All Joe Biden Had to Do Was Look Moderate, and He Blew It

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential candidates debate in Miami, Fla., June 27, 2019. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Leftward, ho!

If Joe Biden were smart . . . I’ll just pause here till the laughs die down.

Biden had a lane all to himself in the debate Thursday night, but he couldn’t stay in it. He blew it, as we all knew he would, because he’s Joe Biden. The last time there was an open field for the Democratic nomination, he achieved all of 1 percent in Iowa. Holding Barack Obama’s coat for eight years is his most impressive achievement. It’s just about the only thing he brags about, unless you count being friends with racist Democratic senators.

A half-smart Biden would continue doing what the voters think he’s been doing, which is being moderate and reasonable. Democratic primary voters are nowhere near as liberal as the columnists and social-media gadflies assume, and even if they were, all of the major candidates have veered left. Biden is the only big-name candidate who was anywhere near the center. Instead of staying there, he wandered away looking confused and panicky.

Here’s Joe’s combination of fantasy, braggadocio, and rodomontade on guns:

We increased that background check when — when — during the Obama-Biden administration. I’m also the only guy that got assault weapons banned, banned, and the number of clips in a gun banned. And so, folks, look, and I would buy back those weapons. We already started talking about that. We tried to get it done. I think it can be done. And it should be demanded that we do it, and that’s a good expenditure of money. And lastly, we should have smart guns. No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure could pull that trigger.

“Increased that background check”? Come again? “Buy back those weapons”? What weapons? “Number of clips in a gun banned”? Beg your pardon?

In case the CNN/New York Times fact-check monkeys don’t get around to looking into this, I can tell you almost all of this is balderdash. Obama-Biden did nothing with background checks. Gun buybacks would be meaningless unless they were universal and compulsory, in which case they’d be unconstitutional. As for “I’m the only guy that got . . . the number of clips in a gun banned,” your guess is as good as mine. Biden is speaking pure gibberish here. He’s petrified of sounding too moderate on guns, so he just starts spitting out half-remembered anti-gun lingo and hopes not to be asked any follow-up questions.

Biden’s drift to the left — supporting health care for illegal aliens, expressing strong distaste for deporting any of them who hadn’t committed major crimes — is illustrative of a Democratic party held hostage by its woke minority. Twice as many Democrats are over 65 than are under 30. More than half of Democrats who voted in 2018 identify themselves as moderate or conservative. “Very liberal” Americans account for only 19 percent of the party’s voters. There is absolutely no need for Biden to be afraid of the Left. He was doing fine without them, they’re absolutely prepared to vote for him over Trump, and what Democrats crave is electability, which they think he’s got more of than anyone else. He doesn’t need to buy off the activists during primary season. But he did it anyway. He just made the general election, should he be in it, way more difficult for him than it has to be. Whatever Rust Belt voters dislike about Trump, they didn’t sign up for a Democratic party that is telling them they’re going to be on the hook for health care for Guatemalan illegal immigrants.

Remember Howard Dean, the 2004 version of the Democratic-party id? He used to wow the activists by making impassioned anti-war speeches, saying things like, “I’m here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party” and calling other Democrats “Bush lite.” Dr. Dean suggested gun control was a state issue, opposed nationalized health care or even a public option, said health insurers shouldn’t be required to cover pre-existing conditions, and called for outreach to “white folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate-flag decals on the back.” The party ultimately decided Dean was too radical anyway and went with a more saleable option, John Kerry, who unlike Dean was both a veteran and a supporter of the war in Iraq, at least while that was popular.

“Generic Democrat” has been the Democratic party’s best hope for beating Donald Trump. Biden rose to the top of the polls precisely because he seemed more generic than the other Dems who enjoy a national profile. If he’s going to get swept along with the Democrats’ worst instincts, President Trump is going to look like the only normal option available.

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