Joe Biden Crowns Elizabeth Warren As Next Barack

Joe Biden, whose presidential campaign has no clear rationale, targeted Elizabeth Warren this week in a scathing Medium post. Biden is still carrying a cross, against doctor's orders, after Warren accused him of running in the "wrong party's primary." Uncle Joe didn't like that because he's been a Democrat for literally ever.

BIDEN: I have fought for the Democratic party my whole career. I know what we stand for, who we stand with and what we believe. And it's not just policies or issues. It's in my bones. That's not something everyone in this primary can say.

Political party affiliation does not exist in anyone's bones. This is questionable logic and even worse biology. What the Democratic party represents is entirely about "policies and issues," and it's OK for a party to change. It's not Coca-Cola. Biden himself was a member of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, which responded to the Reagan Revolution by pushing the party to the center. The following Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, both described themselves as "New Democrats," as in not like the "old" ones who can't get elected dog catcher. Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and even Bernie Sanders if he can commit long term are "New New Democrats." People need to stop reacting to this as a hostile "hard-left takeover." It's perfectly normal and democratic.

Biden also "subtly" reminds us that Warren was not always a Democrat. He of all people should understand that political allegiances change over time. He's boasted of his remarkably cordial working relationship with Southern Democratic white supremacists like Herman Talmadge and James O. Eastland. Had either man not died and gone straight to hell, without passing go or collecting $200, they would've been perfectly comfortable at a Donald Trump rally.

Ronald Reagan was a Democrat until 1962. He endorsed conservative Barry Goldwater in '64 over the far more moderate Nelson Rockefeller. Warren has been a Democrat longer than Reagan was a registered Republican when he challenged President Gerald Ford in 1976 and later won the presidency in 1980. I don't know if Ford supporters back in the day tried to attack Reagan as a former Democrat who might've -- gasp! -- voted for FDR, but if they did, it obviously failed because it's stupid.

Reagan: I was once a

Former Republicans tell Democrats what to do all the time. A day barely passes without a concern trolling article advising us that abandoning abortion rights and almost all social justice issues is the only way to defeat Trump. And we should listen to the people who couldn't stop him in the first place. Centrist Democrats welcome their criticisms because they're conservatives and support Biden, as well as some other moderates you barely know exist.

So-called "Third Way" Democrats believe the only way to win elections is with a middle-of-the-road approach. Just camp out in the center lane and let the other drivers pass you. They're not just convinced they're right. They take credit for any minor success Democrats achieve over the years. If we'd demanded more, we'd have lost everything, as if universal health care and a living wage are like suggesting a threesome to your spouse. The voters might be into a swinging Green New Deal, but the centrists think it's too risky to even discuss.

"New New Democrats" like Warren, Sanders, and AOC aren't interested in this approach, even if it works and there's ample evidence that it doesn't. Centrists like Biden won't accept this as a mere difference of opinion. They insist on viewing it as a personal attack.

BIDEN: [Warren's] attacks reflect an angry unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics. If someone doesn't agree with you — it's not just that you disagree — that person must be a coward or corrupt or a small thinker.

But what does it mean to "disagree" with, say, progressive viewpoints. If you legitimately don't think a particular leftist policy is right for America, then yes, it's unfair to imply you're a "coward or corrupt or a small thinker." But if you're afraid you'll lose the House because you can't "sell" Medicare For All to people in Michigan you've never met, that's hardly a profile in courage. It's even a little cynical. Medicare For All supporter Rashida Tlaib is from Michigan, but centrists often treat her like she lives in LiberalNotReallyAmericanStan.

BIDEN: It's representative of an elitism that working and middle class people do not share: "We know best; you know nothing". "If you were only as smart as I am you would agree with me."

What's truly "elitist" is when career politicians who made a deal in the Senate gym to confirm Clarence Thomas try to speak for the "working and middle class." I'd like to end this romanticism of any class or creed of American. We are all equally stupid. Making the effort to un-dumbass yourself is what sets you apart from others.

Here's what I find hilarious: Biden's annoyed that Warren suggested that he was repeating "Republican talking points" about her Medicare For All plan, and his response is to empty a compost bin of rotting Republican talking points about how she's an "elitist" who thinks she's "smarter" than other people. It's not just a silly argument. It's exactly how conservatives attacked "Professor" Obama for eight years. As early as the 2008 campaign, CNN wondered if the "elitist" label would stick to Obama. He managed to dispatch his primary and general election rivals who both accused him of elitism, but the charge would hang over his head during the lowest points of his presidency.

New York Times

Michael Gerson called Obama a "snob" in a 2010 Washington Post op-ed. You might find his criticism eerily familiar.

Obama clearly believes that his brand of politics represents "facts and science and argument." His opponents, in disturbing contrast, are using the more fearful, primitive portion of their brains. Obama views himself as the neocortical leader -- the defender, not just of the stimulus package and health-care reform but also of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains -- the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not.

NeverTrumper Bill Kristol even called Obama "arrogant" for apologizing the wrong way.

Kristol calls Obama an "arrogant man"

During the final year of Obama's presidency, when Trump had already won the GOP nomination, the National Review fired parting shots at Obama: He was a "divisive" president who "brooked no dissent."

At the funeral service for five slain Dallas cops, President Barack Obama delivered another one of his needlessly politicized lectures. As is customary these days, those who were critical of his rhetoric were branded racists and unthinking haters.

That's one theory. Another one is that people may be put off by Obama's grating habit of turning every tragedy into a sermon about our supposed collective failings.

Biden and Pete Buttigieg both seem to think they can be Obama without being treated like Obama. They should check the fine print. Trying to pin the "elitist" label on Warren is almost like officially passing to Obama torch to her. Although Biden's "endorsement" reflects his own lack of self-awareness, Warren is probably gracious enough to accept it anyway.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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