Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Has Uncle Joe Lost His Way?

Friends, my latest article considers the travails of the Biden campaign, which seems to be foundering on the rocks of left-wing extremism and intolerance.  See if you agree...

Joe Biden: The Bloom is Off the Rose

Poor Sleepy Joe. He just can't catch a break. 

Recently he abandoned his decades-long support of the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions, in favor of a more fashionably pro-choice, anti-baby stance. A no-brainer, right? Throw some red meat to the left-wing party faithful and reap the inevitable rewards...

Only this time it didn't work. Once the grassroots got a taste of Biden's red meat, they promptly bit the hand that fed them. They rejected Biden's progressive overture as inauthentic, and they questioned why he hadn't been 100% pro-abortion all along.

Biden's problem is two-fold. First, he's essentially a moderate, and he's undeniably an elderly white male. The Democratic Party of 2019 doesn't cotton to any of these descriptors. Moderates are now castigated on the Left as sellouts, as enablers of corporate greed, reactionary social policies, and possibly even Trumpism. To the left-wing zealots, a moderate is someone who doesn't automatically spit in the face of all Trump voters, gun owners, churchgoers, and other “deplorables” — and to fail to despise these villains with sufficient fervor is to be complicit in their (imagined) crimes. 
Modern leftists demand total and unthinking submission to progressive values and to the left-wing agenda, along with the ostracism of all dissenters. Even under the best of circumstances, an elderly white male would be a contemptible figure to this crowd, but, if he fails to check every box in terms of ideology, he is most assuredly doomed.

Although Biden can't become any less old or white, he could theoretically become less male. That would be a start, in leftist eyes, but we can safely assume that Biden, at age 76, is too set in his ways to take the leap into transgenderism. 

That leaves only one alternative: in lieu of changing his identity, Biden must ditch at least a portion of his moderation. By migrating to the left, he can theoretically appease the Sanders-Warren wing of his party and rally more progressives to his side. But it's not so easy.

Not only do today's left-wingers demand total conformity with their radical views and agenda — they are also relentlessly historically-minded. That is to say, they consider it good sport to rifle through a person's past statements, past relationships, or past political positions and decisions, to try to root out any deviation from current progressive standards. This is why statues are being toppled willy-nilly on college campuses and in city parks across the nation — liberals can't abide the celebration, or even the normalization, of anyone who doesn't tow the line politically (the whole line, mind you). Being dead for centuries is no excuse. In Biden's case, being nearly dead elicits no sympathy either.

Simply put, liberals are out for blood, and even an act of abject submission or contrition, performed under duress or too late in the day, is liable to be rebuffed. Mercy is simply not a virtue that left-wingers recognize. This makes it hard for the Bidens of this world to migrate leftwards, when liberals are apt to see this as mere pandering and as a sign of weakness. Their haughty, dismissive reaction to Biden's abandonment of the Hyde Amendment proves as much. “Too little, too late” is their refrain.

So what is the lesson here for Biden? It may be that 2020 is just not his year. Biden was a useful source of legitimation and avuncular affection for the progressive superhero, Barack Obama, but those days are in the past. Biden's relevance in the age of #MeToo-ism, identity politics, intersectionality, gender fluidity, and “democratic socialism” is highly questionable. 

Biden's easiest path to the Democratic nomination was always along the lines of a coronation. By simply grinning away and becoming a somewhat more pallid, skeletal version of his old, charming self, while the progressive wing of the Democratic Party formed a circular firing squad and destroyed itself, Biden might have walked into the Democratic convention relatively unscathed and as the nominee by acclimation. The latest polls in Iowa, however, indicate that Biden's appeal is already waning, and the hard-left is gaining on him. And this is before any of the other two dozen candidates for the Democratic nomination have even fired a broadside in Biden's direction. No, if Biden can't keep his head above water even in this, the friendliest and mildest stage of the nominating contest, he won't do well at all in the no-holds-barred phase that is sure to come.

Poor Sleepy Joe. He just can't catch a break. He missed the presidential boat in 1988 and in 2008, and he seems destined to miss it again, and for the last time, in 2020.

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.

And here's the American Greatness version: 


  1. Dr. Waddy: Aw, he's an affable goof he is. He still ain't shut of the comical plagiarism problem and his campaign seems to have the "gaffes" just as bad as he does. I can empathize; I'm a klutz too.

    How can any 76 year old endure the attenuated spectacle of a Presidential campaign especially when success assures one of a life of unrelenting sturm und drang? OK, Bernie does but he's a crank.

