Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dinner Plate Joe Is Not Your Uncle


     I don't consider Joe Biden to be an electable candidate. I think his strength in the polls is soft. I think his record is full of glaring cracks that will cause that support to fall apart under close attention. I think when Bernie Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire, black voters who have been saying Biden is their first choice and Bernie is their second will flip it around because they will believe Bernie is a winner. His record is what interests me here. I think Joe Biden's unelectability is less important the high likelihood that he would be a very bad President for the American working class if he were elected. Joe Biden is not your blue collar uncle. He's a career politician who has built his success on standing on the other side of the door and pushing progressive ideas out of the room all his life.

     To quote the linked 2018 piece for Paste Magazine by Walker Bragman,
   
    "One of the main criticisms of Hillary Clinton this past election was that she was inexorably close to Wall Street, having accepted campaign contributions from the likes of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and of course, her paid speeches. Well, Biden may just be worse."

     Walker likes fancy words. I do too sometimes. What he said in plain language is that if you thought Hillary Clinton was on your boss and your landlord's side, good old "Uncle Joe" is worse. Biden's very first event after launching his campaign was at the home of a Comcast executive and Republican donor. Another of these donors is a high level lobbyist for my old employer, a business services contracting firm called Conduent that runs toll roads and call centers. Conduent used to be "Xerox Services." We're talking about a major player. So much for the myth of Working Class Joe. Lobbyists and donors were the people who mattered to him when it was time to kick things off.

     Ordinary working class people aren't going to like this and Joe, via the media, will keep rubbing it in our faces until we want to bathe. He's not going to magically shift everything to appeal to grassroots donors at this stage in his career. He's not even pretending to do so. He's taken over $3M from the "lawyer/lobbyist" donor category already. Dinner Plate Joe is deeply tied to the American oligarchs. He's running to keep the status quo firmly in place for the corporate landlords who dominate that oligarchy. If he named Mike Bloomberg is running mate, would you really be surprised?

     This should hurt his chances. Whether it will or not depends on how successful the Bernie Sanders campaign is at genuinely organizing, harnessing, and directing a working class, progressive movement. If working class, millennial turnout is high then Joe Biden will not be the nominee. That's good news.

      The most telling evidence against Biden's working class street cred is his career long crusade to make big deals with Republicans to cut or means test Social Security and Medicare. As Ryan Grim writes in the linked Intercept piece,
"AS EARLY AS 1984 and as recently as 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden called for cuts to Social Security in the name of saving the program and balancing the federal budget."
     That's right, Joe Biden called for cuts to Social Security as recently as 2018. That's something to keep in mind when trying to decide whether he still intends to do what he said he wants to do. In 2018, Joe Biden was presumably getting ready to run for President. If he was speaking off the cuff on Social Security at the time, it was very likely in the context of a future Biden Presidency. Why else mention it at all?

     This is the famous video that the Biden campaign said was doctored and Politifact says was not shown in context. My cat's hairballs smell better than those excuses.

     If you watch the full video included in the Intercept piece, this completely falls to pieces. Biden very specifically recommends exactly the same policy solutions that had been recommended by Paul Ryan. Joe Biden thinks we're spending too much money on retirement benefits and medical coverage for senior citizens. Joe Biden thinks we need to cut social spending on retirement benefits and healthcare coverage for senior citizens.

     Let's be very clear and politically incorrect. Cutting spending on retirement benefits and healthcare coverage for senior citizens means letting old people die. You can't pretty it up or hide that fact without lying. If you pin liberals who recommend such actions down on their reasons, they will refuse that budget cuts equal responsibility for deaths rather than deny that people will die. Think about what this means: the people who advocate for budget cuts know people will die but don't want to accept responsibility for those deaths, despite advocating for the cause of those deaths.

     Do the candidates think about these things the same way their supporters do? Is it worse if they do or worse if they are out of touch and blissfully ignorant?

     Dinner Plate Joe isn't our uncle and he isn't our friend. Just say no to Dinner Plate Joe.

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