Remember when Joe Biden was marketing himself as the strong, steady Democrat in the presidential primary? He resisted calling for President Trump’s impeachment even when most of the other candidates did. That changed Wednesday.
Biden joined the chorus of Democrats demanding President Trump’s impeachment – not simply to investigate and hold impeachment inquiries. He jumped all the way to impeachment. He slowly got to this point after starting in April to call for hearings.
Biden had been more cautious than his Democratic competitors to call for impeachment. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is neck-and-neck with Biden in recent polls, called for an impeachment inquiry into Trump in April after former special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In late September, Biden made his call for an impeachment inquiry conditional and said if Trump did not cooperate with Congress, he would leave lawmakers with “no choice” but to start impeachment proceedings. Later that same day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. Pelosi’s call came after Trump admitted to discussing Biden and his son, Hunter, in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and after dozens of House Democrats — many from moderate or Trump-won districts — announced their support for an inquiry.
The tone and much of the speech reminded me of Mitt Romney’s diatribe against Trump in March 2016 when Mitt called him all sorts of names in a last-ditch effort to derail Trump’s nomination. Biden called Trump a coward and a bully. “He’s shooting holes in the Constitution and we cannot let him get away with it.”
And all I hear is blah, blah, blah.
With his call for impeachment, Biden now makes himself indistinguishable from the others. The candidate who is supposed to be the comfortable old shoe who is reasoned and a safe alternative to the socialists running for the Democrat nomination now sounds like the far-left ideologues who toss due process out the window while claiming that it is Trump who is going against the Constitution.
Biden did what many Trump critics do – he claims Trump is doing what “no president in history” has done. That’s ironic because many conservatives, including myself, distinctly remember having the same thoughts during the Obama administration.
“Trump will do anything to get re-elected, including violating the most basic forms of democracy. It’s stunning, and it’s dangerous,” Biden said. He added, “No president in history has dared to engage in such unimaginable behavior.”
Good old Joe was just fine with Obama and Pelosi ramming through Obamacare on a party-line vote and hijacking 1/6 of the American economy, politicizing every government agency and department you can think of, and Obama’s public berating of Republicans at every opportunity. Remember when Obama said, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”? Doesn’t that kind of language fall into “do anything to get re-elected” territory? That was then and this is now.
I keep waiting for someone to tell me specifically exactly what it is that Trump has done to require that he be impeached. Biden’s jumping on the impeachment bandwagon now shows that he is worried about three things.
First, Biden is sinking in the polls and he’s no longer the frontrunner. He is now bouncing back and forth with Elizabeth Warren for the top spot in the RCP average. Yesterday she was 0.2 ahead of him and this morning as I write this, Biden is 0.2 ahead of Warren. She still leads him by 2.7 in Iowa while Biden is ahead of Warren in New Hampshire by 1.4. He delivered his impeachment speech in New Hampshire yesterday, by the way.
Second, Biden is old. He is older than Trump and Warren but younger than Bernie Sanders. Biden has his own health concerns to worry about. The latest physical sign of his frailty was the bloody eye incident during the debate. While Biden loves to boast about how macho he is by saying things like he’ll beat Trump “like a drum” or saying how he’d take a bully like Trump behind the gym and beat the hell out of him, he appears frail. He stammers when he speaks and often sounds confused.
Third, the investigation into Trump’s handling of the phone call with Zelensky opens up a can of worms for Biden and his family. The family’s corruption is now in the spotlight. There is an interesting article at The Intercept that lays out some of Biden’s problems due to his son Hunter and brother James using the family name to enrich themselves. The online publication is liberal – you just have to skip over the obvious conservative-bashing language as the author tells the story.
But that doesn’t mean the Bidens’ behavior isn’t a legitimate problem for Democrats. Indeed, Biden has been taking political hits over of the intersection of his family’s financial dealings and his own political career for some four decades. Yet he has done nothing publicly to inoculate himself from the charge that his career is corruptly enriching his family, and now that is a serious liability. By contrast, one of his opponents in the presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., went so far as to refuse to endorse his son Levi Sanders when he ran for Congress, saying that he does not believe in political dynasties. In defending the Biden’s nepotistic relationship, Democrats would be forced to argue that, to be fair, such soft corruption is common among the families of senior-level politicians. But that’s a risky general-election argument in a political moment when voters are no longer willing to accept business-as-usual. For now, Biden’s opponents in the presidential campaign appear to all hope that somebody else will make the argument, while congressional Democrats don’t want to do anything to undermine their impeachment probe. And so Biden skates.
I wrote about Sanders refusing to endorse his son, Levi, back in June 2018.
It all boils down to this – Joe is nervous and his campaign isn’t going well. The people around him seem to be unable to jumpstart excitement about his candidacy and Elizabeth Warren has the enthusiasm of primary voters and crowds to move her ahead. The contrast between Warren and Biden is noticeable. At age 70, she is the Energizer Bunny compared to Biden. At this point, the lead spot is hers to lose.