    Gotta hand it to those lefties; they ain't going for no bill of goods and simply don't believe him when he says he's changed his mind. Its refreshing in a detached sense to see that kind of refusal to abide a guy who fronts. They REALLY DO want an unabashed radical don't they! Trump has forced them out in the open; they cannot contain their insane hatred for him for his insolent denial to them of ultimate victory and cascading glass in the Javits Center. In the frenzy of their antipathy they cannot but be convinced that an impatient electoral super majority awaits their vindication in 2020 and will embrace any manner of dreamy savior cynically offered them. The Dems actually think they can foist an honest leftist extremist on enough of "America" to defeat the real America. Joe doesn't fit the bill but then Hubert didn't in the last completely honest radical effort in 1968 and he did get the nomination. Oh who can say? This is going to be high comedy.

  2. Dr. Waddy,
    I really believe that Creepy Joe has dementia or some sort of mental illness. Thanks Jack for your comments, which I do share. The hate is real and they are no longer hiding it.

    Apologies for not visiting here in a long time. One semester left at Geneseo (three upper 400 level classes) and I elected to take the extra semester for the senior capstone project-which was approved and I am continuing to work on.

  3. Jack, you're right -- we have to chuckle at the circus that's developing among the Democrats. After all, it's either laugh or cry, and they'll be plenty of time for crying if somehow, someway the Dems manage to win in 2020... But I agree that it seems many Dems have decided this is the year to go full-bore socialist/progressive. I'm actually starting to believe they might be dumb enough to nominate Warren! Extraordinary.

    Linda, welcome back! We missed you. Hang in there with your studies. They will certainly pay off. Dementia? Could be. Unfortunately diminished mental faculties are not a disqualifier for high political office, as many politicians have proven over the years!

  4. Thanks Dr. Waddy. How true about the dementia/mental faculties not being a disqualifier for high political office. He is just one "odd duck". grin

  5. Dr. Waddy and Linda: Nixon won with only a plurality in 1968 and I think the Dems consequently thought he would be easily beatable in '72. So they nominated one they would not have in any other year; "Why, against Nixon, he's a slam dunk so let's go for it!" NOT! I see a distinct similarity now; their insane hatred actually motivates them to believe that anyone bearing their now naked far leftist convictions will win. They are in for another '72.

    Of course anything COULD happen but I will not spend the next year and a half enmired in the dread I had of Madame Hillary.And I'm completely confident the real America WILL turn out on election day because these arrogant and presumptuous radicals will be blithe to supply us all the needed motivation.

  6. Hear hear, to both of you!

    I hope you're right about 2020, Jack. I concur that it doesn't make any sense to sit around wringing one's hands about it. Interesting perspective on '72. Did the Dems really think Nixon would be easy to beat? Boy, were they wrong!

  7. This polling info would argue that the Dems should have seen the McGovernite apocalypse coming:

  8. Dr. Waddy: That was the way I remembered '72 but the empirical evidence you presented is far more credible. I disdained Nixon then and that just may have caused me to think that way.

  9. Perhaps, Jack. It's amazing that Nixon was able to amass such popularity despite the fact that the MSM loathed him. He was a political wizard, in many ways. Such a shame that it all came crashing down.

  10. Dr. Waddy: I think it was tragic. He had the election of '60 stolen from him by the (ironically thuggish,considering who they empowered) Cook Co. gang, he knew it and he gallantly refrained from contesting it. He really was a self made man, who had done us yeoman duty by prosecuting Alger Hiss, who he knew to be guilty as - - - -, despite his vicious treatment by the disdainful press. He was denied the Presidency he would have filled well by an aristocratic swell;had he won he would probably have prevented the Cuban Missile Crisis and Watergate would not have happened because it was a product of his fear of another defeat by an undeserving Kennedy clan voluptuary. He was a regular kind of guy for whom his castigation by the press,the DC elite and the monumentally naive boomers caused him visible personal pain. He was deemed"unfashionable" after he arrived on the national scene and since no one dared attack Ike, bore the brunt of resentment that the Republicans had returned. I do not know enough about the history of the U.S. press to understand why they despised him; the boomers were in first grade after all. Maybe it was because of the crude McCarthy; Nixon's attack on U.S. communism was far better conducted than was McCarthy's but he still suffered because of perceived association with the Wisconsin Senator. In retrospect, since we know now that Stalinist infiltration of the Federal government was a real threat, style was a very minor consideration when dealing with such a monstrous prospect.

  11. I certainly agree that Nixon was a self-made man, and served his country well in countless ways. Why the media hated him so is an interesting question. He dared to disagree with the "progressive" crowd. That's strike one. In addition, though, let's face it -- Nixon wasn't inherently likeable. He was somewhat awkward and less than beautiful. He was the opposite of chic or sophisticated. In Truman the press found these everyman qualities admirable. In Nixon they were loathsome. Go figure. If Nixon had been a leftist, no doubt he would have been written up as one of our greatest Presidents ever. And Watergate? What Watergate?