Remember several centuries ago when the Democratic presidential primary was in full swing? One thing people liked about Joe Biden was that he beat up on Trump rather than criticizing his fellow candidates and re-litigating policy squabbles from the Obama years. If there’s one thing that unites our fractious party, it’s that we all despise Trump to the depths of our jaded, cynical souls.
Now that Biden pretty much has the nomination sewn up, the tone has changed a bit. Osita Nwanevu in The New Republic:
On Sunday, Biden made a virtual stop on Meet the Press, where host Chuck Todd controversially asked him whether Trump had “blood on his hands” given the administration’s bungling of the coronavirus response so far. “I think that’s a little too harsh,” he replied. “I watched a prelim to your show where someone used the phrase that the president thinks out loud. He should stop thinking out loud and start thinking deeply.”
In a Friday piece for Politico, Ryan Lizza quoted an outside Biden adviser who seemed to offer a reason for his reticence. “Biden has a thin line,” he told Lizza. “As much as I dislike Trump and think what a bad job he’s doing, there’s a danger now that attacking him can backfire on you if you get too far out there. I don’t think the public wants to hear criticism of Trump right now.”
Trump almost cracked 50% approval in a recent Gallup poll. That might be the zenith of his “popularity” if his dead cat bounce continues to fizzle as wave after wave of appalling pandemic and economic news continues to rain down on our heads.
I’ve been watching more cable news than I ought to and reading too many articles. While outlets like The Times are rightly pilloried for idiotic headlines and both-sidesy coverage by the brain-dead Beltway gang, I’m somewhat encouraged by the heat other mainstream papers and networks have brought to bear on the Trump administration, particularly about Trump’s attempts to revise recent history and claim he always took the danger seriously when he publicly and loudly did not.
Trump won’t stop holding news conference/rallies and giving himself high-fives for his stellar performance, but the truth is he and his team screwed the pooch badly in the early handling of the crisis, his failures of leadership are ongoing, and hundreds of millions of Americans are already suffering needless hardship because of it.
Pence tries to hide behind Dr. Birx’s skirt whenever he is questioned on this, conflating criticism of Trump with disrespecting epidemiologists, front-line medical professionals, first responders, Mom and apple pie. That dog declines to hunt. It also points to a huge vulnerability that the Trump people know they have.
There’s a specific person who deserves blame for unconscionable negligence, a person in whose office the fabled buck stops, whether he likes it or not. And it’s the big-mouthed orange braggart who is constantly in our fucking faces as we anxiously seek news.
Nwanevu argues that in light of that, Biden should “go for the jugular” right now, particularly since that was an implicit campaign promise: that Biden would beat Trump “like a drum.”
I’m no campaign strategist, but that sounds about right to me. Biden has offered constructive criticism and called Kellyanne Conway’s bad-faith bluff, and that’s fine, but does that go far enough? Early in the campaign, Biden called Trump a Nazi-coddling white supremacist who’s destroying the soul of the country. It was true then, and it’s true now.
It’s also true that Trump is a feckless incompetent whose lack of skills and inability to understand and lead the government is hurting us every day. Maybe it’s time to say so and point to specific examples.
We can’t sit idly by while that orange prick tries to prematurely claim victory if heroic early local mitigation efforts and our soon-to-be overwhelmed hospitals manage to keep the casualty count below 200,000 instead of in the millions. Trump’s catastrophic failures of leadership have endangered every single one of us physically and harmed virtually everyone economically. Go get him, Joe!
PS: The DNC moved the Milwaukee convention to mid-August in hopes that it will be safe to have a convention then, which is still very much an open question. Democrats from Biden to sitting House and Senate reps and state and local officials are already pressing the feds to do something to secure the vote in November by leaning on states to prepare to register voters and hold elections in the middle of a pandemic.
Trump opposes that because he knows the more people vote, the more will vote to toss him out on his orange ass. I’ve contacted all three of my worthless Republican federal representatives about this. Maybe you can too if you agree it’s a critical issue?