Sunday, April 28, 2019

Does the Ghost of Paul von Hindenburg Live in Joe Biden?

Friends, you may well ask yourselves: is THIS the true face of Joe Biden?  What you're looking at is a picture of German President (and retired Field Marshal) Paul von Hinbenburg on his deathbed in 1934.  Sure, both Biden and Hindenburg are dead, or nearly so, but that's not my point.  Hindenburg is most famous for appointing Hitler to Germany's chancellorship in January 1933, but, as you'll see in my latest article, Hindenburg's presidential election victory in April 1932 may reveal important clues about Biden's strategy for victory in 2020.  Read on, and see what you think.  The analysis builds on my blog post on Thursday.

It's Official: Joe Biden is Running for President...of Germany in 1932

April 1932. Germany is seething with tension as it navigates the darkest days of the Great Depression. Political extremism is on the rise. Street battles between fascist and communist thugs are common. The German people, though, opt for sanity, decency. They re-elect as their President a retired Field Marshal and hero of the First World War, the elderly Paul von Hindenburg. The runner-up? The wild-eyed, aggressive populist Adolf Hitler of the Nazi Party. Germany — and all of Europe — breathes a collective sigh of relief. There will be no “Third Reich,” after all.

We all know how this story ends. Von Hindenburg, despite his election victory in 1932, is forced to accept Hitler as Chancellor in 1933. By 1934, Hindenburg is dead, and Hitler is F├╝hrer. Germany — and Europe — are doomed.

Joe Biden is hoping you've forgotten the last part of the story, because it's the first part that he wishes to replay in 2020. His campaign launch video makes that clear.

Biden argues that 2020 will be a simple, binary choice. On one side, you have Klansmen and Nazis, represented by the “white nationalist” protesters in Charlottesville in 2017, “bearing the fangs of racism,” who Donald Trump allegedly defended as “very fine people.” On the other side, you have innocent doves, true paragons of American decency, who reject “hate” and wait patiently for Nazi brutes to assault them and run them over with their cars. Trump, of course, is the champion of white supremacy, Nazism, and hate. Biden is the hero and defender of all that America stands for. He is, moreover, the “known quantity,” the trusty old war-horse who, like Paul von Hindenburg, can protect his country from fanatics and extremists.

Americans versus Nazis. An easy choice, right? Assuming no one thinks critically about Biden's message — and we can be pretty sure that no one in the Washington press corps will — he just might get away with it.

The inconvenient truth of the matter is that Biden is deliberately misrepresenting what happened in Charlottesville, vastly oversimplifying the nature of the protesters and counter-protesters, just as he is prevaricating about President Trump's remarks about “very fine people.” Trump never meant to include Klansmen, Nazis, or white supremacists, and he made that perfectly clear at the time.

So Joe Biden is a fraud. No matter — plenty of frauds have flourished in the long history of American presidential politics. Biden may be one of them.

Biden's gamble is that the American people despise Donald Trump so much that they will happily embrace a trusted, experienced “moderate” candidate — like Paul von Hindenburg or Joe Biden — over the disastrous alternative. Biden does not even bother to construct an argument for why he, geriatric Joe Biden, should be chosen over the other 20 Democratic candidates for the presidency. That, presumably, is beneath his dignity. He wants to keep it simple: it's kindly Uncle Joe versus all the racist monsters who haunt your left-of-center American dreams.

One other thing is clear from Biden's launch video. He intends to focus on minority voters. His message stokes the usual fears common among non-white Democrats: that America is full of white racists, who would happily assault you, re-segregate you, re-enslave you, and perhaps even kill you, if they weren't restrained by a benevolent federal government, presided over by a Democrat in the White House. 

Once again: America versus Nazis. It's the same morality play that liberals have been running for 60 years. Why change the plot now? Indeed, one wonders whether Biden would be capable of it.

The tired, disingenuous nature of Biden's candidacy does not mean that he will lose. The theme of anti-racism has endured in the Democratic Party, and in America, for so long because it works. Everyone hates racists. Ergo, if you paint your opponent as a racist, you have a good chance of winning.

It will be Trump's task, and the duty of Republicans and conservatives, to explain that it isn't the President or the GOP that is stoking racial antagonisms and exploiting racial fears and resentments. That would be the party of race preferences, of reparations, of identity politics, of political correctness, and of knee-jerk claims of discrimination. That would be the Democrats.

