Governor Bob Ehrlich Commentaries

The Real Joe Biden

Maybe this time the traditional old rule applies: “It’s all about the incumbent.” Or, more precisely, “It’s only about the incumbent.”

Such an arrangement seems suitable to all. Per former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats and their media enablers: The less coming from Joe’s basement, the better.

It follows that little else about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is deemed particularly newsworthy — not his procrastination in making his VP pick, not his platform, not his son’s questionable ethics, not his neurological instead of mental health, not his barely visible campaign structure.

NeverTrumpers of both parties are also on board. They are determined to keep the focus on all (negative) things Trump. And so far, so good. A man who has serious difficulties stringing two sentences together or finishing thoughts is up 9 points over President Donald Trump in the latest Real Clear Politics average. Who would have thunk?

Still, it is difficult to believe this status quo will hold for another 115 days. A couple of percentage points worth of undecideds are always available in the up-for-grabs purple states. At some point, these voter-kingmakers will look to the current status of Joe’s “big ideas” — the prominent policies that have defined his public career. Here is a sampling of what will they find:

Busing

1970s-era school integration was met with a decided lack of enthusiasm in many Northern precincts. Biden reflected this selective taste for civil rights in his public pronouncements. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the young senator’s otherwise solid liberal credentials made the memory of this stance disappear over time.

Even now, the mainstream media is remarkably uninterested in this unsavory chapter of the Biden saga.

Parenthetical thought: Imagine the consternation among the media if a young Senator Trump had the same stain on his early public record …

China

Robert Gates, who was defense secretary under President Barack Obama, put it most succinctly when he observed that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” This indictment is especially accurate with respect to China.

Besides acquiescing to Beijing’s coronavirus narrative, Biden has regularly dismissed the notion that we should be concerned about China’s economic sabotage: “They are not competition for us. …China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.” Come on man, indeed.

1994 Crime Bill

It may be easy to forget today, but Rep. Newt Gingrich and an energized Republican base were just waiting to pounce on a weakened Bill Clinton and Congressional Democrats as the 1994 midterms approached.

The suddenly defensive Democrats were accordingly intent on strengthening their tough on crime bona fides — which they did in the form of the 1994 crime bill. Notably, the legislation did nothing to fix the disparate weight ratio between crack (then an allegedly black drug) and powder (then an allegedly white drug) cocaine required to trigger enhanced criminal penalties. Hence was born a rallying cry for the Congressional Black Caucus that lasted until the Fair Sentencing Act was passed in 2010.

In the end, Biden helped create the problem; he had no part in its resolution.

Green New Deal

Biden’s handlers have been smart enough to distance him from a full-scale endorsement. Yet the campaign has been strong in its condemnation of the fossil fuels economy.

It is fair to conclude that “Scranton Joe” opposes Western Pennsylvania’s natural gas revolution and the thousands of union jobs that have been produced by new drilling technology.

America’s newfound energy independence under President Trump is real. All those Pittsburgh-based union Democrats have a right to know if Joe intends to close them down — as do all voters.

Obamacare

Live mics captured the VP’s inappropriate quip (“This is a big f—in’ deal”) to President Obama at the news conference to celebrate passage of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). Biden’s enthusiasm was not replicated by an American public who actually had to participate.

A faulty website and accompanying negative media coverage may have been the high watermark as millions of Americans soon learned that they could not, contrary to promise after promise after consistently undiluted promise, “keep their doctor … or their insurance.”

In the end, Obamacare was utilized to expand Medicaid coverage far beyond poor people and into the lower working class. It also became a symbol of government mismanagement — and GOP pick-ups — over four election cycles.

Notably, Biden has not made health care a cornerstone of his 2020 campaign.

Education

The union-dependent senator from Delaware has been in lockstep with national teachers unions for his entire career. Just last week, Biden bragged that his White House would have at least one dues-paying NEA member — his wife, Jill Biden.

It is accordingly clear that the important — and wildly successful for the less well-to-do — charter school and school choice movement under the Trump administration would be brought to an abrupt end with the Bidens in power. As usual, predominately poor African-American and Hispanic children would be the unfortunate losers.

Second Amendment

Consistent support for just about any gun control measure that comes down the pike is a required entry on every liberal Democrat’s resume. That the measures typically only impact law-abiding citizens — not the criminal element — is rarely made part of the discussion.

But Biden’s recent gun rhetoric is three degrees deeper. How else to characterize his decision to place the embarrassing former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke in charge of his future administration’s gun confiscation program?

I have purposely not included the long (and getting longer by the day) list of Biden’s faux pas here. Even in his heyday, “Amtrak Joe” was a bit goofy, prone to the inappropriate remark. Today, his recurrent inability to speak coherently is both unfunny and uncomfortable and genuinely worrisome should he become president.

But that’s the small stuff. Here’s hoping those late undecideds will step back and take a long look at the big stuff — the kind of stuff that makes or breaks campaigns in the Heartland.

If you enjoyed this column consider following Governor Ehrlich on Twitter