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Post # 68, Bob McKnight's Subscription Political Commentary

Biden failed a course in Syracuse Law School for plagiarism. He said he was in the top half of his class--actually he was almost at the bottom. Sound familiar?

At the time of this writing, Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden holds an impressive lead over Republican President Donald Trump in almost all the key states. It is unclear how much of that support is for Biden, how much is against the incumbent Trump or how much is an alternative to the 20 or so screaming Democrats on the left. This makes it very difficult to opine about Biden's strength or weaknesses. So, I thought, with 17 months to go until the election, I thought it wise to simply evaluate the long time Democrat based upon his record. I have met him once, talked to him, and followed his up and down career of 40+/- years in important public service. Here is my take on him:

  • He is a devout Catholic, who proudly hails from the blue collar community of Scranton, Pennsylvania, suggesting that makes him acceptable to many of the conservative Trump faithful. That is not very convincing to me. When I met him and talked to him about issues shortly after he was first elected to the Senate, he was not impressive at that time.

  • He went off to the University of Delaware to college, and took his law degree from Syracuse University, but was involved in a plagiarism scandal there. There is no evidence that he ever practiced law or any profession for that matter.

  • He was elected as a County Commissioner in Delaware in 1970, and then 2 years later won a fluke election to the U.S. Senate from his adopted state. His election was largely attributed to his gregarious personality and limited competition.

  • Through hard work serving his constituents and constant campaigning, Biden went on to serve in Senate for 37 years, rising to chair important committees through seniority. Along the way were many glaring misstatements, mistakes, lies, and a few successes.

  • This is his third race for President and he has never come close to winning. Time has a way of changing all of us, and he is hoping at 75, he has morphed into something the people will like. Sort of like Nixon in '68, who was elected as an alternative to Johnson-Humphrey. The alternative this time is Trump-Pence. At this point, Biden's chances of winning appear moderate to good.

So we have a Democrat favored at this point to be our next president that has a checkered history in public service, is prone to verbal flubs, and cannot criticize Trump for lying. His selection of his running mate may decide the election. But, the game changer if he is elected, is whether he gets either House of Congress run by the Democrats. If he does, he has potential for modest success. If he does not, he will be the same kind of disaster as Trump--a leader with a podium and little else.

Update. Since I wrote this, Biden has been attacked by the left of the Democrats because of his positive comments about conservative colleagues and some civil rights votes like those against busing to achieve racial balance in public schools. Biden is not a pure ideologue. In his long Senate career, he often bounced back and forth between liberal and moderate positions. You will find plenty to oppose if you just look. He is likable, but has not always stood firm on his principles.


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