Race is indeed America's Achilles' heel — on that score Biden is right — but the Bidens of the world aren't part of the solution. They're at the center of the problem.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.


  1. Dr. Waddy: This is a very intriguing analogy.

    Hindenburg was not a willing stalking horse for Hitler; he probably despised him as would be expected from a "Von" who fought in the Franco-Prussian War and who had, despite his every instinct, been compelled by German post empire reality to deal with this (yes, truly) vulgar man, who for the perceptive, bore about him the deathly stench of fundamental, hellish evil.

    We have no office fully comparable to the German Chancellorship of that era. Perhaps the closest we come is Vice President, though our VP probably does not possess the then Chancellor's executive power (which Hitler no doubt extended as far as he dared at the time). But Hindenburg was very old and probably close to exhaustion and perhaps despair. He may well simply have given in to Hitler and we know what that monster did after Hindenburg passed.

    The left was always at ease with presuming that Reagan was dotty in his 70's. Let's hoist them on their own petard. It may be that the increasingly now dominant lala wing of the Dems sees him as an incipiently "out of it" dotard from whom they can easily wring the empowerment of one of their own, young and full of fanaticism comrades as a running mate. They may think it then a simple thing to get 'ol Joe to step aside sometime after their assured triumph in 2020 and enthrone the leftist savior. Oh, maybe they aren't that confident and would see this as a fallback strategy should anyone of their own fail at the convention.

    This does bear credible resemblance to Germany 1932. It may well be that AOC is the essence of the newly fallen Dems and that her eventual acsension to standard bearer is assumed and thought inevitable. A somewhat different sequence of events but the establishment of a totalitarian national executive would be the same.

  2. Dr. Waddy: Biden's fallback on the decades old leftist presumption of "Nazi"hood for all who disagree with the Dems is delicious stuff. One need only point to the exalted position in their party of those who profess devotion to the most murderous ideology of all, communism, and all of its discredited perceptions and intentions. People like MSM enabled leftist mouthpieces are honest about it as I see it: they stand for a belief which generated the murder of 100 million in the 20th century. Why, they made the Nazis look like neophytes in the crusade to bring hell to the very surface of the good old earth.(For what good? Huh!?)

    Oh poor old Joe can't hack this. He's never seen fundamental evil at work though he presumes to blat about it. Like Hindenburg, he may be harried into enabling it.

  3. True, Jack -- 1932 and 2020 are different in many ways. To me, the essential similarity is that an elderly, establishment candidate feels ENTITLED to defeat and frisk aside a populist upstart. Hindenburg was, well, a lot more entitled to his sense of entitlement. Biden is merely an old hand at kissing babies (and usually their mothers and older sisters, in the bargain).

    You're right that Biden could be a stalking-horse, but I frankly don't give the progressives that much credit. Using him thus would be smart, but I think this time they really believe they can elect one of their own. A few primary losses might get them to see reason, mind you.

    I don't take Biden's moralizing about Nazism all that seriously, but I suppose those on the Left might. To them, it's an article of faith that every Republican is a closet Klansmen...or worse. The problem with Biden's position may be that he's merely telling Dems what they already know, or think they know. At some point, he'll need to explain why anyone should CHOOSE to vote for Biden, instead of just against Trump. That where it could get tricky.

  4. D. Waddy: You're certainly right about Biden's sense of entitlement. When he takes the podium he bears the same presumptuous, self righteous smirk we saw written all over Dukakis, the Clintons and Al Gore.

    Aged Hindenburg had seen so much change, so much "sturm und drang"that he may not even have been living in the 20th century ; perhaps he had a sense of noblesse oblige straight out of the 19th.

  5. And who could blame him. The nature of the Nazi regime was probably unimaginable to anyone who came out of the 19th century -- and to most of those who came afterwards, for that matter...

  6. Dr. Waddy: That is very plausible. The optimistic 19th century probably culminated in 1919 and I say that to include the understandably made optimistic expectations of the Edwardians and their cruel rebuff in the trenches. The ensuing 20th century was terra incognita beyond that for them. But it provided us of this time with a thorough test of the incipient ideologies of that time. If only they had known!