Lots and lots of people dunked on Bill de Blasio over this claim on social media, which on its face does sound ridiculous. Joe Biden has been in Washington DC for nearly fifty years and went through two successful presidential elections with Barack Obama. How can Biden not have been “vetted,” as de Blasio claimed earlier today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe?
Joe Scarborough sounds just as skeptical as the chattering class did afterward, but de Blasio actually has a valid point:
— CaseStudyQB – #RankedChoiceVoting (@CaseStudyQB) March 10, 2020
“Joe Biden hasn’t been vetted. He was in a perfect position: Early front-runner and then everyone thought he wasn’t gonna make it, turned their attention to [Mike Bloomberg], Bernie [Sanders], even to [Elizabeth] Warren for a while,” the mayor told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough in an interview on “Morning Joe.” “Joe Biden has a lot of issues he needs to speak to. If we don’t deal with it now, in the family, and have that blunt discussion, Donald Trump will.” …
“Donald Trump got impeached because he was so desperate to dig up dirt on Joe Biden,” Scarborough said. “Do you really think that Americans are going to believe that Joe Biden hasn’t been vetted enough?”
“I do,” de Blasio said, citing Biden’s more conservative positions on Social Security, criminal justice and the Iraq war.
Biden’s vetting as a running mate was sufficient for its purpose, which was to answer the most important question: “will he embarrass Barack Obama?” Biden did that less than one would perhaps have predicted, given his repeated attempts to stuff his foot into his mouth on the presidential campaign trail. It didn’t matter much anyway, because voters don’t cast ballots for running mates — they vote for presidential candidates.
What de Blasio means here is that Biden hasn’t really been tested as a presidential candidate — and he’s absolutely right. Except for Kamala Harris, no one went hard after Biden in the primaries, preferring to duke it out with each other at first over who was the most electable progressive. Later, they started competing against each other for the moderate lane when Bernie Sanders soared, but still mostly gave Biden a pass.
As I noted in my previous post, Biden’s not in position to win the nomination now so much because of his own skills, but because Sanders self-imploded. His communists apologias came late enough in the cycle to scare Democrats back into Biden’s column, despite all of his apparent baggage. That doesn’t mean the baggage is gone, however, or that Biden has much improved from his status as a candidate who damn near let it all slip away to a useful idiot in the first place. He’s just extraordinarily lucky. And that luck will run out just as soon as the convention is over.