden. He’s arrogant and ignorant and a creep.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Whom do you recommend with the best chance to defeat the noble Trump?

  28. Bob
    Posted May 5, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Biden’s comments about The Drumph being essentially the only problem, and that the Republi-cons are, by and large, not complicit and will suddenly behave honorably and honestly when The Drumph is gone are outrageous. That is a nutty, albeit, convenient position for him to take. If he can’t see and/or acknowledge the mendacious and anti-social attitude of the Republi-cons, then Biden is either craven or ignorant or both. He has never impressed as a competent or admirable leader and the polling that shows him far ahead is most troubling.

  29. littleboybrew
    Posted May 5, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Joe would not be my first choice, but Trump and his MAGA morons must be defeated. Please don;t let a potential Biden candidacy turn into another Hillary “but her emails..” moment.

  30. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted May 5, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Well, from abroad that would work – *anyone* should be better than Trump, he doesn’t even register as popular (< 10 % approval rate). Biden comes over as a bit eccentric in manner but not in politics; Sanders is nutty, that is not how socialism works in practice.

    The rest are international unknowns.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      “Biden comes over as a bit eccentric in manner but not in politics;”

      Apparently more than a bit eccentric, else it’s not worth the mention.

      Sanders is nutty, that is not how socialism works in practice.”

      Pray tell, how do you know that he is “nutty”? A supernatural revelation?

      “The rest are international unknowns.”

      In the beginning, anyone is an “international unknown.” First, any politico has to overcome being a domestic unknown. It’s like pulling teeth to get the Amuricun public intellectually curious about most anything.

  31. rickflick
    Posted May 6, 2019 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I just watched a clip on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah making fun of Joe Biden for making many mistakes during a speech, which indicates he’s a bit old for the job. Yes tRump slurs and mispronounces quite frequently, but Biden did not look sharp. I’m now pretty worried that he could handle a campaign for president. It might have to fall to a younger candidate.

    • Posted May 6, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Biden is well-known for his gaffes but virtually any politician that has been around for as long as he has can be made to look bad by stringing together all their worst moments. Besides, Biden can bring out a far more damaging gaffe reel if Trump tries to use this against him.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 6, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        I hope your minimization of the problem holds true. I’d certainly vote for him against tRump in any case. To me, he looked like he’s aged quite a bit in the last 4 years. I now worry, whereas before I did not.

        • Posted May 6, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          I worry about his age too but he’s the closest we have to a centrist and he doesn’t anoint himself with identity politics or pander to the radical left like some of the others.

  32. Stephen Wilson
    Posted May 6, 2019 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Am a registered Republican atheist, not quite conservative, lean Libertarian. Thought Hillary a self-serving, repulsive, corrupt, crook. Thought Trump a self-serving, repulsive, corrupt incompetent. Voted for Gary Johnson but Biden has my interest above all others.


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