“…interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.”
According to a Washington Post article back in August, Joe Biden conflated some facts for dramatic effect. Even as far back as his law school days at Syracuse University College of Law, he had been called out for plagiarism. The story was reported in 1987 by Maureen Dowd. Once caught, Biden copped to plagiarizing a law review journal for a paper during law school, essentially falling on his sword to escape expulsion.
“My intent was not to deceive anyone…For if it were, I would not have been so blatant,’’ Biden said at the time.
Biden seems to have taken some input from advisors seriously enough to have curtailed the habit of dissembling around the edges. His team has produced some of the best, most politically succinct ads with perfectly honed talking points that go straight at Trump’s vulnerabilities. So they’re getting serious and apparently, so has Joe.
And there’s still some carping even as Biden’s also taken the notes about his physical ‘boundary’ issues with women. It’s a matter that I never thought warranted the hyperbolic outrage demonstrated by so-called progressives, who — in all honesty — seemed more invested in having something more to bitch about than about the veracity of claims of actual wrongdoing by Joe Biden. There’s a vast difference between being a jerk — pretty much all guys are jerks at some point — and a sexual predator. If you tell a guy to stop some offensive behavior and he does stop, I fail to see the issue. For instance, if the Biden’s team explains why he needs to stop being paternalistically condescending to women by invading their personal space — and then he takes the note, problem solved. Even Lady Gaga — who is no wilting violet — did a spot with Joe Biden to make clear that she does not see him as a ‘threatening’ presence at all. That really ought to be enough. Especially when there’s an actual, self-admitted sexual predator in the Oval Office.
Polls show many older folks trust Joe Biden at a time when they are terrified of re-electing this idiot because they understand Joe Biden. They may not be as loud and social media savvy as strident young progressives, but they are vast in numbers and sure to vote. I’ve tried to communicate humbly and with circumspection, why the black community has been so loyal to Biden. Perhaps many young folks just can’t fully grasp what a profoundly epic thing it was for him to stick with Barack Obama, be a real confidante, and really have President Obama’s back the way Biden did as Vice President, but it was truly epic.
So that is why Biden’s comment to a reporter this past week that he would be open to considering a Republican running mate was simply more trouble than it was worth. He was clearly musing on a premise he knew full well will never happen. However, Biden’s statement did reveal a real misunderstanding about how many of us feel about existing for three years under the reigning existential terror wrought by this pathological liar.
I, personally, have repeatedly made the case that a Biden Democratic nomination should be the least of progressives’ concerns right now. I will continue to say this because, I’d proffer it’s neither here nor there which of the Democrats wins this nomination, as long as the Democrat wins the general election.
However, I do think that the reality check that would come when his supporters found out how wildly Bernie Sanders has over-promised both what he can do, and how long it would actually take him to do it, would be not merely disappointing to the ‘frothing-at-the-mouth’ crowd, but would be destructive to the Democratic Party and our democratic system. What I’ve experienced from huge numbers of ‘Bernie or Bust’ crowd makes me think some of those folks may be as disruptive as the ‘Trump or die’ doomsday prepping civil war crowd clearly and proudly is.
This is exactly why it’s so urgent for Joe Biden NOT to just ‘make things up’, lift eloquently written words from somebody who may be a better writer, or to pontificate extemporaneously on scenarios that ultimately mean nothing. That only adds acrimony to an already completely toxic political discourse. Biden really needs to think outside and past himself in a way that Trump — and Sanders, for that matter — simply don’t and probably can’t.
So, I return from where I started: if it comes down to Biden or Sanders, I will vote for Biden. Though, at this moment, my preference is Amy Klobuchar out of the bunch. I’m just a grown-up who understands that we don’t always get what we prefer. Sometimes, we work with what we have and are often pleasantly surprised by the outcome. For instance, I was so disappointed when Hillary Clinton didn’t get the Democratic nomination in 2008, but I turned my attention to running Barack Obama’s campaign in rural East Texas and couldn’t have been more proud of my choice after his eight years of decency representing this country to the world. So you never know.
I just hope Joe Biden will rein in the business of carelessly tossing chum in the water so those ever-poised to ignite their hair and break the internet have one less ‘outrage’ about which to pound their chest and bellow. That loud, self-righteous nonsense only deepens divisions and frays the nerves of constituencies that really ought to be allied in their singular objective: turfing Donald Trump out before another human being dies to satisfy his insatiable ego. These public ruminations about reaching out to the GOP are, after all, a pointless straw dog and poor politicking, that doesn’t matter at all. It is not going to happen, and Joe Biden knows it.
About the Author:
Gayle Leslie is a writer, political consultant, published author, actor, and policy wonk publishing extensively on Medium. She is a native Texan, graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and Circle in the Square Theatre School in NYC. She wrote her serialized memoir, Dwelling in the Vast Divine Vol. 1 & Vol 2. You can follow on Twitter at @gayleleslie7