The mano a mano political battle between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont socialist Senator Bernie Sanders could have been a spectacle. It was not. Most media pundits gave the win to Biden – which was a predetermined judgment. The liberal media establishment is part of the Stop Sanders Democrat establishment.
Nothing occurred on the debate stage to alter Biden’s winning trajectory, the former Vice President did not lose his momentum – and that was evident in his winning streak in the primaries.
Sanders did win the philosophic or ideological debate, however. The ever-malleable Biden moved significantly closer to Sanders’ free-stuff-for-everyone position. While Biden still prefers to tweak Obamacare as opposed to embracing Sanders’ elimination of all private healthcare insurance, his tweak in favor of government funded universal coverage comes very close to the Sanders’ Medicare-for-all.
In one of the oddest juxtapositions, Biden sounded more determined to end fracking for oil. While Sander talked about a phasing out, Biden emphatically stated that he would end it. Perhaps he overstated his position in the heat of debate, but it may be hard to unring that bell.
When it came to the Coronavirus pandemic, one could see the advantage enjoyed by those who can talk about an issue — without any responsibility of actually dealing with it – and someone who is in charge. In terms of the Coronavirus issue, the two septuagenarians were singing from the same song sheet – a song sheet composed by Sanders.
Biden said if he were President, no one would be charged for their medical needs associated with the Coronavirus. Furthermore, Uncles Sam would cover mortgage payments and compensate for any lost wages.
That sound you heard in the background was the federal cash register ringing up trillions of dollars. Biden was paying for votes with play money. He did that for which he had repeatedly criticized Sanders. He offered up promises that would cost more than all the money in China. And that is not just an expression. China is holding a lot of our debt, and Biden and Sanders would pile on more.
Biden came out for open borders. He pledged that no one – not even the most heinous criminals – would be deported in the first 100 days of his administration. This was just another flip-flop from the days Biden fully supported Obama’s aggressive deportation policies. Even Sanders did not go that far in embracing the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez immigration platform.
Only one time in the debate did it appear that Sanders had Biden on the ropes — Sanders walked away when he should have kept punching. Sanders accused Biden of having once said he would cut Social Security as part of a budget reduction deal. Biden repeatedly denied ever having said such a thing.
Of course, there are recordings of Biden saying just that – and Sanders directed viewers to his website to hear the recording. But that was a weak response. It was at that moment that Sanders should have said indignantly, “Joe, I hate to put it this way, but you are lying. Your words are a matter of public record. You did express your willingness to cut Social Security. Perhaps you can explain it, but you cannot honestly say you did not say it.”
That would have been a defining moment. It might have even knocked Biden off his game. He is a bit of a hothead, you know. It would have been the most reported moment of the debate.
Biden also expanded his propensity to take credit for virtually everything ever accomplished by President Obama. It was those “I did this …” and “I did that …” — and with great emphasis on the “I.” One can only conclude that the hapless Obama must have been extraordinarily lucky to have Biden doing so much on his behalf.
Instead, Biden walked off the stage unscathed. The post-debate analyses could be summed up as Biden winning because he did not come across as a befuddled old man. On the other hand, Biden’s ability to be a political chameleon – changing on fundamental issues to reflect the prevailing political winds of the day – goes unchallenged and he increases his chances of securing the Democrat presidential nomination before the convention. He is doing it by mutating from the quasi-moderate to a Sanders’ progressive before our very eyes.
What we saw on that stage was nothing less than another political makeover by Biden. He is now a Bernie Bro.
So, there ‘tis.