Say it ain’t so, Joe. Or what, me worry?

We await a persuasive argument that explains how and why Joe Biden will be the Democratic David to take down this Goonish Goliath.


Of the fistful of better choices last Tuesday, how did millions of well-meaning, “pragmatic” Dems anoint the least potent, faltering, most baggage-laden figure as Trump killer?  What other top Democrat presents a riper punching bag for Trump’s onslaught of scandalous low blows? Talk about wishing upon a (fallen) star. Yes, comrades, Sanders (and Warren) offer far more agility at dressing down an ignorant, lying egomaniac who daily makes a mockery of reality.

Exactly what makes Biden the presidential giant killer, other than obsolete assumptions no progressive can outbox or outfox our dirtiest politician ever? Not recent polling, summarized by Robert Reich:  “In the latest polling average from RealClearPolitics, Bernie beats Trump by the widest margin of all candidates.  . . . And recent polls show Bernie beating Trump in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two crucial battleground states.”

Even the bilious billionaires were more focused on more compelling issues, like climate change or gun control, even taxing the rich, and with more enthusiasm than a guy giving geriatrics a bad name. What, more than residual linkages to Obama, promotes this monumental mediocrity — whose South Carolina win was a primary career first?

Southern comfort, not deliverables

So, why the Biden surge? We won’t learn much from Wash Post’s Eugene Robinson who oddly echoes Rep. Clyburn’s SC simplistic endorsement, “I know Joe. We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us.” Right, we (and Trump lackeys) all know Joe all too well, warts pockmarking an excruciating legacy.  Even more weirdly, Robinson reaches a conclusion opposite to mine, “I took ‘Joe knows us’ as an appeal to the essential pragmatism of African American voters. We are not in the habit of chasing rainbows.” Oh please, enlighten us about Joe’s pragmatic “rainbow” appeal: his greatest fan pluralities, white and black, are either making plans for or residing in old folks’ homes.

What’s “pragmatic” about having zero new ideas, as if the marginal Obama status quo answers this Trump era of mass destruction? Clearly, anxious centrist/conservative Dems voters (except in “radical” hotbeds like CA, UT or CO) ran from Sanders’ anything-but-revolutionary socialism, buying the outlandish hype Bernie is a commie who hates capitalism and private property.  What about his repeated endorsements of free market, European, safety-net capitalist nations?

Not only was Sanders’ FDR-style “socialism” inflated into Armageddon, what the Tuesday primary also felled was its opposite: craven attempts to buy the nomination. Never has so much “venture capital” been so badly squandered — with “returns” to shame any billionaire hedge fund manager.  How exactly did the savvy Bloomberg accumulate $56 billion? What about a few bucks for advance national polling? Perhaps this distasteful episode will teach rich people with money to burn they can’t buy Democratic party power (unlike suckered rightwingers).  You can’t buy electoral love like McMansions, great art, or remote islands free of riffraff. 

What about Warren?

Okay, if so many of Robinson’s fellow voters are so pragmatic, why were they downright allergic to Elizabeth Warren, self-declared “capitalist” whose anti-corruption crusade should delight all minority Never Trumpers? Too white?  Too smart? Too attentive a listener (just watch any interview)?  Tragically, I say the wrong gender IMO for this backward age. Exemplifying great range, planning and brainpower, plus more control of her narrative than Bernie, no figure watches Warren’s communication skills.  She can translate the complex into the understandable — superior even to Obama.

I get why the angry, dismissive Sanders, oblivious to bad connotations on his needlessly “socialist” rhetoric, scares establishment-friendly voters. But if Warren isn’t the icon of articulate, progressive pragmatism, without serious baggage or scandal, who is?  How can a folksy, mid-westerner get reduced to bogeyman — dismissed mainly for not being a man?  Compared to Biden, Warren is the rapid-fire, stable genius who doesn’t have to yell to make points. For me, this seventy-year old marvel dramatizes Biden’s diminished debate capacity — representing the best, now lost antidote to Trump malarky. 

‘Pragmatism’ off the rails

In any case, by what logic (if any) do voters truly believe the energetic, impassioned Sanders or the brilliant Warren won’t match up against the Dismal Donald, a walking, talking nonsense machine?  One insight Biden’s thunderous Tuesday triumph produced is you don’t need much thunder when surface inoffensiveness displaces genuine merits.

Okay, Biden can seem calm (or unfazed, for progressives out of touch) against the Trump chaos juggernaut, but so would a ham sandwich.  What real-world grounds — other then as comfort food — ignited this Biden groundswell?  His first, wandering commentary afterwards (verifying his campaign isn’t dead) reminded me of a smiling zombie quick from the grave, lauding his own unexpected fate. Reminiscent also of a laid-off parent of five who just won the lottery.

For me, Biden’s win is far more about Trump fatigue, plus the unjustified anxiety the not-so-radical “socialist”  engenders.  Now the question remains whether Sanders can quickly learn to communicate as well as Warren.  He could then better package his New New Deal so that, transcending the not great Obama era, instead touting the greatest reform president ever, FDR, and the first Progressive Era.

What, me worry?

All the while, the Terrible Trumpster invokes Mad magazine’s emblem of detachment from reality, Alfred E. Newman. Really, what mere germ (talk about an illegal, undocumented alien!) has the unspeakable gall to impede his highness’s re-election bid?  Right, not only freaking out the stock market, but likely killing thousands of wannabe “pragmatic” oldsters the GOP hasn’t yet driven from the voting rolls. Trump in dotage.

Can Biden’s cognitive faltering become some great lever against Trump’s derangement — especially if more visible by the summer?  In fact, since winning the presidency today is all about media performance, my worry is Trump is the better actor.  He certainly has no scruples or checks on bad faith. Think we’ve seen Trump’s worst — not hardly.  Wait until the corrupt Racist-in-Chief calls Biden not just “sleepy” but corrupt and a hypocritical racist, just another elitist “socialist” who (curiously) wants to shred Social Security (twittered today).

We await a persuasive argument that explains how and why Joe Biden will be the Democratic David to take down this Goonish Goliath? If the Biden primary parade succeeds — and next week is ominous — imagine the chills and thrills of a Biden-Trump face-off.  Nothing speaks to the the descent of America like this pathetic “public option,” making Frick and Frack look downright appealing.  Foreigners (and rationalists) can rightly ask, “is this the best from the once great western power”?


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.